NS Trails Honours 2019 Trail Champions
The Nova Scotia Trails Federation (NS Trails) recently held its annual award ceremony to recognize the significant contribution volunteers and organizations are making to trails in Nova Scotia. “Volunteers are the backbone of trail construction and maintenance in communities throughout Nova Scotia,” says Vanda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of NS Trails. “Thanks to the dedication and determination of these volunteers, Nova Scotians and visitors alike have plenty of exceptional trails to explore and enjoy nature.”
The awards ceremony was part of NS Trail’s Annual General Meeting in Halifax. Five awards were given out, including the White Hill Summit Award, the Federation’s longest-standing and most prestigious award.
Alasdair Veitch of the Pictou County Trails Association/Cape to Cape Trail received the Trail Booster Of The Year Award, which recognizes the promotion of trails and trail activities. Alasdair has been a leader in the Pictou County hiking community for a number of years and has been instrumental in building relationships between the trails community and other active living organizations. He volunteers to lead hiking events and activities on local trails, and has introduced many new people to hiking. He also does functional trail maintenance on the Cape to Cape and other trails, organizing groups and working solo.
Anne Patrick and Rick Muzyk of the St. Margaret’s Bay Area Rails to Trails Association each received the Trail Builder Of The Year Award. This award recognizes a volunteer for their outstanding contribution, determination and dedication to trail building in the province. Rick and Anne have made an outstanding contribution to the recapitalization of the 32.5 km St. Margaret’s Bay Rails-to-Trails completed in late 2018. This included planning, engineering and working with contractors to complete the re-decking of seven bridges, the complete resurfacing of the trail, and ditching of 5km of the trail. They have dedicated thousands of hours to the Trail and are determined to keep it in its current world-class state.
The Village of Bible Hill received the Trail Champion For Youth Award, which recognizes the promotion of youth participation on trails. Bible Hill has an exciting trailblazers program offered at schools in the area that educates students to be conscience trail users. Aspects of the program include planning for a hike, the Leave No Trace initiative, compass orientation, and what to do if you get lost.
The Black Rock Trails Society received the Volunteer Trail Group Of The Year Award, which recognizes a volunteer trail group for their achievements in trail development, management, promotion and/or advocacy. Founded in 2002, this dedicated group of volunteers has built and maintained its network of trails for the last 15 years. Located on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, the multi use trail winds its way through 13 km of scenic coastal forest and shoreline. Last year with the assistance from the Annapolis Valley Trails Coalition and its Trail Coordinator, the society built a new bridge over Murray Brook and this year they have plans to put a new gazebo and composting toilet at their trailhead.
Ruth Corkum of the Annapolis Valley Trails Coalition was this year’s recipient of the White Hill Summit Award. This award is named after the highest point of land in Nova Scotia and recognizes the outstanding lifetime contribution to the development of recreational trails in Nova Scotia by a volunteer. Ruth is one of the trail visionaries in Nova Scotia that has had little recognition for her contribution to trails and trail development in the Annapolis Valley. Without her vision and incredible tenacity, the Annapolis Valley Trails Coalition would not have celebrated the completion of the Harvest Moon Trailway – 110 km trail along the valley floor linking two historic sites Grand Pre and Annapolis Royal.
“What a very special award ceremony this was, to be able to recognize and show our appreciation for these dedicated, talented and committed volunteers and their organizations,” says Beth Pattillo, Chair of NS Trails. “Through their efforts they have contributed immensely to the trail system in Nova Scotia.