Working with the Nova Scotia Trails Federation and other partners, a host of volunteers, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations has translated into our province launching the first Trails Strategy in the province. As announced by Minister of Lands and Forestry, Honourable Iain Rankin, the chair of the Trails Federation agreed that “this shared strategy is a testament to the value of our trails and the dedicated volunteers who build and maintain them”. In fact, Beth Patillo said the trails community was “ecstatic” over the announcement.

Trails in Nova Scotia run across Crown, municipal and private lands, and are part of a broad network that is known as the Trans Canada Trail System. Those who use the trails are often the best stewards of our environment, including forests, rivers, lakes and other natural resources. These trails allow us access to sites where we can explore and appreciate nature, and support a healthy and active lifestyle. As a province, we recognize the need to financially support the work of our partners in building and maintaining these trails. Both the Recreational Trail Expansion Grant and the Trail Maintenance Grant are designed to do that. Over $1 million is made available, upon successful application, to support the volunteers in our communities who take pride in the trail system we have here in our province.

I recently had the privilege to present funding to successful grant application recipients in Colchester County. The Municipality of the County of Colchester received a grant to continue the development of the Cobequid Trail. One section of this trail is built along the dykes of the Salmon River in Lower Truro/Old Barns, and provides a beautiful view of the mouth of the Bay, and the historic Tidal Bore. New funding will support connecting to the Fundy Discovery Site, as well as signage and the kiosk at the Trail Head in Lower Truro.

Another project in Tatamagouche provided an opportunity to meet with, and hear of the work already underway by the Tatamagouche and Area Trail Association. Their members will continue the development of an Information/Signage/Rest area and parking at the main Trail Head on Station Road. This Association is responsible for building and maintaining 26 kms of the Short Line Trail that passes through Colchester County. This trail system connects communities today as the railway did nearly a century ago. In many areas of the province, trail development includes the conversion of rail beds to trails for ATV’s, bicycles, hikers, walkers and other recreational use.

None of this would be possible without the teams of volunteers who take great pride in the work they do. Let’s all give them a big “Thank-you”.

Karen Casey, MLA

Colchester North