The Nova Scotia Trails Federation (NS Trails) celebrated the individuals and groups behind trails in Nova Scotia during a ceremony on June 10, 2017 at the Fairbanks Centre in Shubie Park. The awards ceremony was part of the federation’s annual general meeting.
Five awards were given to key movers and shakers in the provincial trail movement, including the White Hill Summit Award, the federation’s longest-standing and most prestigious trophy. NS Trails sought nominations from members and the general public in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, and the awards committee faced a difficult task in narrowing the many deserving nominees down to just five recipients.
The 2017 NS Trails Awards winners are as follows:
TRAIL BUILDER OF THE YEAR AWARD
This award recognizes the accomplishments of a volunteer or volunteer group within the trail movement in Nova Scotia with regards to trail development, management, promotion and advocacy.
Gerry & Marion McLellan
As the founding member of the Oxford and Area Trails Association, Gerry McLellan was instrumental in the group’s completion of a trail section through Oxford, which had been a hole in the map for years. This section connected the trails in northern Nova Scotia to the Cumberland County trails, which link to the New Brunswick border and can be followed through the rest of Canada as The Great Trail. Gerry recognized this need for 25 years, and tirelessly championed the effort with steely determination.
Upon completion this summer, the trail section will include two bridges of a combined 300 feet in length and a tunnel that underpasses the provincial highway.
Marion McLellan has been a chief supporter of the project throughout, and stepped up as treasurer for the Oxford and Area Trails Association when the need arose. Marion carefully manages funds and, in many cases, fundraising for the project, always ensuring proper fund allocation to the various tasks.
Marion has supported Gerry in achieving their joint dream of making this trail connection, and recognises its importance in connecting The Great Trail from coast to coast to coast.
This award recognizes a volunteer group for their promotion of trails or trail activities through organized events, learning opportunities, guided trail activities and media engagement targeting men, women, youth and families.
Sou’West Nova ATV Association
The Sou’West Nova ATV Association not only does great work for trails in Nova Scotia, they are also exceptionally active in their community.
The group hosts a canteen during local events and donates the proceeds to various causes. In 2016, they gave over $4300 dollars to the Gilles Boudreau Cancer Fund, Les Papas Noel, Salvation Army Adopt a Family for Christmas, Shriners for Sick Kids, the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation and more. The group has partnered with Weymouth Waterfront Development to raise funds to restore New France, a key Nova Scotian historic site.
The group’s annual jamboree is so popular it has a marked effect on to the local economy.
Outside of fundraising and events, the group provides much-needed support to trails in Yarmouth, regularly clearing brush from trail-highway intersections, and procuring materials for trail infrastructure repair.
CHAMPION FOR YOUTH AWARD
This award recognizes an individual, community group, agency or business for the promotion of youth participation on trails in Nova Scotia.
As the trails and open space coordinator for Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Laura is always supporting local trails groups through trail development, volunteer recruitment, and maximizing financial resources.
Laura continues to grow trails on the South Shore by partnering with local schools, the community college, and community volunteers to develop and enhance the skills of youth to support trail development. Laura recognizes her community’s youth as the leaders of tomorrow, and she works diligently to ensure they have the necessary skills to continue the amazing trail work that has already been started.
In 2016, she was instrumental in organizing and executing the Youth Trail Building Workshop at River Ridge Commons in New Germany. Over 40 students attended the event, completing over 100 metres of trail, creating and installing natural park benches and learning about the local flora and fauna. The successful workshop sets the stage for future youth workshops across the province.
Laura is passionate about trails, dedicated to getting youth involved in the trail movement, and this truly shows in how she continuously goes above and beyond in her work.
VOLUNTEER TRAIL GROUP OF THE YEAR
This award recognizes the accomplishments of a volunteer trail group within the trail movement in Nova Scotia with regards to trail development, management, promotion and/or advocacy. Nominees must belong to a NS Trails member organization.
St. Margaret’s Bay Area Rails to Trails Association (SMBARTA)
The 32.5km Saint Margaret’s Bay Trail connects eight communities and has over 90,000 user visits per year. Before 2015, much of the trail surface and was in critical condition. In summer 2015, Anne Patrick and Rick Muzyk took leadership of SMBARTA and began to re-energize both the trail and the group.
In fall 2015 SMBARTA completed a detailed review of the trail and commenced a five-year trail renewal plan. In 2016, they raised over $210,000 for renewal and maintenance and have repaired five bridges, resurfaced 11 kilometres of trail, addressed chronic drainage problems and implemented an annual maintenance plan. In 2017, the group is moving forward with the plan to resurface another 10 kilometres of trail and repair two more bridges.
In addition to improving the physical assets of the trail, SMBARTA has worked hard to increase awareness of the trail by leveraging social media, developing a new website, engaging local community groups and businesses, working closely with the local community newspaper to highlight trail events and recruiting new board members.
WHITE HILL SUMMIT AWARD
Named after the highest point of land in Nova Scotia, this award recognizes the outstanding lifetime contribution to the development of recreational trails in Nova Scotia by a volunteer.
The recipient of the 2017 White Hill Summit Award has lived, eaten and breathed trails for most of his quite remarkable life.
“If you have a question regarding trails that know one else can answer, chances are this individual can and will give you a trail related story behind his answer,” says Beth Pattillo, chair of the Annapolis County Trails Coalition. “He is a legend in the trail community and deserves to be recognized for his incredible years of service both as a builder and an educator in the trail community within Nova Scotia and beyond. If there is a board connected with trails in Nova Scotia that this gentleman hasn’t served on, I for one would like to know.”
Indeed, Bob continues to be part of numerous trail groups across the province. He has served on the Nova Scotia Trails board as both a director and the valley regional representative for over a decade, and is currently vice chair of the Nova Scotia Trans Canada Trails Committee. As an avid ATVer, Bob has been a director, an executive member and the Chief Trail Warden of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia. He is currently president of the Kings County Trails Society, and a director of the Annapolis Valley Trails Coalition, the Annapolis County Trails Society and the Annapolis Valley Ridge Runners.