I was walking to the look off in Gulliver's Cove earlier this week and met two ladies who were surprised to see me in a bright ORANGE vest and hat.
"Is it hunting season?" they asked.
Actually it's been hunting season for more than a month now - deer hunters with bow and muzzleloaders and bear hunters have all been in the woods since Sept. 11 but today, Friday, Oct. 27, is the start of the general deer hunt - the big hunt.
Last year DNR issued 45,836 deer licenses and 10,748 archery and muzzleloader stamps; so roughly four times as many hunters will be actually hunting this weekend compared to the few who have been in so far.
I firmly believe the general public can safely frequent the woods throughout the hunting season but they have to be aware and take a few precautions.
Most importantly: GET YOUR ORANGE ON. By law only hunters and those accompanying hunters have to wear orange, but for safety sake, everyone in the woods should wear an orange hat and an orange vest or jacket.
Travelling in a group will also make you more visible and less likely to be confused with a deer.
It's also more important this time of year to know the land you're on - who owns it? do you have permission to be there? do the owners hunt or allow others to hunt there?
If you've been in the woods lately, you might have a pretty good idea of some places hunters are setting up or frequenting. Starting today they can actually pull the trigger on their rifles, but many have been in the woods for weeks, busy scouting game trails, setting up and checking game cameras, building blinds and stands and of course supplying bait stations.
Those are places it is just as easy to avoid for the next month (until Dec. 2 at least when the big hunt ends).
I also tend to avoid the early morning and late afternoon hours as much as possible - those are the hours where hunters are out in bigger numbers, before and after work, and also when visibility is at its worst.
Hunting is only allowed on the first two Sundays: Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 but no other Sundays so you should definitely get out and enjoy the woods Nov. 12, 19 and 26.
Another option for complete peace of mind is to visit a national park like Kejimkujik or provincial parks like Central Grove, Savary Park, Mickey Hill, Smugglers Cove and Mavillette.
For example, the Fundy Erratics hiking club usually schedule their November hikes for the national park: this year they are hiking from Jakes Landing to Merrymakedge and Grafton Lake on Nov. 18.
The fall is a wonderful time to be outdoors: just GET YOUR ORANGE ON.
For more on hunting regulations and safety advice see: https://novascotia.ca/natr/hunt/.
For a list of the 2017-2018 hunting and trapping seasons, see:
The Gulliver’s Cove trails should be a lot easier to find and follow, thanks to the work of a great group of volunteers.
Wanda VanTassel, chair of the Gulliver’s Cove Trails Association (GCTA), organized a trail clearing party for Oct. 14 and an enthusiastic group of 23 volunteers spent the day clearing the upper trail of alders and errant branches and brush. The Bay of Fundy Discovery Centre provided brush cutting equipment for the project.
The Trailgate party was held in conjunction with the Municipality of the District of Digby, the Fundy Erratics hiking club, Hike Nova Scotia, and the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 fund.
The federal funding paid for hotdogs and cake and some of the money left over was spent on signage to indicate parking areas and signs showing the way to the upper trails. The GCTA plans to add more signage and maps as they continue to develop and improve the trail system.
There are now a few parking spaces cleared at the end of the Gullivers Cove Road where the old fish sheds used to be. The lower trail (~800m) follows the shoreline to a rest area and look off with picnic tables and benches. The trail surface is mostly grass, mown regularly but in a few small sections there are roots, rocks and some small puddles.
Another smaller parking space has been mowed out on the right of the gravel road leading up the hill for people wanting to access the newly cleared upper trail. It is a steep strenuous climb of about 1 km to reach the upper trails.
From the start of the trail itself, it is another 1.2 km through the woods to the upper look off. The trail surface is wide and clear with many roots and rocks. The look off gives a breathtaking view eastward along the wild shoreline of Digby Neck, directly below is lower look off and further southwards one can see the beach and some of the houses of Gulliver’s Cove.
The GCTA was officially formed in August this year to develop, maintain and manage a network of trails in and around the Gulliver’s Cove area for hiking, walking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The GCTA is in the process of formalizing agreements with the private landowners who have graciously agreed to allow the trails on their land.
The GCTA hopes to see you out and about on these community trails, enjoying the views, the fresh sea air and getting a little exercise too.
For more information and a map of the trails, see www.digbytrails.ca/gullivers-cove.html.
Gulliver’s Head Trail brush clearing party
The Gulliver's Cove Trails Association needs your help clearing the Gulliver's Head Trail. We have planned a TRAILGATE party to clear brush and branches from the trail leading to the spectacular look off pictured above.
The Municipality of the District of Digby, Hike NS, the Gulliver’s Cove Trail Association and the Fundy Erratics hiking club have partnered with the Government of Canada to offer this Trailgate Canada 150 celebration. We're celebrating Canada's birthday and helping to look after one of the areas most stunning trails.
Trailgate Canada 150 is funded by the Government of Canada
Red and orange will soon be followed by white
I am a chionophile – someone who loves snow, who thrives in winter conditions. The first snow floats into my dreams in late August: in those dreams, I’m usually skiing or at a window watching it fall and then running to grab my skis.
I just read a delicious description of hikers making a trip into the Cairngorms, mountains in the northeast of Scotland, to check out the longest lasting snow patch in the UK.
(The last snow in Scotland, by Cairngormwanderer - Neil Reid, Oct. 4, 2017)
For me the best part of the story is why they went up - it wasn’t just to climb the mountain but rather to check and see if all the snow had melted.
Braeriach is the third highest mountain in the British Isles at 1,296 metres; the snow patch is below the summit at 1,140 metres in a big round bowl – what the British call a corrie or cirque – a steep-sided hollow. The bowl is called Garbh Choire Mor, or big rough corrie, and has only been without snow five times in the last 100 years (1933, 1959, 1996, 2003 and 2006).
2017 will make six times. When the hikers reached the snow patch, the 11-year-old snow had melted to the size of a welcome mat and is now, in all likelihood, completely gone. Not to worry though: it’s snowing again there and new snow will soon start piling up.
The author of the article, now in his 60s, mentions that despite his best efforts he “never did see the Garbh Choire Mor completely snowless”. It is something that few people have ever seen.
I love that those three people were that curious about snow - and it got me thinking about the importance of paying attention to natural cycles and rhythms – to the ephemeral elements of our world.
I made a point this past Thanksgiving weekend to get out in the backcountry to check on the maple trees. Some leaves were starting to turn around the shore, where most of us live, but I had a suspicion the colours were farther ahead inland - we’d had that frost the first couple days of October and I figured it was enough to trigger the big show.
Sure enough I took a quick paddle down the Mistake River, south of Porters Lake, and the maples along the stillwater were aflame in reds and oranges. But even as I paddled, the wind was blowing the leaves from the trees – the colours will not last forever. But my memories will, as will the feeling of wonder and joy at seeing those gorgeous sumptuous colours.
I also took a friend for a longer trip to the stillwater on Franklin Brook, southeast of Lake Joli. The same bright colours and even more leaves were flying from the trees there.
I’ve been trying to encourage others to watch, to really soak it up, and to record it too. I have been collecting Digby County fall colour photos on the digbytrails.ca webpage – if you’re seeing a good show where you are, how about tagging me (Jonathan Riley on Facebook) on your Facebook photos, use the hashtag #FALLingforDIGBY (simply type #FALLingforDIGBY into the comments under the photo), or message or email me – so I can share the colours with others.
Starting Saturday, I’ll be away from a computer for a while but send me your photos and I’ll add them to my collection when I get back.
Tour the trails and turbines of Van Tassel Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
WIN, WIN, WIND SITUATION
Combining recreation and clean energy in Mount Pleasant
MOUNT PLEASANT, N.S. – Clean water, clean energy and outdoor recreation combine within the Van Tassel Lake Watershed Area.
The Municipality of the District of Digby, the Town of Digby and the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association are holding an open house in Mount Pleasant at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11 to celebrate their various partnerships in Mount Pleasant.
The Town of Digby owns 550 acres of land around Van Tassel Lake which serves as the town’s back-up water supply. Development and use of this land is strictly controlled through the town’s Water Source Protection Plan.
The Town leases land there to the Municipality for its two wind turbines and has also signed an agreement with the trails association allowing them to construct and maintain hiking trails.
Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland says the town was especially excited to support the trail project on their land.
“When the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association approached us, we realized right away these trails would benefit our residents and even attract visitors to the area,” says Cleveland. “The trails offer a place to connect with nature, to get some exercise and fresh air. Combine that with the turbines, and this is really a win, win, wind situation for everybody.”
Jimmy MacAlpine, Warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby, says the two wind turbines are an investment in a sustainable green future for the Municipality.
“We are always looking for ways to increase revenue for the Municipality, for innovative ways to keep taxes down,” says MacAlpine. “And with this project we also reduce our carbon footprint and support renewable energy here.”
The Municipality bought the larger 800-kilowatt Enercon turbine from Renewable Energy Services Ltd. in 2016. It has been operational at the site since 2007. Last year the Municipality also erected a second brand new 50-kW Ghre Power turbine.
The two turbines supply enough electricity for approximately 510 homes, displacing about 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
FOR MORE INFO: digbydistrict.ca/wind.html and energy.novascotia.ca/renewables/wind-energy
In 2015 Sean Merrett, president of the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association first approached the Town of Digby and its Water Source Protection Committee for permission to build trails on the Town’s land.
The association of volunteers has since cleared and marked 4 km, including 2.8 km of single track hiking trail around the lake. The trail system also includes a 1 km spur leading to a look off with a view of nearby woodlands and through a gap in the hills to Conway, Smith’s Cove and Marshalltown.
“We are really lucky to have this network of trails so close to town,” says Merrett. “As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m grateful to have a place where we can get out and walk, hike or run. As a high school teacher and father, I’m thinking of young people, giving them a connection to Digby and the outdoors, but really, these trails allow all ages and abilities to access the forest here.”
Van Tassel Lake Trails Association on Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanTasselLakeTrailsAssociation
At the open house the trail association will unveil their new trailhead signage and map and afterwards the public is invited to visit and tour the wind turbines or take a guided hike through the fall woods to the lake. Transportation will be available to bring visitors to the turbines for those unable to walk there.
Linda Gregory, municipal councillor for the area, is thrilled to have the trails in her community.
“I like the idea of a trail where our residents and visitors can be active in nature,” says Gregory. “And you can see both turbines from the trail around the lake – it is a great way to show people we are serious about improving quality of life here, making this a green community and being fiscally responsible by seeking new sources of income for the municipality.”
Van Tassel Lake Open House – tours of Wind Turbines and Trails
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 11
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Where: 859 Culloden Road in Mount Pleasant
For more info: www.digbytrails.ca/Van-Tassel-Lake.html
For more information, contact:
Renewable Energy Program Coordinator
Trails and Open Space Coordinator
Background on the Municipality’s wind turbines and other green energy initiatives:
The Municipality of the District of Digby operates the wind turbines as part of their Climate Action Plan and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.
The turbines have the ability to produce around 2 million kilowatt hours per year. This is enough electricity for approximately 510 homes and displaces around 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. So the investment by the MoDD is the equivalent of taking 212 vehicles off the roads.
Council recommended the purchase of the Enercon E48 (German technology) and the Ghre 2150 (Chinese technology) as part of a strategy to “greening Digby County” and reduce our GHG (greenhouse gases) output.
This project forms part of the Municipality’s Climate Action Plan and ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan) as a way to reduce our carbon footprint. The municipality for its part has signed agreements with Nova Scotia Power to purchase the electricity that is produced from the two turbines. The long term PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) guarantee a specific rate for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced.
The MoDD is involved in other green initiatives as part of its “greening Digby County” strategy. One of the major initiatives was the conversion, completed in 2016, of all municipally owned streetlights from High Pressure Sodium and Mercury Halide to LED (Light Emitting Diode). The 859 lights that were exchanged represent a reduction in energy of about 60 per cent.
Van Tassel Lake in the news:
Digby County turbine in Mount Pleasant marks decade milestone, Digby Courier, Feb. 2017
New trails developed at Van Tassel Lake, Digby Courier, March 2017