A newly designated bicycle trail in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness area of Halifax Regional Municipality officially opened today, Oct. 7. The trail is near Tantallon.
“This is the first time that a bicycle trail has ever been designated in a wilderness area in the province,” said MLA Iain Rankin, on behalf of Environment Minister Margaret Miller. “This pilot project will help the department understand the needs and impacts of cyclists and the interaction with other users along a multi-use trail.”
The Department of Environment recently designated 12 kilometres of an existing all-terrain vehicle trail for bicycle use within the area. Prior to this designation, the trail could only be used with all-terrain vehicles by members of one of the 43 clubs that are part of the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia.
The department received the request for this bicycle use designation from the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area Stewardship Coalition and the association, which manages the trail. Bicycle use is only permitted in wilderness areas on trails designated for that purpose.
“The new designation not only gives the land more recreational value, it can provide another loop to the trail system that promotes Nova Scotia as an ecotourism destination,” said Tom Musial, chair of the coalition. “It has potential to engage the cycling community as another participant in the maintenance of the roads.”
The Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust has also been a key stakeholder in the designation.
“I am proud of all of what trust has accomplished starting with successfully protecting the land in 2011,” said Mr. Rankin. “Because of its efforts, not only will this land remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy, but access to this incredible area will be improved because of these types of partnerships.
“We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to open access routes for recreational modes of transportation.”
Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area protects nearly 8,600 hectares of near-urban Crown lands between Highway 103 and Route 333.