Environment

Duncans Cove community shares ideas to reduce hiker impact

Challenges, possible solutions discussed at engagement session Tuesday

Students from Dalhousie’s College of Sustainability show the result their feedback session.   Annie Jolicoeur

Nancy Grove says the Duncans Cove Nature Reserve has become a parking lot, dog park and garbage dump, and she wants something done about it.

“I feel sick about what’s happening,” said Grove, who owns a property near the 369-hectare nature reserve southwest of Halifax.

Grove and about 30 other people gathered at the Ketch Harbour Area Community Hall on Tuesday to discuss the problems at Duncans Cove and come up with solutions.

The event was organized by a group of students from Dalhousie’s College of Sustainability who are running a research project. They want to submit a report to Nova Scotia Environment to offer possible solutions that incorporate community suggestions.

Approximately 30 people attended Thursday’s engagement session and gave input on various changes.   Annie Jolicoeur

“I came to the event because I am a bit cynical about the process,” said Rylan Higgins, a resident of Duncans Cove. “I don’t know what to think about it. It’s a very complicated situation. I would love to live in a world where these voices did actually have an impact.”

During the engagement session, participants were asked to list some issues they’ve seen.

Some of those listed include a lack of facilities, no parking, inadequate signage and having trails that go through private property. Another issue that was brought up was that most of the trails are actually pathways created by the high number of people walking there.

Three maps were used to help point out the most problematic areas in three categories: people, management and land.   Annie Jolicoeur

Eva Jandorf, a local resident, said that whenever she goes for walks, she tries to create barriers with branches and other things. She uses them to block hikers from accessing some of those pathways.

“They should not just wildly walk around,” said Jandorf. She suggested the trails be identified and colour coded with way-finders and better signage.

People were also invited to write down things they love about Duncans Cove.   Annie Jolicoeur

People were also invited to suggest possible solutions. Some suggested interpretation signs to help educate hikers about the reserve, in order to make its conservation a priority. Others suggested parking on streets be forbidden and a parking lot created.

All agreed that measures have to be taken in order to get the situation under control and limit the environmental impacts on the reserve.

The organizers plan to send the information they collected to Nova Scotia Environment.

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