Nova Scotia boasts 13,300 kilometres of pristine coastline, much of which has been explored by canoers and kayakers for centuries.
Since 1973, Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia (CKNS) has been a resource for many who have picked up their canoe or kayak in search of adventure.
Its mandate is to make paddling accessible and safe for everyone, and its website, www.ckns.ca, provides paddling routes, tips, an events page and a section on where to find public launch or access sites to bodies of water.
Sheena Mason of Port Medway has put in a lot of work and a lot of mileage with the organization to identify the launch or access sites within the province.
The writer has produced guide books, including the 1998 book Paddle Lunenburg-Queens. She has worked as a kayak guide and a canoe instructor as well. Over the past 13 years she has assisted CKNS in documenting sites from Queens County through to Halifax, a project is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“It’s being done for a few reasons. First to provide information to paddlers who may be new to the area or are just visiting. It also provides benchmark data for community and provincial groups to see where there’s good access to water or where access is lacking as the coast gets more developed,” said Mason.
Each access point is documented with information such as a GPS reading, safety concerns, amenities at the site, landmarks and information on where to paddle nearby.
“It’s been quite a project going up and down every dirt road,” she said.
Most of this work along the coast has been done, according to Mason, and now it’s just a matter of updating the information. This year she is working on sites from the Town of Lunenburg to the city of Halifax. This stretch was last completed in 2008 and, at that time, there were about 40 launch sites documented.
“Some disappear, some new ones are created, so the information needs to be updated,” said Mason.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin