Tristan Glen may have the best job in Halifax. He will spend his summer outdoors hiking, biking, canoeing and sailing the prettiest parts of Halifax: a trail floating on the ocean in Cole Harbour, an abandoned canal on Porters Lake, wild islands in Saint Margaret’s Bay. And folks plan to hold BBQ’s for him all along the way! What a jerk.
While he may be a jerk, what he is doing matters. This project is motivated by a conversation we never want to have with our kids: “Yes, the wilderness around Halifax was beautiful. Sure wish we still had it!”
The fact is, while these ridiculously beautiful landscapes are, together, one of our best economic assets—a feature that distinguishes us from nearly any other city—many are under threat. As it stands, a demolition company can get away with dumping a whole demolished school in the woods with no repercussions. A proposed park can be clearcut, with no repercussions. In twenty years, the city grew in population by only one fifth, yet nearly doubled in size—swallowing some 30,000 acres of our wilderness. Over half of our lakes are “occasionally” or “frequently” impaired. Yikes.
We can do better, and right now, we have one of the best opportunities we ever will to put rules in place for our lakes and forests: the Green Network Plan. Halifax is doing one, big comprehensive plan to make sure we keep what residents care about in nature. With enough public support, this plan could achieve a Greenbelt: a complete set of living wilderness within reach of all communities. That would be something to be proud of.
And good news: the biggest thing we can do to make this plan a success is have as much fun as possible. Celebrating our green places is what will build the momentum to make this plan strong.
So let’s get outside and have as much fun as we can! Bring your folks, your neighbours, your dog, your pharmacist, your second cousin twice removed—bring everyone! See if you can do one of every kind of event along the route! Send us your photos and the best ones will go up in our gallery! Send us a blog post so it can go up here! Tweet at #hikegreenbelt. Post what you see on our Facebook page. Volunteer. There is so much to do!
Because, after all, we can’t let Tristan Glen have all the fun!