Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia could become prime backcountry destination

Allan McNaughton, of Old Creel Canoe and Kayak in Waverley, says backcountry paddling adventures need to be better promoted to people who live in and visit the province.

'There's just also a great deal of relaxation and natural entertainment to be had'

A Nova Scotia paddler says the province has untapped potential to become a major backcountry destination.

Go to the Nova Scotia Archives' website and you'll see that in the early 1800s, this province was promoted as "the sportsman's promised land."

By 1900, Nova Scotia's woods and waters were vacation destinations of choice.

"My friends and I believe that that's still the case," says Allan McNaughton, who owns Old Creel Canoe and Kayak in Waverley.

McNaughton says he thinks there is untapped tourism potential in backcountry paddling in Nova Scotia. Today paddling is less of a mainstream pursuit and more of a niche activity for some adventurers. 

For his backcountry paddling trips, McNaughton says he usually goes with a paddling partner, takes a 4.5 metre canoe and spends several days in the wilderness. In places many people in the province haven't thought to explore.

"By example, if you take the exit by the scale house on the way to the airport and go to the end of the road, you can jump right onto a trail which takes you right into the Waverley Game Sanctuary. Now we were in there twice last fall, never saw another soul and it's spectacular. It's literally a 15-minute drive from the city," he told CBC Mainstreet last week.

"You start out in kind of a coastal peat bog environment. You portage into a series of lakes, which become granite lined and very dramatic. And there actually is a warden cabin back in that area that you can stay in as well."

He says he believes such adventures could be better promoted to people who live in and visit the province.

There are some resources available, for example the Department of Environment has a detailed map of the Tobeatic. There are also mapped routes for backcountry paddling at Kejimkujik.

But McNaughton says it's not easy for the average tourist, or resident, in Nova Scotia to find information about backcountry paddling routes.

He'd like to see more tourism marketing materials for this.

"There are great benefits in being in the wilderness and just taking it all in. There's a great deal to be seen, but there's just also a great deal of relaxation and natural entertainment to be had."


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