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New NS Outdoor Network Launches

IMG_0428It was a gathering of lovers of the outdoors, those who hike, paddle, bird-watch, cycle and so on. On June 14, over 50 outdoor explorers converged on Truro’s Victoria Park and the Douglas Street Recreation Centre to launch the Nova Scotia Outdoor Network.

“Support for bringing the outdoor recreation community has been building for a long time and now we’ve finally done it,” says Heather Kelday, board member with Recreation Nova Scotia and chair of the council overseeing the network.

The Nova Scotia Outdoor Network, a project of Recreation Nova Scotia, is a coalition of the NS outdoor sector that will strengthen and support the outdoor community in our province through communication, sharing, collaboration and celebration. Its vision is an outdoor community meaningfully connected to one another, to resources and to learning and stewardship opportunities. Ultimately, it aims to encourage Nova Scotians to get outside more often and participate in low-impact, nature-based activities.

“There’s strength in bringing people together around this idea of getting more people outside,” says Kelday. “The back to nature movement is definitely alive and well and growing. What we’re doing is working together to make our outdoor culture stronger.”

Why would we want to get more folks outside? Spending more time outside means you are more physically active and healthy overall, you experience stress reduction and improve mental health and you make a stronger bond with nature that can lead to more environmentally-friendly behaviours. And the outdoors is among the cheapest, most readily available recreation facilities going; more often than not, it’s free to access it. The economic benefits go well beyond the preventative physical and mental health costs. The tourism industry is heavily reliant on outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiasts stay longer and spend more than most other types of tourists in Nova Scotia.

At the launch event, groups went hiking, mountain biking and paddling together in the morning to be inspired for network launch and discussions in the afternoon. It ended with a birthday cake and music. In attendance were individuals, organizations, businesses, institutions and other stakeholders from the broad areas of outdoor recreation, wilderness conservation, outdoor/environmental education, outdoor leadership, commercial guiding and retailers.

Recreation Nova Scotia Recreation Nova Scotia (RNS) is a province wide, not for profit organization that promotes the values and benefits of recreation and leisure. In partnership with volunteers and the professional recreation community, it advocates for high quality recreation and leisure opportunities.

Learn more about the NS Outdoor Network and find outdoor events and skill building opportunities at www.nsoutdoornetwork.ca.

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