Sandy Lake – Halifax Park Survey – make sure you get to submit your opinions

From the Sandy Lake Coalition – There is still time to respond to this important survey that could protect wildlife corridors at the fragile pinch point between (& from beyond) Sandy Lake-Sackville River and the Chebucto Peninsula:

It is important that citizens who live in Bedford West and those who do not live there respond to this survey by the March 5th deadline. This issue is bigger than just Bedford West resident’s park access.  Its primary problem is that it ignores the Halifax Green Network Plan (HGNP). There is no reference to HGNP wildlife corridors within this area, and clearly no plan as to how wildlife is to move from the BMBCL Wilderness Area to the Mainland or the Chebucto Peninsula. There are a number of opportunities to make comments in the survey, and one for general comments at the end. Ecological decisions and park decisions need to be closely connected, especially in this serious pinch point identified in the HGNP.

WRWEO also encourages you to advocate that all these areas have Leave No Trace principles applied to them and that the city seeks to implement a community stewardship program (like we have in the Bluff Trail Stewardship Program) to ensure ongoing sustainability and stewardship of the lands.

Coyote trapping signs on the Bluff Trail

We have received several questions about the posted notice that coyote snares have been set in the area surrounding The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. Here is a post that breaks down the legality of the matter and some things to consider.
We understand that this is a concern for some who use the trail. WRWEO feels strongly about stewardship, conservation and minimizing the human impacts in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area where the trail is located. The trail and the land around the trail is public land that has been designated as a Wilderness Protected Area. This designation is about prohibiting development. While this protected status is in part about conservation, hunting and trapping are still permitted.
The hunting rules and regulations are a provincial area of jurisdiction so you can reach out to NS Environment who enforce the rules in the Wilderness Protected Area and the Dept. of Lands and Forestry who make the rules about hunting and trapping.
To clarify, counter to what the sign states, it is not technically illegal to have your dog off-leash while on the Trail. However, WRWEO highly recommends that we all follow this practice in an effort to reduce the risk of injury to dogs, and users, while also helping to address the ecological impacts that dogs and humans alike have caused in the area surrounding the Trail by going beyond its bounds (off-trail). The Trail is now used by an estimated 35-40,000 people each and every year. This cumulative impact is very concerning to both WRWEO and Nova Scotia Environment. We can all work together to reduce our impacts by following Leave No Trace principles, which includes staying on the trail. WRWEO has prepared guidance for dog owners on how to use the trail safely:
You can get more information about hunting and trapping from the government website here:
More information about the Bluff Trail and how to use the trail safely is available on our website:
As you may know, stewarding and maintaining the trail takes lots of resources. Please consider making a donation to WRWEO, becoming a member, or a steward of the trail. When you are on the trail please send us a report of what you saw and let us know of any issues or maintenance that needs to be undertaken, we have an Online Reporting Form on our website –…/the…/submit-trail-report-online/

2020 AGM – WRWEO – 25th Anniversary – July 7, 2020 via Zoom

You are invited to our 2020 annual general meeting. 

It will be held via Zoom on Tuesday July 7, 2020.  The meeting starts at 6:00pm and will conclude by 7:30pm. 

Registration – online via our form on Website,

or send your name, email, phone # and address to 

Membership costs $5, pay online – membership must be up-to-date in order to participate

We will elect this year’s board of directors, present the Chair’s report, review WRWEO’s financial statements and Mike Lancaster will provide highlights of the Bluff Trail Stewardship Program which has now been going for three years. 

Register for the virtual 2020 AGM

2020 WRWEO AGM Agenda

2019-04-01 WRWEO AGM 2019 Minutes

Bluff Trail Stewardship Program, Year In Review Report, 2019

WRWEO Chair’s report AGM 2020

WRWEO Financial Statements 2019


Notice to Users of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail – Trail Open, parking lot is now open, users need to follow social distancing rules

Due to the ongoing concerns of the spread of COVID-19, and the provincial declaration of a State of Emergency, the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization (WRWEO) – the non-profit that created and manages The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail – strongly discourages using the Trail at this time.
The Trail navigates through a provincially-designated Wilderness Protected Area and is not itself technically closed but the parking lot, which is owned by Halifax Regional Municipality, is. This means you cannot drive to the Trail and may be subject to hefty fines if you do, not to mention potentially causing great harm. As such, although it is still legally open for use from locals who arrive on foot, WRWEO strongly recommends that users stay off of the Trail for the time being in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
See the provincial information here:
See the HRM municipal closures here under Municpal Updates click on the “Parks & Recreation”:
Another issue that is faced with our Trail is the high prevalence of rescue calls that have occurred on the trails. If a user becomes lost or hurt on the Trail in the coming weeks Search and Rescue will need to respond during the COVID-19 outbreak; while the volunteers want to help the community the level of risk to volunteers responding has increased during these COVID-19 times.
Please call 311 if you see cars illegally parked along the side of the St. Margaret’s Bay Road near the Trail parking lot.
This is a difficult time but we will prevail, together. The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail will continue to be one of the jewels of Nova Scotia’s trail systems and it will be there when we come out this ordeal, helping connect us with nature and helping us keep healthy of body and mind.

Hunting Season – Deer hunting starts October 25, 2019

Deer hunting season starts on Friday October 25, 2019. Remember hunting is permitted in the area around The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. Snares are also allowed near the trail – so be sure to wear hunter orange when you are on the trail and keep dogs on leash.

Here is a link to the season and bag limits
Sunday Hunting: Only allowed on the two Sundays immediately following the last Friday in October. Allowed for all species, except moose, for which a season is open at that time.
So hunting will be allowed on Sunday 27 October and 3 November, 2019.

Looking for contractors to undertake brush cutting and trail hardening

Brush Cutting

WRWEO is looking for experienced trail workers to Brush Cut Loop 2 (Mi’kmaw Hill Loop) 1.3 km: 0.3 kms on side “C” and 1 km on side “A”; and all of Loop 3 (The Bluff Loop) 7.6 kms. Here is a link to our Map.

Using a brush cutter and hand trimmer, cut the vegetation on both sides of the trail down to a maximum height of 2’’ and a total width of 3 feet , 1.5 feet on each side of the centre line. 

Pruning of branches and growth should only be done to height of 8 feet tall (any branches taller than this should not be pruned or cut back).

When pruning branches the branch should be cut flush with the trunk of the tree. There should not be any branch stumps sticking out of the tree.

As much as possible do not cut or disturb low growth shrubs such as broom crowberry.

Please email in order to obtain a copy of our proposal submission form, please indicate that you want the brush cutting proposal submission form, references may be required. Those interested will have to provide a fixed price for each piece of work  by midnight on  30th day of October 2019.  The contract may be awarded before the 30th of October, 2019.

Trail Hardening

Using found stone, fill in the Identified Areas needing rock hardening in a manner that provides for solid footing through the Identified Area. These areas tend to be wet areas or low lying areas that can accumulate water during wet seasons. WRWEO is looking for the provision of 360 feet of on trail rock hardening (300 feet to be identified on Pot Lake Loop and 60 feet to be identified on Mi’kmaw Hill Loop).

This will require pry bars to loosen and roll found stone to the Identified Areas as well as picks and shovels to loosen the soil so that the found stone can sit on the trail properly and provide solid footing to trail users. It is important that none of the found stone, once placed on the trail in the Identified Area, moves or shifts when walked upon. The stone tread that is created should be continuous; there should not be any significant gaps of more than a few inches in between the stones such that trail users should not have to stretch their stride or jump while stepping from one stone to another. The stones should also be level with one another such that trail users do not need to step up or down more than a few inches from stone to stone.

Please email in order to obtain a copy of our proposal submission form, please indicate that you want the trail hardening proposal submission form, references may be required. Those interested will have to provide a fixed price for each piece of work  by midnight on  30th day of October 2019.  The contract may be awarded before the 30th of October, 2019.

WRWEO is concerned about ensuring that our impacts on this wilderness are are minimized. We have received negative comments about our maintenance activities in the past and had drafted a response to a concerned citizen and trail user back in 2015. Please check it out and feel free to contact us at if you want further information or to engage with us further on this topic.

Remediation of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian

Mike Lancaster took a crew of volunteers out on September 14, 2019 and took care of the 1st loop.Here is a picture of them taking care of a downed tree.
Then a group of NS Trail Runners led by one of our stewards, Jason White, did the whole circumference of the Bluff Trail on Sept 21, 2019 taking care of other downed trees.
Here are some photos of their efforts: