Located 30 minutes from downtown Halifax
Access points north of HWY 103 (Exit 5A and a new overpass) and Route 3
Connected to the Trans Canada Trail (abandoned rail line) for walking, bicycles, and off-highway vehicles.
Our Really Big Backyard
Looking for secluded places to swim, hike, or set up camp for a few days? Or just unplug and unwind? Many of the area’s attractions are easily accessible on roads that would remain open to vehicles. These roads and trails provide access to camping spots, lakes, hiking and biking trails, lookoffs, and camps.
Enjoying the outside in the Ingram River area can't be taken for granted. Places people like to visit have already been impacted by cutting, with some trails and proposed trails being obliterated. Safeguarding outdoor amentities is not a priority for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR) so some trails sit forgotten and abandoned, unmaintained or not safe. Wilderness area designation will help us hold on to the natural setting that makes these lands such a valuable public asset. And it will provide space (literally and figuratively) for the community to take a lead role in trail planning, development, and stewardship.
The adjacent map depicts boundaries as currently proposed by the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association and a coalition of over 50 organizations and businesses. Note that this is not currently a government-based proposal. The boundaries are conceptual but accurately depict the approximate size of protected area sought for the Ingram. It also shows that well-used roads and OHV trails need to remain open for public use so that the area remains accessible. As our research and conversations with other interested groups and citizens progress it may make sense to adjust boundaries accordingly.
Many users know about the Old Annapolis Road trail off of Hiking Trail Road. But that's barely scratching the surface of what a future Ingram River Wilderness Area has to offer. Incredible terrain and no shortage of intriguing destinations create ideal conditions for new trails to suit a wide range of ages, abilities, and interests. From leisurely walking trails to stuff that's just over-the-top crazy, a new wilderness area can make it happen. Signage and trail maps can be updated as new routes are developed.
The most ambitious project is the epic Bay-to-Bay Trail. The proposed trail alignment cuts across the uninhabited interior of Nova Scotia between St. Margarets Bay and the upper reaches of Minas Basin. It aims to become one of the premiere long-distance hiking experiences in the province, through multiple remote habitats (lakes, hills, ridges, meadows, cliffs, all types of forest, etc.). Other possibilities include the Scout Island Trail along Sandy and Big Indian Lake, and a more challenging multi-day loop through lake and ridge country showcasing the area's rougher edges.
Angling and Hunting
Angling in the spring and deer hunting in the fall are already popular and could continue in a wilderness area. There are numerous streams and lakes for fishing, often accessible from footpaths or boat launches off main roads. The vast size of the area and variation of habitats allow for various hunting opportunities.
A wilderness area will maintain water quality in rivers and lakes and prevent further habitat loss.
On the Water
The proposed wilderness area contains dozens of lakes and river sections that are perfect for water-based activities including canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, and swimming.
Lakes, streams, and ancient portages form miles of interconnected canoe and kayak routes throughout the area. Some lakes are easy to reach for an afternoon paddle, while the area's more remote reaches beckon those who seek the solitude and adventure of the backcountry.
Ingram River is a joy to paddle. It combines lakes, still waters, and rapids from Big St. Margarets Bay Lake to the ocean at Ingramport. Side loops go further off the beaten track. Camp on islands and sandy beaches with only calls of owls and loons breaking the stillness.
There is no shortage of places to camp in the proposed wilderness area. As with other activities, some are easy to access and others are more remote.
Much of the proposed wilderness area is accessible by forestry roads. These roads provide access for recreation, including to many lakes and camps. Many are valued as part of a bigger regional network for off-highway vehicles, or for use with personal cars and trucks. Keeping popular routes open is important to many users and supported by SMBSA, and needs to be a key part of how a wilderness area reflects what the community wants.
Pre-existing vehicle routes can be grandparented into new wilderness areas, or can just be avoided by the protected area.
With convenient access from the Trans Canada Trail the proposed wilderness area is primed for mountain biking and trail riding.
SMBSA is interested in partnering with cycling groups to develop mountain biking routes in a new wilderness area.
Kids love the outdoors. Yet the woods and fishing holes that previous generations took for granted are harder than ever for young people to find these days. Ingram River Wilderness Area will offer a wonderful contrast to their plugged-in world: a place to roam, discover, and get excited about nature. A place to be a kid again. It’s a great outdoor classroom for young people to explore, and a welcome backdrop to Scout Island, a traditional camping area for generations of Boy Scouts.