Families will soon have better opportunities and be active outdoors by hiking trails and canoeing rivers as part of the province’s new Portage and Hiking Trail Fund, announced today, Aug. 2, by Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Canoeing and hiking are a great way for families to explore, be active and enjoy time together,” said Ms. MacDonald, on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “Nova Scotians worked hard to help balance the budget and now the province can invest in a better future that encourages healthy living and strengthens families and communities.” The Portage and Hiking Trail Fund helps community groups improve canoe portage and hiking trails, improving access to areas that can only be reached on foot or by paddle. “N.S. Trails supports hundreds of volunteers in communities across the province who are developing, maintaining and managing recreational trail opportunities for all Nova Scotians to enjoy,” said Vanda Jackson, executive director, Nova Scotia Trails Federation. “This additional funding for canoe portage and hiking trails is welcome news for our dedicated trail volunteers.” Beginning next spring, community groups, municipalities and other not-for-profit organizations can apply to the $125,000 annual fund to mark hiking trails and canoe portages, install signs and clear undergrowth. “Wilderness areas are one of our province’s greatest assets,” said Garnet McLaughlin, chair, Hike Nova Scotia. “I’m pleased that investment in infrastructure through this fund will make trails safer and more accessible for Nova Scotians and visitors looking for an unforgettable wilderness-based hiking and canoeing experience.” The program supports Thrive!, the province’s plan for a healthier Nova Scotia. The plan has 34 actions to support healthy eating and physical activity. Learn more at http://thrive.novascotia.ca .