Heartland Tour Award

Bikers leave the Pictou County Wellness Centre to start Pictou County's 2018 Heartland Tour. (File photo)

The Pictou County Trails Association (PCTA) has earned the 2021 Heartland Tour’s most active county award.

Dr. Nicholas Giacomantonio, president of the Heartland Tour, will present the award on Saturday at Smith Rock Chalets and Lodge. The award is worth $2,500 and recognizes that Pictou County had the largest rate of participation in the 2021 Heartland Tour.

“In 2020 the COVID public gathering restrictions made an adaptation of the Heartland Tour to a province-wide virtual event necessary,” he said in a press release. “The success in attracting new participants from across the province has meant that virtual events will continue to be part of the tour’s future. This year, organizers in Pictou County obviously worked hard to increase participation and claim the award.”

Elaine Falconer, a trail builder and certified hike leader and trainer with the trails association, said the funds are timely and welcome.

“The award will be put to immediate use replacing an important bridge that is key to accessing the Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail network,” she said in the release. “The funds will help pay for the materials and volunteers will do all of the labour. This section of trail is used extensively by both hikers and mountain bikers.”

The award presentation will be made during the association’s fall hike festival at a hiker’s lunch starting at 12:30 p.m. at the lodge. The festival includes four guided hikes (part of Hike Nova Scotia’s Fall Guided Hikes series). 

Special guests include Pictou County Warden Robert Parker and Pictou West MLA and Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane.

The Heartland Tour is a province-wide public awareness and engagement initiative of the Cardiac Cycling Society of Nova Scotia.  An all-volunteer undertaking, the tour aims to encourage Nova Scotians of all ages and abilities to become more physically active in their daily lives to improve their health status. 

Funding for this award was made possible by the sponsorship of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia. 

The Pictou County Trails Association is a volunteer umbrella organization representing all community-based recreational trail interests in the county.  It is a member of the Nova Scotia Trails Federation. 

Its membership works closely with Hike Nova Scotia and has trained many of its members to become certified hiking field leaders under the Outdoor Council of Canada.