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Activities of Friends of McNabs Island Society

  • The Friends of McNabs Island Society was incorporated in 1990 to promote McNabs, Lawlor and Devils Islands as park lands and discourage industrial uses of the Halifax Harbour islands.

  • Since incorporation, the Friends of McNabs Island Society has organized guided tours of McNabs Island for the general public, and school and youth groups. Island events are promoted in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources Parks are for People program.

  • Since 1991, the society, in cooperation with the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation's Adopt a Beach Program, has organized semi-annual McNabs Island beach cleanups. Hundreds of volunteers assist in the cleanup each year making it the largest cleanup effort in Nova Scotia. Since 1991 we have organized 16 cleanups and collected approximately 5000 bags of ocean debris.

  • During the winter months, the Friends of McNabs Island Society organizes public presentations on McNabs Island topics such as the island's natural, military and cultural history, as well as eco-tourism and environmental education proposals for the island.

  • In 1993, the society successfully persuaded the Department of National Defence to reopen Garrison Pier, the only public access point to the island, which had been fenced off in 1992.

  • Members of the society have made presentations about the island to university and public school classes, youth and community groups; addressed government policy reviews and panels and met with provincial, municipal and federal politicians to address the issue of McNabs and Lawlor Island Parks.

  • The society has set up information displays at the Halifax International Boat Show and at the Atlantic Earth Festival.

  • The society produces a quarterly newsletter The Rucksack, containing information about the island which is distributed to members, interested groups and libraries.

  • In 1995, and revised in 1997, the society produced an island brochure and map, McNabs Island, Park-in-the-Making which is distributed to island visitors, school and youth groups.

  • In 1995, the society published a best selling guide book entitled Discover McNabs Island which features chapters on the island's military and cultural history, vegetation, birds and wildlife, shipwrecks, ghost stories, and includes trail maps of the island and suggested activities for island visitors.

  • Since 1994, the society has had a trail maintenance and waste management agreement with the Department of Natural Resources, which involves removal of windfalls and underbrush from island trails, posting trail signs, building foot bridges over sensitive stream areas, installing and maintaining outhouses, and garbage and recyclable containers.

  • In 1996, the trail and waste management agreement was extended to federal Parks Canada lands on McNabs Island and includes the maintenance of the McNabs family cemetery. This commitment was extended in 1997 to include mowing the grass at Forts McNab and Ives and painting the fence at Fort Ives.

  • The society has submitted a proposal to Natural Resources to convert the former McNabs Island Teahouse into an information centre that can be used by our society, school and youth groups, and other island visitors. The centre will be the focal point for island activities, housing island artifacts, and providing information to visitors.
  • The society has an active Outdoor Education Committee that has hosted workshops and meeting with other educators committed to promoting outdoor education on McNabs Island. Educational materials are available for teachers and other youth leaders who bring young people to the island.

  • The society has been successful in attracting funding for our McNabs Island projects from our membership, as well as from RCMP Veterans Association's Gladys Conrad Legacy Fund, Mountain Equipment Coop, Shell Environmental Fund, and Environment Canada's Partners Fund. Many services and supplies have been donated by local businesses.