‘People love using them on the trails and there are quite a few that have rented them'
TRURO - There are a variety of options for families, individuals or groups looking to enjoy the outdoors this winter.
© Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Stephanie Milbury, administrative assistant with the Town of Truro's Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, shows off a pair of cross-country skis and poles available on loan through the department.
Throughout Colchester County, there are countless activities, from sledding to skating, and even snowshoeing.
"Our snowshoes are in high demand," said Jennifer Richards, recreation assistant with the Municipality of Colchester County, about the county's snowshoe loan program. "We sometimes have to turn people away because they need to book the snowshoes in advance."
The county is going on eight years with the lending program, which offers 60 pairs of snowshoes for all ages. The program requires a $20 deposit, which renters get back upon return of the equipment.
The first booking with the county was Dec. 13, and Richards said the equipment since then "has been completely booked."
"At Christmas, there were none left in the building," she said, adding some people will book one or two pairs, but there have been rentals of up to 16.
"And on Jan. 22, Feb. 4 and Feb. 14, there is one man who is booking them all."
The Village of Bible Hill is finding the same sort of response to its snowshoe-lending program, according to recreation director Brendan Smithson.
"We ran out over Christmas, but we are looking at purchasing more," he said of the snowshoes available to all ages and sizes.
"People love using them on the trails and there are quite a few that have rented them that have returned to tell us they purchased their own. That's what it's about - giving people the opportunity to try the outdoor activity."
Those who are more prone to cross-country skiing, boots, skis and poles are available on loan at the Town of Truro's Parks, Recreation and Culture Department.
Doug MacKenzie, recreation director, said the equipment was available thanks to the Truro Cross-Country Ski Club.
"They were finding it a little difficult to rent out the equipment, so it's much more convenient to do it through the department," said MacKenzie. "We see people almost on a daily basis coming in to rent the equipment when the weather is favourable."
Along with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, there are various options for those wanting to skate outside. There are two outdoor rinks maintained in Bible Hill - Meadowland and at Bible Hill Central School. In Truro, outdoor rinks are available for use at Victoria Square and under the canopy at the Truro Farmer's Market. There is also one in Five Islands across from the fire hall that has lights until 11 p.m., and the Town of Stewiacke's outdoor rink at Dennis Park will soon be up for citizens to enjoy.
MacKenzie said town crews will keep an eye on the hill next to the parking lot of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 on Brunswick Street, and the town also grooms 11 kilometres of trails within Victoria Park, as well as the Cobequid Trail from Willow Street to Highway 236, and possibly into Lower Truro.
Sledding is also popular with children at the Bible Hill Recreation Park.