Richmond Campbell: Recipient of the 2010
Colin Stewart Conservation Award

From the Report for the Halifax Field Naturalist:

Richmond Campbell was nominated for the Colin Stewart Conservation Award for his role in the conceptualization, development and maintenance of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail.

The trail, completed in 2005, consists of four stacked loops that begin inside the Woodens River watershed and climb onto the high ground ("The Bluff" ) between the Woodens River watershed and the Nine Mile River watershed to the east; then it descends in the vicinity of Upper Five Bridge lake to the transitional area between barrens and the forest that extends southward across the Old Coach Road to Shad Bay. It is a true wilderness trail, narrow, cut back once a year or when vegetation gets high, and without special construction except where it crosses very wet areas or where foot traffic has begun to cause some deterioration. Leave no Trace principles are promoted.

The trail takes hikers through barrens, oak & red maple woodlands, black spruce stands, mixed red spruce/hardwood forest (including two old growth stands by Pot Lake), and by bogs. fens, and lakeshores. The area is frequented by the 25-30 mainland moose making up the Chebucto group of this legally protected species.

Richmond CampbellRichmond Campbell

The express purpose of the trail is "to allow the Woodens River community and the public generally to become aware of the extraordinary natural assets of this area, on the principle that awareness is the first step in protection… We believe that once people have experienced this wildness, most will understand its importance to their lives and the lives of their children and will not let it be destroyed."

This trail has its origins in the late 1980s when Richmond & spouse Sue Sherwin moved to the Hubley area. They began to explore the adjacent wilderness on crown land by foot, canoe, skis and snowshoes. Richmond became concerned about ensuring its conservation and Sue encouraged him to take on an advocacy role. He was one of the originators of WRWEO (Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization), formed in 1995. Writes one of his long-standing colleagues in this organization:

We all joined forces with others and WRWEO took on the job to oppose and rehabilitate the devastation Junky Jim's junk yard wreaked on Five Island Lake, to rehabilitate and remediate Sheldrake Lake, to create the Hubley Wildlands Trust which was spun off into the Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust, The Bluff Trail, and many more, each one of these initiatives having Richmond's fingerprints all over it.

Another colleague writes:

Perhaps his most important contribution over the years has been the vital role he has played in constructing and maintaining a set of wilderness hiking trails, now known as The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. This extraordinary 32 km series of four loops is located on Crown Land on the Chebucto Peninsula and in 2008 was rated by Explore: Canada's Outdoor Magazine as one of eight best urban escapes in Canada. While there were many volunteers who put countless hours and enormous energy into bringing this project to fruition, I believe that in great measure, it was the determination, passion and relentless efforts of Rich Campbell that made this dream a reality. The Bluff Trail is a jewel in the regional trails community and hundreds of people every year are deriving enjoyment from hiking on it. Many of these hikers have become strong advocates of preserving as much of the natural habitat as possible in the area.

Recently, an extremely important step has been taken to ensure the ongoing preservation of the wilderness in the region. In 2008, Rich was instrumental in helping to form the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition (CWC) to protect the portion of the Chebucto Peninsula traditionally known as the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area (FBLWA) under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. The Coalition has worked diligently in garnering the support of the community at large, of regional environmental groups and of government agencies towards this important initiative. Its efforts were rewarded in October 2009 when the Nova Scotia government declared the FBLWA a Candidate Wilderness Area.

Soon, the entire area of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, and much more, will be protected forever, fulfilling Richmond's dream and benefitting all of us.