I’ve been living in the Annapolis Valley for a few months. I’m more of a city person, but I’m thrilled with the parks and trails around New Minas, Kentville and Wolfville. We haven’t even gotten too far out of town, but my wife and I, and my two little girls, have plenty of beautiful places to visit. The Kentville Ravines and the dyke-lands along the Cornwallis River stand out as my favourite places for an evening walk or bike ride.
This is hardly a new or surprising idea, but green spaces and nature make places better. Much better. A stroll along a gurgling brook, with immense hemlocks on all sides, is a joy for the soul. Meeting other people on a trail is almost always a pleasant experience – everyone seems happier and more social on the trails.
The simplest advice for a beautiful place is often overlooked – keep it or make it green. And not lawns, but streams, trees, meadows and old forests. Special places don’t have to be big, they just need to be big enough that people feel like they’re leaving the noise and bustle behind, even for a few minutes.
In the past, too many places have plowed over beautiful spots, instead of blending nature into community design. There are lots of easy ways to preserve nature while still building strong villages, towns and cities.
My time in the Valley is reminding me how important is it to design with nature.