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Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (distance/navigation).
Setting: Lake, beach, wooded trails.
Facilities: Parking Lot, Beach, Change rooms/Bathrooms, picnic area, and beach volleyball court.
Features: Supervised beach. Change room & bathroom facilities. Popular dog-friendly park with #off-leash trails (see rules below).
Sandy Lake Park
Sandy Lake Park is an area encompassing a couple of hundred acres of land owned by Halifax Regional Municipality and has large areas contested and threatened by development. Part of the Sackville River Watershed, Sandy Lake is an important ecosystem full of wildlife and sections of old-growth Acadian forest.
The aptly named lake with its sandy bottom is a unique oasis of untouched wilderness amongst a rapidly expanding suburban part of the Halifax Regional municipality.
Sandy Lake Beach
The main attraction of the park is the well-designed and maintained beach area. The warm sandy beach is supervised by a lifeguard during the summer months, making it a great #family-friendly destination. Accompanying facilities like change rooms and washrooms are in the large building adjacent to the beach. Next to the beach is a beach volleyball court, open grass field, picnic tables, and benches. In Summer, it’s one of the most popular #beaches in the area. The park is especially scenic in Fall as the surrounding forest frames everything in a warm autumn glow.
Off-Leash Dog Walking
The next most popular use of the park is #off-leash dog walking. The trails are all off-leash, but the area in and around the beach is no dogs allowed from Spring-Fall. The park is equipped with garbage cans and dog bag dispensers. Parking during the off-season is at the gate of the park. The main parking lot is not accessible and requires 500m of extra walking.
The park is also an excellent place to explore off the beaten path. You can see some impressive old-growth trees in different parts of the park. There are lots of paths leading in various directions (as far as Marsh Lake and Jack Lake). If you choose to go off the beaten path, make sure you’re prepared and have some navigation aid. Nearby Jack Lake hiking trail, and powerline trails make for a large system of unofficial paths and routes.
“The wetland that surrounds the lake is a healthy ecosystem that many reptiles and amphibians call home, including 3 different species of turtles! Atlantic Salmon and American Eel have also been found here. Not to mention the waterfowl, as well as other wildlife. Visiting Marsh Lake gives you the opportunity to be able to witness barred owls, mink, fox, deer, otters, loons, osprey and many more. The area also includes an old forest, with some trees being over 200 years old. These types of forests are not common in Nova Scotia, and are home to species that do not live in younger forests.”
The park was originally created with the help of the Bedford Lions Club donating $150, 000 and championed by ongoing stewardship of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association. The association’s website outlines a 50-year history of fighting to protect the Sandy Lake area. Urgent protection efforts are ongoing to date thanks to the recently formed Sandy Lake Coalition.
Sandy Lake Park Habitat:
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