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.
Since 1991, the Society, in cooperation with the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation's Adopt a Beach Program, has organized 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 thousands of bags of 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 Islands Provincial Park.
The Society produces a newsletter, The Rucksack, containing information about the island which is distributed to members, interested groups and libraries.
The Society also produces an island brochure and map which is distributed to island visitors, school and youth groups.
The society published a guide book entitled Discover McNabs Island which details 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.
The Society has trail maintenance and waste management agreements 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.
The Society desires to eventually convert the former McNabs Island Teahouse into an information centre that can be used by our organization, school and youth groups, and other island visitors. The centre would be the focal point for island activities, housing island artifacts, and providing information to visitors.
The Society 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 also been donated by local businesses.