With these latest additions, the total area protected is 12.4% of Nova Scotia’s land area.In March of 2017, Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas (a section of Nova Scotia Environment) designated two new Wilderness Areas and expansion of another totalling 5950 ha, and 12 new Nature Reserves of 6 to 298 ha in area. It was a low key announcement with no Press Release, but the sites are significant. The sites were initially identified for protection in Nova Scotia’s 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
The largest was an expansion of the Chignecto Wilderness Area (designated 2008). “This wetland and forested addition to Chignecto Isthmus Wilderness Area, near Nova Scotia’s border with New Brunswick, nearly quadruples the size of the existing wilderness area to over 3,700 hectares…Chignecto Isthmus is a critical land bridge that links Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of North America.” In addition, “The Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected an additional 3,000 acres nearby, along the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border, as part of an ongoing effort to secure a permanent wilderness corridor for wildlife, including Nova Scotia’s mainland moose.” (Amherst News, Mar 23, 2017)The newly designated Walton River Wilderness Area (2,246 ha) “protects a forested corridor that straddles most of the length of Walton River, a tidally influenced waterway that drains into Minas Basin at Walton, Hants County.”
The newly designated Carleton River Wilderness Area (919 ha) “consists of two parcels, about 1.5 km apart, along the east side of Carleton River, near the community of Forest Glen, in the interior of Yarmouth County. The wilderness area lies within the Tusket Drumlins natural landscape, a biologically rich part of southwestern Nova Scotia, with gently sloping hardwood and mixedwood hills, and numerous lakes. Stands of mature sugar and red maple, yellow birch and beech blanket the rolling terrain, with red spruce through the intervening, flatter lands.”Two of the twelve Nature Reserves are islands protected primarily for migrating birds and sea bird nesting areas. Five protect mature/old forest stands, another five include significant forest stands but were protected primarily for other features, e.g., habitat for wood turtle.
Under EGSPA (the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, passed in 2007) Nova Scotia committed to protect at least 12 per cent of its land area by 2015. By the end of 201512.26% was protected,
Congratulations and Thanks, NSE/Parks and Protected Areas!