CPAWS welcomes new protected areas for Nova Scotia

HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it will significantly expand the provincial protected areas system. In total, an additional 241,010 hectares of land is proposed for protection, creating 44 new protected wilderness areas, 120 new nature reserves, and 4 new provincial parks. Additionally, several existing protected areas will be expanded, including 32 wilderness areas, 10 nature reserves, and 12 provincial parks.

“The Nova Scotia government is to be congratulated for the important steps it is taking to protect the best remaining wilderness in the province,” says Chris Miller, National Conservation Biologist for CPAWS, based in Nova Scotia. “This is a huge announcement and an historic day for conservation in Nova Scotia.”

The Nova Scotia government has a long-standing commitment to protect at least 12% of Nova Scotia’s landmass by the year 2015. At present, about 9.3% of the province is legally-protected. With today’s announcement, the provincial government is proposing to raise the level of protection above that target, to just over 13%.

“This is a home run, without a doubt,” says Miller. “Not only is the province on track to exceed its land protection targets, but it is choosing to do so with the most ecologically-significant sites remaining in the province. That’s incredibly significant and bodes well for nature conservation in Nova Scotia.”

“The suite of new protected areas includes large intact forests, remote coastal wilderness, species-at-risk habitat, entire watersheds, stands of old-growth Acadian forest, important wetlands, and significant waterways,” says Miller.

The Nova Scotia government has made considerable progress over the past few years creating new protected areas and acquiring high-conservation value lands to add to the public land base. Today’s announcement is the largest commitment to protect Nova Scotia’s wilderness in over a decade and comes only several months after the province created two large protected areas near Chignecto.

“Nova Scotia is at the forefront of conservation in Canada,” adds Miller. “When the proposed protected areas announced today are officially protected, only one other province in Canada will have a higher percentage of its landmass protected.”

The protected areas plan includes the significant majority of sites that CPAWS was recommending for protection, including Humes River, French River, Kelley’s Mountain, Ingonish Valley, Fourchu coastline, Margaree Valley, Mabou Highlands, St. Mary’s River, Port Bickerton Beach, Liscomb River, Eastern Shore Islands, Chignecto Isthmus, Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes, Tobeatic Additions, Shingle Lake, Walton River, Nictaux, Alma Lakes, Fisher Lake, Tusket River, Economy River, and Prospect Islands and coastline, among many others.

The Nova Scotia government will be undertaking a final round of public consultations to gather feedback on the proposed new protected areas before official designations. Public submissions to the Department of Environment can be made until May 1st, 2013.

Additional Information
Nova Scotia government news release
Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas website
Map of proposed new protected areas

Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Conservation Biologist
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society