CPAWS Nova Scotia welcomes new protected areas in Nova Scotia
K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it will establish 20 new protected areas in the province, including 8 wilderness areas, 7 nature reserves, and 5 provincial parks.
“These are excellent sites for conservation,” says Chris Miller, Executive Director for CPAWS Nova Scotia. “They include large intact forests, coastal sites, near-urban wilderness, important wetlands and waterways, and species-at-risk habitat.”
Included in today’s announcement is a new wilderness park for the Sackville area that protects nearly 700 hectares of land that are important for community use and for protecting the Sackville River.
“We are very glad to see Sackville River – Lewis Lake Wilderness Area included in this announcement,” says Caitlin Grady, Conservation Campaigner for CPAWS-NS. “This near-urban wilderness area contains important forest and wetland ecosystems and provides unique landscape representation of the Sackville Drumlins.”
CPAWS-NS has worked closely with the Sackville Rivers Association on the protection of Sackville River – Lewis Lake over many years. While Sackville River – Lewis Lake was listed in the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan since 2013, today’s decision means that these lands will be protected very soon, following a public consultation period that will begin shortly.
“This is a popular spot for the community of Upper Sackville to come out and enjoy nature,” says Caitlin Grady. “Today’s announcement means that people can continue to walk, bike, fish, ski, hunt, swim and paddle in Sackville River – Lewis Lake as they have done for years.”
The wilderness area designation will prohibit industrial scale activities, such as clearcutting and open-pit mining, which are not compatible with how people are currently using this very special place. The new wilderness park for Upper Sackville is an important component of the Halifax Greenbelt and helps establish ecosystem connectivity with the nearby Pockwock Watershed.
The 7 nature reserves included in the announcement today are now officially designated. The 8 wilderness areas and 5 provincial parks must undergo one extra round of public consultation. That consultation begins later this week.
CPAWS-NS is working toward the full implementation of the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan. Once the new protected areas from today’s announcement are finalized, there will still be approximately 150 promised sites that are still awaiting legal protection by the Nova Scotia government.
“There is still a lot more work to do”, says Miller. “It’s important that Nova Scotia does its part to address the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis. These are urgent times. They require more action and sooner.”
The federal government has set a protected area target of 25% of Canada by 2025, and 30% by 2030. Nova Scotia is slipping behind with only 13% protection.