The government is legally protecting 20 sites as wilderness areas or nature reserves, more than 14,000 hectares.
The properties are identified in the province’s Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
“It’s great news that these new protected areas have been created,” said Chris Miller, national conservation biologist for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “They will help conserve a wide range of natural ecosystems, including old-growth forests, rare-species habitat, important coastal sites, significant wetlands and intact watersheds.”
In this first round of designations, there are four wilderness areas, including the Stillwaters Wilderness Area near Louisbourg, and 16 nature reserves, including Caribou Rivers Nature Reserve in Pictou County and Blandford Nature Reserve in Lunenburg County.
These sites protect old forests, wildlife habitat, help secure drinking water supplies and provide opportunities for exceptional outdoor recreation.
“On behalf of members of the Kelly Lake Watershed Protection Committee, I am very pleased to hear about the designation of the Stillwaters Wilderness Area, which will encompass Kelly Lake and all the upstream lakes,” said Britt Roscoe, watershed co-ordinator for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“Our hope is that the wilderness areas designation will enhance the experience for human-powered visitors while ensuring the protection of the water supply for residents of Louisbourg and area.”
The lands were selected after consulting with municipalities, the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq, community groups, industries, non-government organizations and hundreds of people.
“Our parks and protected areas give us clean air and water, secure land for outdoor recreation and trails, provide jobs and attract visitor dollars in nearby communities through nature tourism,” said Environment Minister Randy Delorey.
Wild spaces are important for fighting climate change by capturing and storing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. They also allow fish, wildlife and plants to thrive in their natural habitats.
To see the plan and interactive maps, visit www.novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/ .