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December 20, 2023
An area outside Halifax enjoyed and valued by generations of Nova Scotians for hiking, fishing, camping and enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature is now protected forever.
The new Island Lake Wilderness Area protects 3,937 hectares of land, wetlands and water in the St. Margarets Bay area. It is one of 23 new designations that protect an additional 14,000 hectares of forest, water, wetlands, coastline and coastal habitats, bringing the total area of the province that is protected to 13.45 per cent.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman made the announcement today, December 20, in Upper Tantallon.
“Protecting nature benefits all of us today and ensures future generations of Nova Scotians can also enjoy these special places, as they will remain parts of our communities for perpetuity,” said Minister Halman. “Our government is protecting more of Nova Scotia’s land, wetlands and water for the many benefits they give us – helping us stay physically and mentally healthy, giving us clean air and drinking water, helping us fight climate change, strengthening biodiversity and preventing further biodiversity loss, providing habitat for wildlife and much more. Today is a great day for our province and our planet.”
The Island Lake Wilderness Area includes old-growth and conifer forest, lakes, wetlands and watercourses, including part of the lower Ingram River. It also includes the scenic Island Lake, a large lake with islands that is sheltered by coves and surrounding hills, making it a great place for canoeing, boating, hiking and camping. The Mi’kmaq also use Island Lake for fishing and other traditional activities. The new wilderness area is habitat for many species, such as the endangered mainland moose and other species at risk.
Minister Halman also released the Collaborative Protected Areas Strategy, which will guide the Province’s work in achieving the goal to protect 20 per cent of Nova Scotia’s land and water mass. More than 600 Nova Scotians provided input to inform the strategy, which includes guiding principles and 24 actions grouped under four solutions to protect more land, water and wetlands.
Nova Scotians care deeply about protecting and conserving the province’s unique landscapes. We’re committed to our protected areas goal, and we’re pleased to contribute to it through our provincial parks system and our careful management of Crown land. This strategy will help us preserve habitats for biodiversity and our wildlife, continue to provide natural spaces for recreation and create a sustainable future for generations to come. Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables
We are thrilled to see the designation of Island Lake Wilderness Area. This is a win for all Nova Scotians as this designation will protect habitat for species at risk and some of the oldest forests in the province. It will also help to fight climate change and reduce forest fire risk. Now, Nova Scotians will be able to enjoy and hunt, camp and fish within this incredible area for generations to come. Mike Lancaster, Executive Director, St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association
Nova Scotia Collaborative Protected Areas Strategy: https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/docs/collaborative-protected-areas-strategy-en.pdf
More information about wilderness areas and nature reserves is available at: https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/
Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act: https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/environmental%20goals%20and%20climate%20change%20reduction.pdf
Our Climate, Our Future: Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth: https://climatechange.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/ns-climate-change-plan.pdf
Parks and protected areas plan: https://novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/pdf/Parks-Protected-Plan.pdf
List of designations:
New wilderness areas:
Expanded wilderness areas:
New nature reserves:
Expanded nature reserve: