Many of the roads in Nova Scotia’s new Crown land in the province’s western region (the former Bowater Mersey land) have been open to vehicles since early 2013.
The land now belongs to Nova Scotians and it is important to us economically, environmentally, and socially. The lakes, streams, and woods on this land were always accessible on foot or by paddling and we are now providing road access to vehicles, so long as they stay on the road.
In December 2012 the province purchased 555,000 acres of land from Bowater Mersey. This land contains 2,500 kilometres of forest roads, many of which were previously blocked off to vehicles. Thirteen road gates are now open providing access to 1,700 kilometres of forest roads. Provincial Crown land policy allows Nova Scotians’ access to all provincially-owned land except where restricted for appropriate reasons, such as ecological protection.
Government worked with Nova Scotians to discuss sustainable plans for the land. Nine public open-house consultations were held across the western region to focus on ways to use the new Crown land for economic, social and environmental benefit. The consultation period ended Friday, April 19, 2013. Many comments about access to the land were heard at these sessions. People also commented on the need to protect sensitive habitats within these lands.
In order to protect the ecologically sensitive areas, new internal barriers and signage has been, established. These areas will be off-limits to vehicle traffic. Some of the road gates are on private land so will remain closed as the province works with land owners to determine if those roads will be opened in future.
Notice: We are in the process of updating the Index maps of the former Bowater lands which show the details of the open gates and roads.