Thirty new protected areas in six Nova Scotia counties will preserve old-growth forests, rare ecosystems, unique wetlands, historic and cultural sites and extensive natural frontage on many lakes and rivers.
The province will designate all of the 10,050 hectares (24,834 acres) of land acquired from Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. Eleven areas will become nature reserves, 12 will be provincial park reserves and seven will be wilderness areas.
"This is a significant step forward in conserving our most precious natural areas," Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour, said today, July 26. "These areas will be protected for all Nova Scotians to study, to explore and to enjoy."
Important Mi'kmaq cultural heritage sites and natural features along the Mersey River in Queens and Annapolis counties will be protected by new provincial park reserves.
The designation of Shelburne River Wilderness Area will provide protection to the Shelburne Canadian Heritage River, one of 40 heritage rivers in Canada.
The new protected areas also will help preserve habitats of rare species, unique natural features and opportunities for wilderness recreation.
"Our department was very pleased to help facilitate the acquisition of these new Crown lands, to enhance Nova Scotia's protected-lands system," said David Morse, Minister of Natural Resources. "All of the $27 million worth of land, acquired in March, will be conserved."
The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, proclaimed June 7, commits the province to protecting 12 per cent of its land mass, an international standard, by the year 2015. As announced in the spring, 100 per cent of the acquired land will be conserved. Of the new designations, 91.5 per cent will help to meet the 12 per cent target by protecting the natural areas' plants, animals and ecosystems. The remaining 8.5 per cent of lands will be conserved for public recreation use and for the protection of historic and cultural sites.
The 11 new nature reserves, also known as ecological sites, total 2,683 hectares (6,630 acres) and fall under the Special Places Protection Act, administered by the Department of Environment and Labour. They will be located in Queens, Lunenburg, Hants, and Annapolis counties.
The seven areas designated under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, located in Queens, Shelburne, and Annapolis counties, total 5,780 hectares(14,282 acres) and also will be administered by the Environment and Labour Department.
The 12 park reserves total 1,587 hectares (3,921 acres) and will be designated under the Provincial Parks Act, administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Lands that have the potential to be a provincial park are protected as a park reserve.
The new park reserves will be in Queens and Annapolis counties and in Halifax Regional Municipality.
A map showing the locations of the new protected areas is located at the Department of Environment and Labour website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla and at the Department of Natural Resources website at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/land/ .
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Nova Scotia is about to get 30 new protected natural areas in six counties.
The province announced today (July 26th) that it is using the lands acquired from Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. to create nature reserves, wilderness areas and provincial parks.
They will protect old-growth forests, rare ecosystems, a Canadian Heritage River and important Mi'kmaq heritage sites.
The protected areas will be located in HRM and in Hants, Lunenburg, Queens, Annapolis and Shelburne counties.
More information is available on the Environment and Labour Department's website (www.gov.ns.ca/enla) and at the Department of Natural Resources' website (www.gov.ns.ca/natr/land/ ) .