News release

Consultation on Urban Wilderness Area Designation

Nova Scotians are invited to comment on government's intent to designate more than 1,300 hectares of Crown land within Halifax Regional Municipality for protection.

The Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area will be next to the urban core of HRM.

"This will be Nova Scotia's first urban wilderness area; protecting air quality, watersheds, and natural ecosystems," said Environment Minister Mark Parent. "This area will help us meet our commitment to protect 12 per cent of the province's land mass by 2015."

The designated area will protect 1,350 hectares (3,350 acres) of Crown land between Highway 103 and the Bicentennial Highway, adjacent to Bayers Lake Business Park.

The area includes numerous undeveloped lakes and wetlands, rugged woodlands with old red oak and red spruce stands, and habitat for rare species.

"This protected area will encourage healthy, active living by allowing HRM residents and visitors to easily access Nova Scotia’s beautiful and peaceful wilderness -- all within a short distance of one of our busy urban areas," said Mayor Peter Kelly. "We look forward to hearing residents views on how to make the best use of this significant green space."

The Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area will complement HRM's plans to create a nearby regional park.

It will promote healthy lifestyles through wilderness recreation and exceptional opportunities for outdoor education, hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing, canoeing and angling.

Public information forums on the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area will be held Wednesday, July 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Keshen Goodman Public Library in Halifax and Monday, July 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the St. Margaret's Centre in Upper Tantallon.

Written comment will be accepted until Aug. 22 by mail at: Department of Environment, Protected Areas, P.O. Box 442, Halifax, N.S., B3J 2P8, and by e-mail at: protectedareas@gov.ns.ca.

A map of proposed boundaries for Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area, a consultation newsletter and more information about protected areas are available at all Department of Environment offices, online at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/protectedareas , and by calling 902-424-2117.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

It's a first for Nova Scotia -- a new protected wilderness area located within a major urban centre -- and public consultations are underway.

Government intends to protect over 1,300 hectares of land and lakes within Halifax Regional Municipality.

Environment Minister Mark Parent says it's part of the province's commitment to protect 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land.

The Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area will be between Highway 103 and the Bicentennial Highway.

Information forums will be held Wednesday, July 2nd at 11 A-M at the Keshen Goodman Public Library and on Monday, July 7th at 6:30 P-M at the St. Margaret's Centre in Upper Tantallon.

Details are on the Environment Department's website at W-W-W dot gov dot N-S dot C-A slash N-S-E slash protected areas.

-30-

Media Contact:

Bruce Nunn
Department of Environment 902-424-6427 Cell-476-6454 E-mail: