News release

Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area Designated

Nova Scotians have a new protected wilderness area to explore, study, and enjoy near the Eastern Shore of Halifax Regional Municipality.

The designation by the province of Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area helps protect the environment, gives today's families a protected place to experience nature and will bring a variety of economic opportunities to the region.

"This is a good day for environmental protection in Nova Scotia," said Sterling Belliveau, Minister of Environment. "This new protected area is the result of unique partnerships and public consultations. I would like to thank everyone for their participation."

In 2007, the departments of Environment and of Natural Resources, with representatives of Neenah Paper Co., and a coalition of three environmental groups -- Ecology Action Centre, the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and Eastern Shore Forest Watch -- signed a unique co-operative agreement to start the designation process.

"We're delighted that the Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area now has the protection it deserves," said John MacDonell, Minister of Natural Resources. "This designation is a great example of various groups working together to help benefit our province."

The Ship Harbour Long Lake lands are 14,700 hectares (36,000 acres) and include stands of old forest, large wetland complexes, raised bogs, and numerous wilderness lakes and waterways. These features provide habitat for rare and globally endangered species, and help sustain a tradition of wilderness recreation in the area.

The wilderness area will also help keep the air clean. Forests and wetlands are natural carbon storage systems and this wilderness area stores more than five million tons of carbon, the amount emitted by 950,000 cars in one year.

"We are thrilled to see this area protected," said Raymond Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre. "The new Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area is a true wilderness gem and represents one of the last relatively large, pristine natural areas left in mainland Nova Scotia."

A celebration event will be held this fall to acknowledge the work of community partners in the designation process.

This new wilderness area is part of the province's commitment to protect 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land base by 2015, as stated in the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

For more information about this or Nova Scotia's other protected areas, visit www.gov.ns.ca/nse/protectedareas .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians have a new protected wilderness area to enjoy near the Eastern Shore.

Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, in HRM, helps protect the environment and will also bring economic opportunities.

Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau says it was developed through a unique partnership of environmental groups, Neenah Paper, and the province.

The area is over 14 thousand hectares.

It includes stands of old growth forest and large wetlands. Its natural carbon storage will make the air cleaner.

The province plans to protect 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land base by 2015.

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