News release

New and Expanded Protected Areas Around Province

NOTE: A list of the protected areas follows the release.

Protected areas protect biodiversity and habitat and offer opportunities for recreation, education, research and tourism. That’s why government is designating 17 new and expanded protected areas around the province.

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson announced the new sites today, Sept. 30.

“Protected areas benefit nature, build resilience to environmental changes and support a green and inclusive economy,” said Mr. Wilson. “I thank the private landowners who offered land for protection and all our partners who helped us take another step toward our goal of protecting 13 per cent of our land.”

Other partners include the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nova Scotia Power and Georgia Pacific Canada.

Ten more sites will be designated in the near future. Some of them need consultation and some need survey work before they can be officially designated.


As we adopt ecological forestry in Nova Scotia, it is essential that we protect land that has the highest biodiversity value in the province. While we implement the other two legs of the triad approach recommended in the independent review of forestry practices, these areas that contain critical habitat for wildlife and species at risk will be fully protected for generations to come. Iain Rankin, Minister of Lands and Forestry

We’re very pleased that the province continues to make progress protecting Nova Scotia biodiversity and wilderness areas. We applaud the new designations including those at Silver River Wilderness Area in southwestern Nova Scotia and River Inhabitants and the incredible Mabou Highlands on Cape Breton Island. Craig Smith, Nova Scotia program manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada

These sites now connect and complement important land trust conservation lands, from the St. Mary’s River to the Mabou Highlands and McGowan Lake. We look forward to continuing to work with the province, land trusts, and our Indigenous partners as we continue to build on our protected areas network across Nova Scotia. Bonnie Sutherland, executive director, Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Quick Facts:

  • the 17 designated sites total about 7,400 hectares. They include four wilderness areas, 10 nature reserves, and three provincial parks
  • the 10 sites to be designated soon total about 7,000 hectares. They include six wilderness areas, two nature reserves and two provincial parks
  • together, these will bring the provincial protection total to about 12.73 per cent or 704,000 hectares

Additional Resources:

Descriptions and locations of protected areas are available at:


The following sites are now designated as protected areas:

  • Cape Mabou Wilderness Area, Inverness Co.
  • Holden Lake Wilderness Area, Lunenburg Co.
  • Middle River Wilderness Area (expansion), Inverness Co.
  • Tusket River Wilderness Area (expansion), Yarmouth Co.
  • Ashfield Nature Reserve, Inverness Co.
  • Catalone Lake Nature Reserve, Cape Breton Co.
  • Crows Neck Nature Reserve, Shelburne Co.
  • Grassy Island Nature Reserve, Lunenbug Co.
  • Hectanooga Cedar Swamp Nature Reserve, Digby Co.
  • Lake Annis Nature Reserve, Yarmouth Co.
  • Ragged Harbour Nature Reserve, Queens Co.
  • River Denys Nature Reserve (expansion), Inverness Co.
  • River Inhabitants Nature Reserve (expansion), Inverness Co.
  • Shut-in Island Nature Reserve, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
  • Cape Split Provincial Park, Kings Co.
  • Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park, HRM
  • Dollar Lake Provincial Park, HRM

The following sites will be designated once consultation and survey work is complete:

  • Pleasant River Wilderness Area, Queens and Lunenburg counties
  • McGowan Lake Wilderness Area, Queens and Annapolis counties
  • Shingle Lake Wilderness Area, Queens and Lunenburg counties
  • Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area (expansion), Halifax Co.
  • Silver River Wilderness Area (expansion), Digby Co.
  • Terence Bay Wilderness Area (expansion), HRM
  • Peppered Moon Nature Reserve, Queens Co.
  • St. Margarets Bay Islands Nature Reserve, HRM and Lunenburg Co.
  • Barra Forest Provincial Park, Victoria Co.
  • St. Mary’s River Provincial Park, Guysborough and Pictou counties