Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Protected Areas

Nature Reserves FAQs

Although each Nature Reserve is unique, all Nature Reserves share a commonality. The following are general questions and answers relevant to all Nature Reserves.

Q: What is a nature reserve?

A: A nature reserve is an area of land which is legally protected by the Government of Nova Scotia, under the Special Places Protection Act. Areas are designated to safeguard the species, ecosystems, and other natural features which occur there, while providing opportunities for scientific research, education, and nature appreciation.

Q: Why do we have nature reserves?

A: Establishing a nature reserve is a way to protect rare, outstanding, or representative natural features or phenomena, such as old-growth forests or the habitats of rare or endangered plants or animals. Such features can easily be damaged or destroyed by certain types of human activities, such as forestry, mining, road construction, or all-terrain vehicle use. A nature reserve designation legally restricts the types of uses and activities which may occur in an area to those which will not damage those special features which require protection.

Q: Who owns natures reserves?

A: A nature reserve may be designated on Crown land administered by the Government of Nova Scotia, or on any other land in the province where the owner has granted permission for a nature reserve to be established.

Q: Can I visit nature reserves?

A: Yes. Most nature reserves are open to public visitation. Some nature reserves have trails and signs describing the significant natural features being protected while others can be visited with the permission of the owner and/or the Protected Areas Branch of the Nova Scotia Environment and Labour. Some nature reserves contain habitats, ecosystems, or species which are so vulnerable to disturbance or damage that public visitation must be restricted either seasonally or throughout the year.

Q: What can I do in a nature reserve?

A: Nature reserves are established to protect natural features and phenomena and preserve opportunities for scientific research. Therefore, any activities which may cause damage or disturbance to natural features are restricted or prohibited. Such restricted activities generally include forestry, mining, road-building, motorized vehicle use, hunting, and camping.

Birding, canoeing, hiking, nature photography, and other types of non-consumptive, low-impact activities are generally permitted as long as natural features and species are not disturbed.