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


Protected Areas


River Inhabitants Nature Reserve

River Inhabitants Nature Reserve River Inhabitants Nature Reserve protects an impressive mix of habitats along the meandering course of River Inhabitants, near Port Hawkesbury.

Highlights include: freshwater and tidal river frontage, marshes, oxbow ponds, side channels, gravel and sand bars, levees, riparian alder thickets, large bogs, floodplain meadows, imperfectly drained black spruce-sphagnum-dominated forest, and old hardwood forest on gypsum karst terrain.

The area is home to the nationally threatened wood turtle and at least nine species of rare or uncommon plants. The river and its tributaries provide habitat for brook trout and Atlantic salmon.

The nature reserve is within a natural region known as the Bras d’Or Lake Plain Natural Landscape and contributes to representation of this natural landscape within the provincial protected areas network.

The original nature reserve of 362 hectares was designated in 2006 with consent of then-owner Stora Enso Port Hawkesbury and was the Province’s first significant protected area on a major river floodplain in Nova Scotia’s Carboniferous Lowlands. With its expansion in 2019, the reserve has more than doubled in size and added four disjunct parcels further upstream. The amount of protected river and tributary frontage is over 10 km.

At higher water levels, more than 30 km of River Inhabitants is navigable by canoe or other small craft, starting at Lamey Brook. This provides a memorable way to access and experience the nature reserve.

A 22-hectare portion of the reserve was donated to the Province for protection by a private landowner in 2013. Another 230-hectare portion was contributed by Georgia-Pacific Canada to meet an environmental assessment condition related to the company’s gypsum mine in Melford; of this, the company transferred 139-hectare parcel to the Province in 2016, and consented to the designation of another 91 hectares in 2018.

A power line corridor which passes through one of the reserve parcels near Queensville is not within the reserve.