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


Protected Areas


Kelley River Wilderness Area

Kelley River Kelley River Wilderness Area straddles the watersheds of Kelley River and Atkinson Brook, and includes wild sections of River Hebert, Halfway River and a tidal portion of Maccan River. At just over 21,000 hectares, Kelley River is one of the largest wilderness areas in Nova Scotia. It was designated in 2012, with the addition of several small parcels in 2015.

This is an area of extensive, mature and older forest. It provides habitat for species at risk - notably wood turtle, Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon and the endangered mainland moose.

The terrain includes hills and flats, but consists mostly of low ridges and imperfectly drained hummocks. Forests are diverse, with alder swamps and mixedwood hills found alongside red maple floodplains and expanses of black and red spruce. Old plantations scattered through the wilderness area are gradually reverting to natural forest types.

The wilderness area protects a large, representative portion of the Chignecto Ridged Plain natural landscape in northern mainland Nova Scotia.

The area is suitable for a wide variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, sport fishing, canoeing, camping, hiking and sight-seeing.

Part of the wilderness area overlaps with Chignecto Game Sanctuary. Hunting regulations for Chignecto Game Sanctuary are under the Wildlife Act, which is administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Only long-bow hunting is allowed within Chignecto Game Sanctuary; long-gun and cross-bow hunting, and trapping are prohibited. The Wildlife Act hunting regulations continue to apply on any portion of the wilderness area that overlaps with the sanctuary.

Certain, existing forest access roads which cut through the area are not part of the wilderness area, allowing on-going public vehicle access and connections between communities. Some additional routes within the wilderness area are managed under agreements with the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia (SANS) and All-terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS), allowing off-highway vehicle use by members of affiliated clubs and organizations.

The designation of Kelley River Wilderness Area in 2012 followed more than two years of review, public consultation, and consultation with the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq.

  • 2009-2012 Designation Process Documents