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Protected Areas

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Medway Lakes Wilderness Area

Medway Lakes Wilderness Area As one of Nova Scotia’s largest wilderness areas, Medway Lakes Wilderness Area is significant for both nature conservation and wilderness recreation.

This area protects a mix of hardwood and mixed forest hills, conifer flats, wetlands, and numerous lakes and waterways. The size of this wilderness areas helps sustain wildlife that is sensitive to disturbance and forest fragmentation. The diverse and quality habitats support many species at risk, including blandings turtle, snapping turtle, american marten, mainland moose, and several bird species. Impressive stands of old sugar maple, yellow birch, white pine, and hemlock are scattered throughout. Some other parts of the wilderness area were harvested in past decades.

By protecting the headwaters of the Medway and Mersey rivers, this wilderness area helps protect water quality for people and aquatic life in two of western Nova Scotia’s largest watersheds. Interconnected and remote lakes, rivers, and streams provide a refuge for native brook trout, which are in significant decline in southwestern Nova Scotia. The Medway River also retains a remnant Atlantic salmon population. In recent years, community groups have reintroduced salmon here.

This wilderness area provides good representation of the Fisher Lake Drumlins natural landscape in the provincial protected areas network, and improves representation of the South Mountain Rolling Plain natural landscape.

Its proximity to other protected areas supports wildlife movement and ecosystem connectivity across the landscape.

West Branch River Nature Reserve, which was designated as nature reserve in 2008, is now also within Medway Lakes Wilderness Area.

This wilderness area offers quality opportunities for recreation and nature tourism in a wilderness setting, such as canoeing, camping, angling, hunting, hiking, cross country skiing and nature education. A variety of canoe routes range from short paddles on individual lakes to challenging white-water conditions or a multi-day traverse of the entire area. Canoe route maps are available from the Municipality of Annapolis. The Province will work with interested partners to develop and promote wilderness recreation opportunities, such as trails and canoe loops.

The 1.4 km Four Mile Stillwater Trail provides access to a beautiful section of the Mersey River within Medway Lakes Wilderness Area, just off Highway #8. This hiking trail is managed by Medway Community Forest Cooperative under an agreement with Nova Scotia Environment.

Other trails are designated for snowmobile use (12 km) and all-terrain vehicle and bicycle use (11 km). These trails are managed by the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia (SANS) and All-terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS) under agreements with Nova Scotia Environment. Bicycle use is permitted on the trails managed by ATVANS.

Several forest access roads provide additional vehicle access. The West Branch Road pass through the wilderness area in a north-south direction. This road is not part of the wilderness area, allowing vehicle access. East Branch Road follows the eastern boundary of the wilderness area and also remains open for vehicle use. A forest access road that bisects the wilderness area near Eleven Mile Lake supports forestry access in the region as needed, with limitations on public vehicle access.

Several campsite leases are located within the wilderness area.