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


Protected Areas


Middle River Wilderness Area

painting by Alice ReedMiddle River Wilderness Area protects a striking mix of highland plateau and deep ravines in the headwaters of Middle River, between Baddeck and Margaree. More than 660 hectares of steep slopes overlooking Lake O’Law was added in 2019, extending the wilderness area to the Cabot Trail and into the Margaree River watershed.

The ravines, slopes and plateau support a mostly deciduous forest, with expanses of older forest throughout. The slopes near Lake O’Law incorporate most of the Lake O’Law IBP (International Biological Programme) site, identified by scientists in the early 1970s as an excellent example of old shade-tolerant hardwood forest growing in a steeply sloping ravine. Small patches of sugar maple floodplain also occur near Lake O’Law, and wetlands occupy small portions of the plateau. Other highlights include talus-covered slopes, faults, winding valleys with cove and spur features, river terraces and floodplains, and some of the oldest rocks in the province.

The wilderness area provides habitat for many species, including spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon and other aquatic species.

The 2-hectare Lake O’Law Provincial Park provides scenic views of hardwood slopes of the wilderness area from the Cabot Trail. For the more adventurous, the area can be accessed from either the lowlands or plateau for trekking, camping and other adventure. No managed trails exist here, and the forested and steep terrain can be very challenging. There is good potential to develop hiking or other trails, with trail head access off the Cabot Trail.