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


Protected Areas


Tidney River Wilderness Area

painting by Alice ReedAt more than 22,000 hectares, Tidney River Wilderness Area protects a large, representative portion of the Sable River Basin natural landscape, in Shelburne and Queens counties of southwestern Nova Scotia.

The generally flat, basin-like terrain encompasses long stretches of three major rivers – Tidney, Sable, and Broad – that drain to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the Tidney River watershed is within the wilderness area.

The rivers are fed by sluggish brooks that snake their way through dense black spruce, fir and tamarack forests; as well as red maple swales and large bogs. Eskers, moraines and low hummocks add variety; these are suitable for white pine, red oak or hemlock and spruce forest. A few larger hills are covered in oak and other hardwood forest.

Species sensitive to human disturbance, such as endangered mainland moose, can find refuge in this remote wilderness. Parts of the area provide the right forest and climatic conditions to support over a dozen species of rare lichen, including nationally endangered vole ears lichen and globally endangered boreal felt lichen.

The rivers of this wilderness area provide opportunities for canoeing and angling, far away from the nearest settlements or maintained roads. Other than Tidney Lake and a few lakes at the top of Broad River, these waterways are devoid of lakes, an oddity among Nova Scotia’s wilderness canoeing destinations. Due to their gentle gradient, the rivers run slow in most places, but include the occasional stretch of faster water. Canoeing and camping are best attempted during seasonal high water periods. Portages are not maintained.

Tidney River Wilderness Area was designated in 1998 and expanded in 2012. In 2015, additional lands were added at Misery Brook, upper Sable and Broad River, and at the head of West Brook.

A large Crown land inholding northeast of Tidney Lake is protected by a “forever wild” conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.