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


Protected Areas


Trout Brook Wilderness Area

painting by Alice ReedTrout Brook Wilderness Area protects old deciduous-dominated forest in the Trout Brook canyon complex, and a unique yellow birch-balsam fir forest on the Keppoch plateau, overlooking the southern reaches of Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia's largest natural freshwater lake.

The mixed yellow birch- balsam fir plateau forest is transitional between the hardwood-dominated lowlands, and the balsam fir forest of the higher elevation Cape Breton Boreal Plateau natural landscape, to the north. Yellow birch forms the canopy, with an understory of balsam fir. The age of yellow birch varies greatly, ranging up to 130 to 170 years of age, while the balsam fir component is even-aged and younger. Stands of old black spruce and balsam fir occur in adjacent, poorly drained flats.

Parts of the Trout Brook canyon complex shelters old-growth sugar maple-yellow birch forest. Trout Brook is also a designated trout sanctuary which provides cool water conditions critical to the Lake Ainslie / Margaree River trout populations. The wilderness area protects much of the lower part of this watershed.

The old forest conditions of Trout Brook Wilderness Area provide habitat for American marten, an elusive and endangered species that finds sanctuary in relatively undisturbed, older forests.

Trout Brook Wilderness Area was established in 1998, and expanded by almost 200 hectares in 2015. The wilderness area now extends to Highway 395 at Trout Brook, and to the adjacent Humes River Wilderness Area at a major forest access road near Lewis Mountain. These are the best locations to access the area for wilderness adventure, camping, hunting, wildlife viewing and other recreation. Currently, no managed trails exist here.

Together, Trout Brook Wilderness Area, Humes River Wilderness Area and Trout Brook Provincial Park form a protected natural corridor that extends from Bras d’Or Lake to Lake Ainslie across the Keppoch Plateau. This supports wide ranging wildlife species in the region, such as endangered Canada lynx and American marten, and provides unique opportunities for wilderness recreation and nature tourism.