July 31, 2006

Companies, individuals donate land for new nature reserves in Nova Scotia

Land contributions by corporations and private individuals have resulted in the designation of four new nature reserves in Nova Scotia, as well as the expansion of a fifth, and an addition to a wilderness area. These latest nature reserve designations total 900 hectares, about double the size of McNab's Island, in Halifax harbour, and will enhance protection of the province's old-growth forests and wood turtles, as well as several species of rare plants.

Amendments made to Nova Scotia's Special Places Protection Act last spring helped make new land available for designation. The amendments reduced red tape and made it more attractive for private landowners to offer their land for protection. "These amendments are working," said Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent. "Our partnerships with land trusts, companies, private land owners and the Department of Natural Resources are achieving conservation goals that no single organization could achieve on its own."

Natural Resources Minister David Morse added, "The commercial and private partners who worked with us are to be congratulated for their contributions which will help preserve these precious natural resources." Among the contributions are the following.

Private citizens Henry Fuller and James O'Brien offered 67 hectares for the new Washabuck River Nature Reserve in Victoria County, and Jubilee Minerals voluntarily gave up its mineral exploration rights to land in this reserve. The property features a large natural forest and 2.6 km of undisturbed coastline on the Bras d'Or Lakes.

DDV Gold also relinquished its mineral exploration rights in the new reserve at Abraham Lake in Halifax Regional Municipality. The 400-hectare reserve is on land donated by Neenah Paper (formerly Scott Paper) to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The new reserve features an old-growth forest of mostly red spruce trees.

Stora Enso Port Hawkesbury owns 360 hectares being designated as the new River Inhabitants Nature Reserve in Inverness County. This reserve is home to wood turtles, a vulnerable species in the province, and to rare plants. It was already designated under the company's forest management plan as a protected area and was therefore excluded from any harvesting activity.

The new 57-hectare nature reserve at Roman Valley in Guysborough County. is on Crown land. This property features an old-growth forest which department records indicate has never been logged.

The Department of Environment and Labour is continuing to work with partners on a provincial green plan commitment to establish a comprehensive system of protected areas in the province. Close to 12,000 hectares of wilderness area and nature reserve lands have been designated since October 2004.

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