They were flanked by approving environmentalists, including Martin Willison, president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “This is a massive step forward for Nova Scotia,” Willison says.
The plan calls for the protection of 13.7 percent of Nova Scotia, up from the 9.3 percent that’s currently protected. The goal outlined in 2007 legislation called for 12 percent of the province to be protected by 2015. The new plan would also create four new provincial parks.
It includes more than 32,000 hectares of newly protected lands---more than 60 properties---in the HRM.
A few highlights are a 465-hectare expansion of Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes, a new 600-hectare nature reserve around the Sackville River, a 1,148-hectare expansion of the Ship Harbour Long Lake wilderness area, a 747-hectare expansion of the Cole Harbour-Lawrencetown provincial park and a 485-hectare expansion of McNabs & Lawlor Island provincial park.
Province-wide, 224 new properties would be protected, covering more than 245,000 hectares of land, including 44 new wilderness areas and 120 new nature reserves. Another 12 provincial parks would be expanded by 4,000 hectares, 33 wilderness areas will be expanded by 72,000 hectares and 10 nature reserves will be expanded by 4,300 hectares.
The plan also proposes “more than doubling the amount of protected coastline from 557 to 1,261 kilometres.”
In all, that would leave a Nova Scotia with 187 provincial parks, 84 wilderness areas and 142 nature reserves.
Policy wonks at the Department of Natural Resources have set up a mapping device so you can see all the proposed areas at novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas.
The Halifax public consultation session will be held April 9 at Pier 21. The deadline for written comments is May 1.