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CPAWS welcomes protection of Chignecto in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it has officially protected the magnificent forests of Chignecto with the creation of two new protected wilderness areas.

Kelley River Wilderness Area will protect the large intact forests of Chignecto, while Raven Head Wilderness Area will protect a long stretch of wild Bay of Fundy coastline over 40 kilometres in length.  Together, approximately 25,000 hectares of wilderness is now protected at Chignecto.

“This is one of the last big wilderness areas remaining in Nova Scotia”, says Chris Miller, National Conservation Biologist for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, based in Nova Scotia. “Hats off to the Nova Scotia government for protecting the forests of Chignecto and following through on its commitment to establish these two protected areas”.

Chignecto is located in northern Nova Scotia between the Cobequid Mountains and the Bay of Fundy, near Joggins, Parrsboro, and Advocate.  It includes public lands within, and adjacent to, the Chignecto Game Sanctuary.

The Kelley River Wilderness Area will be the largest new protected area established in Nova Scotia in over a decade, and will become the third largest provincial protected area in the province.

“Nova Scotia is emerging as a national leader for the creation of new protected areas,” says Miller.  “This is exactly the approach that the government should be taking to protect our natural areas, focusing conservation efforts on the largest and most ecologically-significant sites”.

The new protected areas at Chignecto contain vast swaths of intact forests, entire watersheds, significant rivers and coastal wetlands, old-growth forest, and species-at-risk habitat for the endangered mainland moose and wood turtle.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has worked collaboratively with the local grassroots conservation organization, Cumberland Wilderness, to protect Chignecto.

“The hard working folks at Cumberland Wilderness are the reason why Chignecto is being protected,” says Miller. “They had a dream and a vision to protect these lands and have worked tirelessly over the years to make that a reality.   They are true conservation leaders in Nova Scotia and we congratulate them on their hard fought campaign to protect Chignecto”.

The Nova Scotia government first committed to establishing a “large” protected area at Chignecto in 2009 and since that time has undertaken several rounds of public and stakeholder consultations.  A candidate protected area boundary for the two wilderness areas was released in 2011.  With today’s announcement, the designation process is now complete and the protected areas are now officially established.

Protected wilderness areas prohibit industrial disturbances, such as clearcuts, open-pit mines, new roads, and mineral exploration, while allowing for a wide range of public uses for outdoor recreation and enjoyment.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has undertaken extensive field research at Chignecto, documenting and mapping the ecological values of the wilderness.  We’ve covered Chignecto from Apple Head to Kelley River to Forty Puzzle Lake to Maccan River to Bucktagen Barrens to Sand River to Welton Lake, and beyond.

“It’s a great thing that Chignecto will be protected,” says Miller.  “Anybody who’s taken the time to hike up the Kelley River and appreciate the shear size and ecological significance of this place can’t help but be impressed.”

High-resolution photographs of Chignecto available.

Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Conservation Biologist
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Halifax, Nova Scotia