KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) -- Get out your snowshoes and cross-country skies, yank on the long johns and fill a thermos with something hot, because Nova Scotia's protected wilderness areas just got a major acreage bump from the provincial government. A December 29, 2015, announcement by the provincial department of the Environment notes that over 100 properties, totalling over 126,000 hectares of land, have newly been designated as Wilderness areas, nature reserves and provincial parks. A tantalizing description of the freshly-protected properties, enough to make you plan your next 'stay in the province' experience, can be found here, while an interactive map of protected areas in the province can be found here.
These new, additional, protected, designations bring Nova Scotia in line with subsection (v) of the 2007 'Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act', which mandates that “at least 12 percent of the landmass of the province is legally protected by 2015.”
Of course, other subsections of the 'Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act', targets related to greenhouse gas emissions, local food sovereignty and consumption and waste reduction, for example, still loom large on the horizon. But now's not the time for that.
Now's the time to celebrate the difficult and often unrewarding work of lobbying successive provincial governments to make good on at least this subsection – difficult work undertaken by determined folks, such as those at the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre. Without them and other such like-minded and devoted individuals, the rest of us might not even have 12 percent of the province left the way it is, theoretically in perpetuity.
“What a terrific way to start the New Year and what a tremendous gift to present and future generations of Nova Scotians” notes the Ecology Action Centre’s Wilderness Coordinator Raymond Plourde in a press release. “With this announcement some of the most beautiful and ecologically important natural areas remaining in Nova Scotia will be legally protected from development and left forever wild.”