October 22 (Halifax)—The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has protected yet another significant conservation site on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, part of its ambitious campaign to protect one of North America’s last wild and ecologically rich coastal archipelagos—the 100 Wild Islands. The new conservation lands provide a significant, natural corridor connecting the 100 Wild Islands to a vast inland freshwater wilderness.

As part of its 18th Annual Dinner at the Cunard Centre in Halifax last night, the Nature Trust announced acquisition of the Tangier River Conservation Lands.  The 140 acre property near Pleasant Harbour, encompasses coastal shoreline overlooking the 100 Wild Islands, over a kilometre of shoreline on the Tangier River, and 2 kilometers on Tangier Lake, extensive forest, as well as saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands.

Beyond protecting significant freshwater habitats including extensive riparian habitat along the lake and river shores, perhaps its most unique value, is strategic.

Sutherland notes, “Our new Tangier River Conservation Lands protect a bit of everything, from lakes, rivers and wetlands to ocean shore.  Most exciting though, property is a natural corridor linking a vast 40,000 acre inland freshwater wilderness to the 100 Wild Islands.  It creates connectivity that is significant for nature and for people too.” 

The conservation lands extend from the Atlantic Ocean, along the western shores of the Tangier River and Tangier Lake, then connect to the 40,000 acre Tangier Grand Lake Wilderness Area.  The new protected area provides a natural corridor linking this interior Wilderness Area to the sea.  It also offers potential for a recreational link for hiking and paddling. There is currently no access to the Wilderness Area from the main eastern shore highway, other than a long drive on backroads and logging roads.  With much of the Eastern Shore in private ownership and highly fragmented, opportunities to create such connectivity and access are limited. The new conservation lands provide one of the only such opportunities along the entire shore.

The Nature Trust envisions a hiking trail on the property in the future, connecting for the first time, the 100 Wild Islands and this vast freshwater wilderness.

The 100 Wild Islands coastal wilderness, just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, truly is one of Canada’s least-known, yet greatest, natural treasures.  A vast, wild archipelago of beautiful, unspoiled coastal islands, it is home to pristine beaches and idyllic clear blue lagoons, dramatic headlands and cliffs, a paradise for wilderness paddlers and sailors. The archipelago includes 282 islands, encompassing over 7,000 acres of land and stretching over 30 kilometers along the coast. 

The Nature Trust has already succeeded in protecting many of the privately-owned islands in the archipelago, through a combination of conservation easements, land donations and purchase.  They also inspired the Province of Nova Scotia to protect the 4000 acres of Crown-owned islands, a milestone achieved this past June, with Wilderness Area designation of all the Crown islands.  In all, the Nature Trust has now brought more than 70% of the 100 Wild Islands into conservation, and anticipates that figure to reach 80% within a year.

Sutherland noted, “Compared to almost any other land trust campaign in the country, this is incredible progress.  What we’ve achieved so far would usually take ten years or more to complete.  Clearly the campaign is resonating strongly with island owners and they want to be a part of this island legacy story.”

Charitable donations can be made at 100wildislands.ca or by calling the Nature Trust (902) 425-LAND.  More information about the 100 Wild Islands and the Nature Trust can be found at 100wildislands.ca.  The 100 Wild Islands will also be featured in the upcoming issue (December 2015) of Canadian Geographic.

Photos: Scott Leslie

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