The Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased four properties along a narrow land bridge that connects New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to protect what it calls an important wilderness corridor.
The private, non-profit group spent about $610,000 to purchase the properties, located along the Chignecto Isthmus, including survey work, legal expenses and other costs.
"It's important that we keep the forest and the landscape in this area connected so that wildlife can move freely back and forth between the two provinces," said Paula Noel, the group's program manager for New Brunswick.
The properties, totalling 742 acres, are considered critical for maintaining connectivity across the Northern Appalachia-Acadian Eco-region.
'We certainly welcome people to continue using them as they always have — hiking or nature appreciation.' —Paula Noel, Nature Conservancy of Canada
Three of them are located near Halls Hill, N.B., while the fourth is northeast of Amherst, N.S.
The Chignecto Isthmus land bridge is the only route for terrestrial wildlife to move in and out of Nova Scotia, Noel said.
The area also features an extensive system of swamps, lakes, marshes and bogs.
"We've done a lot of work on the science planning part of it, identifying these sort of strategic properties within the landscape that would be important to create as nature preserves," said Noel.
"And also talked with partners and other organizations, government groups, etc., about smart land use planning and management."
The conservation project was in the works for about three years and involved the Open Space Institute, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and the Government of Canada, she said.
Although the area is now set aside for wildlife, such as moose and Canada lynx, the space is still there to be enjoyed by people, stressed Noel.
"We certainly welcome people to continue using them as they always have — hiking or nature appreciation," she said.
"People are welcome onto our preserves, providing that the use that they're doing doesn't damage the natural values that are there."