Nearly 160 acres of land along the Salmonier Line on Newfoundland and Labrador's Avalon Peninsula are now protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The land is located near the community of Mount Carmel-Mitchells Brook-St. Catherines, and is not far from the Avalon Wilderness Reserve.

The acquisition, which includes the land purchase from the private owner, surveys, appraisals and a stewardship fund for future work, will cost the conservancy $740,000, said Megan Lafferty, acting program director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

"It's one of the last untouched forests of the Avalon Peninsula," said Lafferty, adding that the ground is home to rare lichens that — among other things — help indicate the overall health of the local ecosystem. 

"It is also a buffer for the river itself and provides a buffer for important caribou grounds further up." 

The federal government, TD Bank, Bishops College and donations from individuals helped make it possible.

The protected area was unveiled during a news conference at the Fluvarium in St. John's on Tuesday.

It features rare lichen, caribou and one of the last untouched forests on the Avalon Peninsula, said Lafferty.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is now raising money to protect adjacent lands in the area.