One of the largest privately owned islands off Nova Scotia’s coast has been preserved.

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has purchased Borgle's Island on the Eastern Shore for $1.1 million.

Borgles Island is located about 80 kilometres east of Halifax and encompasses about 215 hectares of white sand beaches, and ancient boreal rain forests that have been virtually untouched for 10,000 years.

Developers had planned to build on the island and limit public access.

Bonnie Sutherland, executive director of the nature trust, said the would have been a loss.

“People didn't realize it was privately owned and that someone had plans to do a major development out there that would have meant the loss of this very, very unique place and that biodiversity but also would shut out public access,” she said.

Sutherland said it's irreplaceable with globally significant ecology and biodiversity. The island is home to more than 100 species of birds. Scientists have also discovered a lichen there that was previously thought to exist only in Europe.

“There is just incredible opportunities for learning, for school programs, for universities to do research — we're quite excited about that and certainly for wildlife of Borgle's Island it means that they have a safe refuge,” she said.

Funding to purchase the island came from a number of sources including private donors and the federal government.

View Borgles Island in a larger map