Nova Scotia

N.S. adds two big protected wilderness areas

Nova Scotia is setting aside thousands of acres of wilderness to preserve for future generations.

Raven Head and Kelly River bought for $9M

Raven Head is one of the longest protected coastlines on the eastern seaboard. (N.S. government handout)

Nova Scotia is setting aside thousands of acres of wilderness to preserve for future generations.

The Raven Head and Kelly River wilderness areas, both in Cumberland County, are some of the province's last great wildernesses. Kelly River contains 50,000 acres and most of the Chignecto Game Sanctuary and Raven Head has 36 kilometres of pristine coastline.

Peter Labor of Nova Scotia's Department of Protected Areas said it was a great deal for the province.

"We have an exceptional opportunity here for the region and the province to enhance tourism, to give people an opportunity to get out enjoy and forest and rivers, and that's special about these areas," he said Wednesday.

Raven Head and Kelly River will become protected areas this fall.

The province paid Wagner Forest Company $9 million for the land. The small logging operations underway will end this fall.

After that, it will be off limits for commercial or forestry development. Instead, it will be set aside for camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.

The purchases bring Nova Scotia 75 per cent of the way toward its goal of setting aside 12 per cent of the province for public use.

'Extraordinary day for conservation'

Writer Harry Thurston was part of a local lobbying effort to preserve the lands.

"The government had to make a deal because the land was so important," he said.

He said the Raven Head shore was an especially important addition to the protected areas.

"I don't think there is a stretch of coastline that large in eastern North America that is being protected. This is just extraordinary day for conservation," he said.

Wednesday's announcement marks the largest addition to the protected area system in 14 years.