Nova Scotia

N.S. man donates parcel of land to mark 50 years since immigrating to Canada

A Nova Scotia man donated a 25-hectare parcel of land to the province to mark the 50th anniversary of his family moving to Canada from Czechoslovakia.

'I thought it should be public. And now it is, so I'm a happy camper,' says Dusan Soudek

Dusan Soudek bought the Eastern Shore property for about $40,000 in 2014, before deciding to donate it to the province four years later. (Submitted by Heather Leslie)

It's not your average gift.

Dusan Soudek gave the province of Nova Scotia a 25-hectare parcel of land near Head of Jeddore on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore.

Soudek, who has had a lifelong interest in nature and wilderness, saw the property for sale online a few years ago.

"I was kind of afraid that somebody would buy it and build a house there and there'd be no longer public access," he said.

So he bought it. He had no plans for it, other than to visit once in a while and maybe go camping.

This outlet of Salmon River Lake is part of the property Soudek bought in 2014. (Submitted by Dusan Soudek)

His kids had been there a few times too, but he said there was no "big family attachment" to the property.

He wanted other Nova Scotians to be able to enjoy the property too, to fish, portage, canoe, and camp. He thought it should be part of the Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, a nearby nature preserve on the Eastern Shore.

In 2018, he decided to give it to the province to mark the 50th anniversary of when his family immigrated to Canada after fleeing Czechoslovakia during the invasion of 1968.

Soudek was worried someone would buy the land and build on it, so he bought it himself. (Submitted by Heather Leslie)

"It's a small gift. 25 hectares, you know, it's not that much, but it's a nice area, and now people can visit," he said.

It was a long process, with lots of emails back and forth between Soudek and the Department of Lands and Forestry as well as the Department of Environment, which manages the wilderness areas.

Soudek said one of the biggest roadblocks was to do with the budget — he was told the value of any donated land would be deducted from the Department of Environment's budget.

"They would be land rich but money poor, so they're not that happy to do that," he said.

It was officially added to the province's list of protected areas, as an extension of the Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, in October.

"So we missed the 50th anniversary by about two and a half years, but that's OK," he said.

Soudek said he thought the land should be part of the surrounding Ship Harbour Long Lake wilderness area that's part of the province's list of protected areas. It was officially added to the list this year. (Submitted by Dusan Soudek)

Soudek said he considered donating it to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, of which he is a member, but landed on the province because it ultimately owns and protects the land surrounding the property.

"I thought it should be public. And now it is, so I'm a happy camper," he said.

Soudek said he hopes his donation might inspire other Nova Scotia nature lovers to donate coastal or waterfront land to the province, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, or the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

No one from the province was immediately available for comment.

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