Stehelin property, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Stehelin property, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Stehelin property

Stehelin property, NS (Photo by NCC)

Stehelin property, NS (Photo by NCC)

The Long Tusket Lake area of Nova Scotia has a unique human history. In the mid-1800s, the area was the site of the settlement of New France, or "Electric City" – so named because of the lighted streets and houses made possible by an in-stream water-based power plant. Lights were a rare sight in those days, particularly in the backwoods of Digby County.

To this area came the Stehelin family, which emigrated from France during the Franco-Prussian War. Over the course of several years, the Stehelin family established a successful timber enterprise on the banks of Langford Lake, just south of the donated lands.  

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Nova Scotia recently announced that it had received a generous gift of land in the Long Tusket Lake area. It is NCC’s second significant conservation project in Digby County in 2013-2014.

Ecological significance

The 370-acre (150-hectare) property contains an old-growth forest of the Maritime mixed forest type, wetland suitable for waterfowl nesting and close to two kilometres of lakeshore. Old-growth forests are rare in Nova Scotia and offer significant habitat for wildlife. The towering stands of red spruce, balsam fir, yellow birch and red maple found here host uncommon and at-risk birds, including Canada warbler, chimney swift and nighthawk. Nova Scotia’s endangered mainland moose is occasionally seen in the region.

These lands build on a previous acquisition of 5,077 acres (2,055 hectares) of forest and wetland habitat in the immediate vicinity by NCC. Located in the Upper Tusket Watershed, the property is also upstream of globally significant plant communities.

A natural partnership

In addition to the generous land donors Paul Stehelin and Ann Poirier, who are leaving a legacy gift, the Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to acknowledge funding support from the TD Bank Group through its TD Forests program. TD’s five-year contribution is the largest corporate commitment to NCC in the conservation organization’s more than 50-year history. With support from the TD Forests program, NCC will increase the amount of forested lands protected and cared for across Canada.

NCC also thanks other generous project contributors, including the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

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