Moose, MB (Photo by Yaremchuk)

Moose, MB (Photo by Yaremchuk)

Nature Conservancy of Canada and Cumberland Wilderness applaud Province for expanding Chignecto Isthmus and other Nova Scotia wilderness areas

March 23, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Cumberland Wilderness congratulate the Nova Scotia government for its decision to expand the province’s protected wilderness areas by more than 6,880 hectares (more than 17,000 acres) at 15 different sites. The newly-designated protected areas include a 2,752-hectare (6,800-acre) expansion of the Chignecto Isthmus Wilderness Area, which is of special interest to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Cumberland Wilderness because of its critical importance to many species, in particular the endangered mainland moose. 

The conserved land was identified through the provincial Parks and Protected Areas Plan by a wide variety of stakeholders, including NCC and Cumberland Wilderness. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected an additional 1,214 hectares (3,000 acres) nearby, along the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border, as part of an ongoing effort to secure a permanent wilderness corridor for wildlife, including Nova Scotia’s mainland moose.

The narrow Chignecto Isthmus provides the only land-based ecological connection between Nova Scotia and the rest of North America, making it a vital link between larger wildlife populations in eastern Canada and the more isolated populations in Nova Scotia. The Chignecto Isthmus supports a group of Nova Scotia’s endangered mainland moose, which number only 500-1,000 in the entire province. The Isthmus also supports rare plants, contains one of the largest freshwater wetland complexes in the province and is an important seasonal stopping area for migratory birds.

“The conservation of these lands on the Chignecto Isthmus by the provincial government is an important step in securing a wilderness corridor for wildlife, and preventing Nova Scotia from becoming an ecological island,” said Craig Smith, Nova Scotia program director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “By protecting intact habitat at this critical spot, we are protecting the ability of wildlife, such as moose and lynx, to migrate into the province. We at NCC congratulate the Government on its decision to conserve more wilderness in this unique area, and NCC looks forward to making additional contributions as well.” 

“From a conservation standpoint, the Chignecto Isthmus is the most important place in Nova Scotia because it’s the only gateway for terrestrial species, both plants and animals, to enter the province — and is therefore critical to the health of all wildlife in Nova Scotia,” said Ron Patterson, Chair of Cumberland Wilderness. “We are grateful to our members and partners who have been working to see these forests and wetlands conserved and to our MLA Terry Farrell and the current government for carrying through on its commitment to Nova Scotians to protect this valuable wilderness.”

Both Cumberland Wilderness and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have been working for many years to conserve land on the Chignecto Isthmus. The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s tongue-in-cheek “Moose Sex Project” has conserved 1,214 hectares (3,000 acres) of wilderness near the border, aimed at enabling moose from New Brunswick’s larger population to migrate into Nova Scotia. Members of Cumberland Wilderness helped conserve 25,091 hectares (62,000 acres) at the Raven Head and Kelley River Wilderness Areas near Joggins, another key area for mainland moose.

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 28,733 hectares (more than 71,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces. For more information, visit

Cumberland Wilderness Society was incorporated in 2009. Its mission is: “To do what it takes to have wilderness areas in Cumberland County designated under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act of Nova Scotia.”

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Media Contact:

Kathryn Morse
Director of Communications - Atlantic Provinces

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