Moose Lake Nature Reserve, Nova Scotia (Photo by Doug van Hemessen/NCC Staff)

Moose Lake Nature Reserve, Nova Scotia (Photo by Doug van Hemessen/NCC Staff)

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects crucial habitat for endangered mainland moose and several species at risk

August 16, 2022
Shelburne County, Nova Scotia


Mature forest adjacent to three lakes, freshwater wetlands and island are now conserved

There is good news for Nova Scotia’s embattled and endangered mainland moose. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is today announcing a new nature reserve in southwestern Nova Scotia. The not-for-profit organization has purchased 296 hectares of intact forest, freshwater wetlands, the shorelines of three lakes and Armstrong’s Island.

NCC’s Moose Lake Nature Reserve is the second reserve located on lands surrounded by the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, which provides vital habitat for Nova Scotia’s endangered mainland moose. The mixed forest includes white pine, red spruce, black spruce and red maple, characteristic of the original Wabanaki (Acadian) forest of the Maritimes. The forest contains several types of rare lichens and supports a variety of birds, including olive-sided flycatcher (threatened), chimney swift (threatened) and eastern wood-pewee (special concern), all of which are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

The remote location includes 296 hectares of predominantly conifer forest, seven hectares of freshwater wetlands and eight kilometres of shoreline along Moose Lake, Skudiak Lake and Blufhill Lake, all part of the Upper Roseway River System. Round-leaved greenbrier, an edible crawling vine leaf, grows on the lakeshores and is considered a vulnerable species. The lakes provide a sustainable and healthy habitat for mallards, American black duck, wood duck, ring-necked duck and other migratory waterfowl. Turtle species living and thriving in these freshwater lakes, bogs and swamps include eastern painted turtle (special concern), which is listed under the federal Species at Risk Act.

The important land conservation project was made possible thanks to the generosity of private donors. The project was funded in part by the American Friends of Canadian Nature, the Government of Canada's Target 1 Challenge Fund administered by the Government of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

This announcement highlights how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than 1 million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.


“Biodiversity loss and climate change are twin global crises and are intrinsically connected. Creating this nature reserve in Southwestern Nova Scotia will help us with our goals to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in Canada. It is by working with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and projects like this one that we are making progress toward our goal of protecting a quarter of lands and a quarter of oceans in Canada by 2025 and working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“By protecting more of Nova Scotia’s land and water, we are helping to ensure that our environment is healthy, our economy is strong, and our people have a sustainable future. Protected areas provide essential habitats for wildlife and places for Nova Scotians to connect with nature, which benefits our health and wellbeing. I want to thank the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the donors, for this achievement. Not only will this new protected area benefit the mainland moose, but it will also improve quality of life for Nova Scotians, help protect biodiversity, and is part of our collective response to climate change. The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s leadership, vision, and commitment to land conservation is an inspiration, and I look forward to seeing what collectively we can achieve next as we work toward Nova Scotia’s legislated goal of protecting 20 per cent of our land and water by 2030.” – The Honourable Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"My family has spent a lifetime canoeing in the 120,000-hectare Tobeatic Wilderness Area. It is the single largest protected area in the Maritimes, offering protection for many endangered species and forest. A magical place indeed. Recently, we supported NCC’s campaign to purchase 296 hectares of private land located inside the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, thereby closing a gap in the protected area. Campaigns such as this are vital to Nova Scotia’s conservation efforts, and NCC is usually at the forefront on any campaign.” – Rod Burgar, private donor

“Thanks to our donors and supporters, we are pleased for the opportunity to add to this important conservation area in Southwest Nova Scotia. Protecting this important inholding within the Tobeatic Wilderness Area is a big win for conservation in Nova Scotia. – Jaimee Dupont Morozoff, NCC Program Director in Nova Scotia 


  • The six parcels (296 hectares) of land are 10 kilometres northeast of NCC’s Upper Ohio property (1,080 hectares), which was announced in February 2022.
  • NCC’s Moose Lake Nature Reserve is located on lands surrounded by the Maritimes’ largest protected natural area, the Tobeatic Wilderness Area (120,000 hectares). Other protected lands in southwestern Nova Scotia include Shelburne River Wilderness Area and Kejimkujik National Park, making up the core of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, one of only 18 UNESCO designated biosphere reserves in Canada.
  • The Nova Scotia mainland moose population is estimated at between 500 and 1,000 animals or fewer based on provincial aerial and ground surveys. Habitat conservation projects like this help provide moose with food, shelter, security and connectivity. Moose sightings should be reported to NCC and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Valuable information about location, habitat and health can be gained from sighting reports.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought people together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. In Atlantic Provinces, NCC has protected 35,970 hectares.

In Nova Scotia, the Government of Canada’s Target 1 Challenge funding flows through the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change to conservation organizations and other partners to protect natural areas in the province. The partners include the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, Sespite'tmnej Kmitkinu Conservancy, Eskasoni Fish and Wildlife Commission, Town of Amherst and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland. The province can also use this federal funding for its land protection work.

The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust is a fund established by the Province of Nova Scotia to support efforts of private land trusts, such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to protect ecologically significant sites on private land. The Land Legacy Trust is administered at arm’s length from government by three independent trustees.

Learn more

To learn more about NCC’s work in Nova Scotia and how to contribute, visit https://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/nova-scotia/

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