Halifax community donors help propel $8-million wilderness park project
Charitable land trust seeking final $375,000 to open Halifax Wilderness Park
The planned 379-acre (153-hectare) Halifax Wilderness Park, a partnership between the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is making progress toward opening later this year thanks to donations from the community, including donations from Fred and Elizabeth Fountain and the Bragg Family Foundation.
Fred and Elizabeth Fountain have committed $100,000 to the park project and the Bragg Family Foundation has committed $50,000. Along with these and other contributions, the $8-million conservation project is now within 95 per cent of its funding goal. The remainder is the responsibility of NCC, a charitable land trust, to raise in the community.
“On behalf of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, I would like to thank our donors, especially the Fountain and Bragg families, for their outstanding support for our Halifax Wilderness Park project,” said Craig Smith, NCC’s Nova Scotia program director. “We launched our Keep Halifax Wild campaign last fall and are encouraged that so many people are helping to protect this unique Nova Scotian landscape. Although we’ve made significant progress, we are not done. NCC still needs the support of the community to complete our campaign and raise the last $375,000 required to unlock access to matching government funding. This is an opportunity to help conserve a beautiful natural area for wildlife, and for people, in the heart of the city.”
Spearheaded by NCC, and in partnership with HRM, Shaw Group Ltd, Williams Lake Conservation Company, and the local community, the Halifax Wilderness Park project will conserve forest, wetlands and a rare type of barrens landscape. The future park will be twice the size of Point Pleasant Park and provide habitat for more than 40 species of birds. It will protect a rare jack pine-broom crowberry barrens ecosystem while providing access to trails and nature-based recreation opportunities just five kilometres from downtown Halifax.
More than 200 families and individuals have already supported NCC’s campaign, led by long-time supporters like Fred and Elizabeth Fountain. The Fountains say they are especially pleased to support the Halifax Wilderness Park project because they know and love the Williams Lake area.
“This is a rare opportunity and a project to be promoted and celebrated by everyone,” said Fred Fountain. “There is a great need for nature conservation, and this conservation project will help and please many, many people.”
The Bragg family echoes that sentiment, saying that they are supporting the wilderness park because it’s a good fit for their values. “Our family values our Nova Scotian rural roots and connecting to nature. We hope more people can enjoy that connection. That’s why we are delighted to contribute to this worthwhile project to conserve some of the last wilderness remaining in Halifax,” said Lee Bragg, spokesperson for the Bragg Family Foundation.
NCC has received donations, big and small, from community groups and individuals excited about the idea of an urban wilderness park. From a chamber music trio to the Williams Lake Conservation Company, donations have been growing.
“Our donors are creating a legacy in HRM by contributing to the creation of the Halifax Wilderness Park, and we are very grateful for their support,” said Faith Flemming, NCC’s director of development. “We invite all Nova Scotian businesses and citizens who care about nature to contact us to find out how to contribute to this important conservation project and have a lasting impact on our city. Every donation made this summer will help this project get across the finish line.”
While fundraising continues, construction has begun on Purcell’s Cove Road for a small parking lot and access point to the future park. The access point will lead to Williams Lake and link to the network of rugged trails within the park.
Tax deductible donations for the Halifax Wilderness Park can be made online or by calling NCC’s Halifax office at 1-902-405-4334.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected more than 36,000 acres (14,500 hectares) of ecologically significant land in Nova Scotia. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
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