White Lake Wilderness Area protects a rugged, boulder and lake-strewn wilderness atop granite uplands, just north of Musquodoboit Harbour, in Halifax Regional Municipality. It was expanded to more than 5,000 hectares in 2015, with the addition of lowlands along the lower Musquodoboit River.
The 350 million year old bedrock of the uplands forms rough, parallel ridges and knobs, which rise above and define the character of more than 20 interconnected lakes. Thick conifer forests occur between the lakes and ridges where soil has managed to accumulate. Nearby inlets of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen from some of the higher, exposed ridges.
In striking contrast, the lowland areas along the Musquodoboit River protect productive forests and wetlands, and wide river floodplain. This includes over four kilometres of frontage on Musquodoboit River, where it gently meanders through a wide chasm bounded by steep forested slopes. Musquodoboit River is one of the Eastern Shore’s best remaining Atlantic salmon rivers, and is also important for brook trout.
Both Musquodoboit River and the interconnected lakes of the adjacent uplands are enjoyed by anglers and canoe trippers. The scattering of small lakes throughout the uplands allows for multiple looped routes, using primitive portages. Paddling trips through the upland lakes can be extended by continuing into the adjacent Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area where several routes extend to the Atlantic coast. None of the portages are currently formally managed.
A hiking trail system managed by Musquodoboit Trailways Association is a great way to experience some of the wilderness area on foot. Located near Musquodoboit Harbour, the entire backcountry trail portion of this system extends from Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, north, through the adjacent White Lake Wilderness Area. It is accessible from multiple locations off an abandoned railway corridor that is now part of the Trans Canada Trail.
White Lake Wilderness Area, together with the adjacent Ship Harbour Long Lake and Tangier Grand Lake wilderness areas, forms an assemblage of protected lands larger than Kejimkujik National Park, with three times as many lakes.