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Protected Areas

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Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area

photo Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area is a 1,767 hectare (ha) wilderness at the edge of urban Halifax, between Bayers Lake Business Park, Kingswood and Tantallon. It is about the size of Halifax Peninsula.

This wilderness area is part of a regional park which Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is working to establish by acquiring additional lands and working with partners like the province and Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

A mix of protected woodlands, barrens, lakes, watercourses and wetlands provides a refuge for wildlife amid an expanding and ecologically fragmented suburban and urban landscape.

These protected lands are also appealing for recreation in a wilderness setting. Examples include:

  • Waterways used for paddling and angling, notably a route along Nine Mile River, between Coxs Lake and The Mill Pond; and a major part of a loop that begins and ends at Birch Cove Lakes.
  • Snowshoeing, skating, hiking or skiing on well-frozen waterways when conditions are suitable.
  • A network of informal land-based trails used for hiking, portage, and other access.

Caution is advised when using any of these routes or trails. They are poorly marked and not well routed in some cases. None are actively managed. Some trails extend onto private land without permission of the landowners.

Nova Scotia Environment is collaborating with HRM, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, trail groups, Friends of Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes, and other partners to plan and manage the wilderness area and larger regional park, including trail and other recreation opportunities.

Several sections of power line right-of-way cross this wilderness area. Under a license with Nova Scotia Environment, Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) can continue to maintain and operate these power lines, subject to certain conditions.

A portion of the proposed Highway 113 corridor bisects the wilderness area near Kingswood. This is not included in the wilderness area.

Initially designated in 2009, an addition in 2015 expanded the wilderness area from 1,316 to 1,767 hectares.

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