Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Protected Areas


Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area

photo Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area is a 1,782 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.

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 between Coxs Lake and 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 as many are currently poorly marked and not well routed in some cases. None of the hiking trails are currently actively managed. Some informal trails extend onto private land without permission of the landowners.

Several powerlines cross this wilderness area. Under a license with Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) can continue to maintain and operate these powerlines, subject to certain conditions.

A portion of the proposed Highway 113 corridor bisects the wilderness area near the Kingswood subdivision. 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 and another 15 ha was added next to Maskwa Aquatic Club, near Kearney Lake, in 2023.

Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area is part of a larger area being considered as a national urban park under Parks Canada’s national urban park program. The candidate Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes National Urban Park encompasses lands administered by Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT) and the Province of Nova Scotia. The project is a collaboration between these partners, with Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia. Interested stakeholders are also involved.