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


Protected Areas


Island Lake Wilderness Area

Island Lake Wilderness Area

Island Lake Wilderness Area is centred around Island Lake and extends north to Little Walsh Lake and south, across HW 103, to Ingramport. This wilderness area protects a large patch of conifer forest woodlands, lakes, wetlands and watercourses, including part of the lower Ingram River.

The wilderness area surrounds the existing 454 ha Old Annapolis Road Nature Reserve. To support management of existing hiking trails in the vicinity of Old Annapolis Road under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, a 20 ha portion of the existing nature reserve, between Old Annapolis Road and Island Lake, is included in the wilderness area. This portion is both wilderness area and nature reserve.

The wilderness area helps protect woodlands, wetlands, lakes and watercourses, and provides a high quality natural setting for outdoor recreation. It is used and enjoyed for sport fishing, canoeing, hunting, camping and other recreation. The area includes 13 campsite leases. Essential connecting off-highway vehicle trails may be designated for off-highway vehicle riding.

A highlight is the 211 hectare Island Lake. With its many islands, coves and surrounding hills, the lake is sheltered from winds and a popular destination for paddling, boating, angling and other outdoor recreation. The Island Lake area also offers opportunities for hiking. The Old Annapolis Road Hiking Trail was established and maintained by the former Bowater Mersey Paper Company. Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change will support continued use of the trail, parking area and nearby beach. The hiking trail follows parts of the shore of Rees Lake and northeast end of Island Lake and passes through older forest stands.

Through boundary design, the wilderness area avoids most forest access roads. Major existing lake access points continue to be available for use, including:

  • Access at western side of Island Lake
  • Access at the southern end of Island Lake
  • Old Annapolis Road to the access point at Rees Lake (provides access to Island Lake)
  • Access at the northwest end of Rafter Lake

Depending on interest and environmental considerations, Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change (ECC) is prepared to amend existing provincial trail management agreements with off-highway vehicle (OHV) organizations to allow continued OHV trail management and use of essential connecting routes through the wilderness area.

Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) maintains powerlines which pass through the northern and southern portions of the wilderness area. Under a license with Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, NSPI can continue to maintain and operate these powerlines, subject to certain conditions.