Update on Planning and Future Management – Fall-Winter 2015

Carters Beach is a site of ecological significance and also a desirable recreation destination. The Province is therefore seeking to balance protecting this sensitive site with the use of the beach. (Learn more about the ecology.)

What We heard –Information Sessions, Beach User Survey

In 2014, staff held two information sessions to discuss how to best manage the nature reserve in light of its sensitive ecology, the popular beach and the challenges of managing parking and waste.

Nova Scotia Environment also conducted a beach user survey to understand how people value the beach and use the area. The results were shared at a public information session in August 2014. Read the presentation

Emergency Parking Lot Improvement

In spring 2015, heavy rain and water damaged the parking lot. Nova Scotia Environment oversaw some emergency repair work to correct structural, drainage and safety concerns.

Roadside Parking Enforcement

In summer 2015, in response to what we heard through the public information session, staff contacted Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to ask for more “No Parking Signs” along Carters Beach Road. Enforcement agencies also increased the number of patrols to deter those parking illegally over the summer months. This measure was intended to help decrease congestion on the road, allow enough room for emergency vehicles to use the road and improve safety for residents and visitors.

Moving Forward – Future Management Actions

Carters Beach is a unique and spectacular place. We need to balance protecting this ecologically sensitive area with safe and enjoyable use. Nova Scotia Environment plans to do the following:

    Parking Lot and Traffic Flow Improvements
    Traffic flow in and out of the informal parking lot is unsafe during busy times. When parking is not available, there’s not enough room for vehicles to turn around safely. To improve the situation, the lot at the end of Carters Beach Road is being redesigned. “No Parking” signs will continue to be posted to help prevent safety issues from the road being blocked.

    Trail to Beach Improvements
    To reduce environmental damage and enhance access to the beach from the parking area, the trail to the beach will undergo resurfacing and the entrance will be clearly marked. Side trails across the dunes will be closed so that they can return to their natural state.

    This work will take place before the end of December 2015. During the work period, the parking lot and walking trail will be closed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

    New Interpretive Signs
    Improvements to the parking lot and beach trail include installing signs. At the head of the trail to the beach, a “welcome” sign will explain how to enjoy the site. A sign on the trail to the beach will describe the ecology of the area. A sign at the landing area on Spectacle Island will focus on island ecology and the historical significance of the lighthouse.

    All signage will be welcoming and also highlight responsible use. It will be installed during spring 2016.

    Trash Management
    Removing trash bins can reduce litter in public places by encouraging people to be responsible for any waste materials that they bring to the beach. The 2014 user survey overwhelmingly indicated that beach users are willing to take care of their own trash. To encourage this practice, there will be no trash cans or collection in the parking lot. The parking area and beach will be monitored to see if the amount of litter on the site grows or lessens.

    Washroom Facilities Onsite
    We understand that some beach users and others feel strongly that a washroom or outhouse should be installed. The Province shares the concern that without a washroom facility, people could degrade the dunes and the woods near the beach.

    Installing an outhouse may address some concerns. It could also increase congestion at the beach by encouraging longer visits and would require funding and human resources for construction and ongoing maintenance.

    Nova Scotia Environment is reviewing options related to installation of an outhouse, such as working with a community partner on ongoing management.

    Community Stewardship
    Nova Scotia Environment is committed to working with the municipality, local community and stewardship groups, such as the Spectacle Light Society regarding Carters Beach and Spectacle Island.

We will continue to communicate openly about managing Carters Beach and Spectacle Island and welcome feedback. If you have any questions, please contact Sally Steele, Nova Scotia Environment’s Western Region Protected Areas Coordinator, at

81 Logan Road
NS B4V 3T3
Phone: (902) 527-5368
Email: Sally.Steele@novascotia.ca