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Hundreds of acres of St. Mary’s River land protected

Nova Scotia Nature Trust conserves three new tracts along storied stream

  • August 16 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

ST. MARY’S – The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is protecting 500 acres of land — including old growth forests and rare Acadian floodplains — in the vicinity of McKeens Brook pool, as the St. Mary’s River runs, north of Sherbrooke.

According to the Aug. 12 announcement, the three plots are home to endangered wildlife and will augment the 9,500 acres that are already protected by the Nature Trust, provincial parks, and other ecological set-asides along 52 kilometres of river frontage dubbed as “the ribbon of green.”

Said Nature Trust Executive Director Bonnie Sutherland in a news release: “We’re delighted to announce this new deal to save three more outstanding ecological gems on the St. Mary’s River. These 500 acres will preserve rare and significant old growth and Acadian floodplain forests, habitat for nationally endangered wildlife, and fantastic places for people to explore and enjoy the beloved wild river, [including] canoe access points, a walking trail through the forest at Crow’s Nest, and a provincially designated ‘barrier-free’ fishing site.”

The deal for the three properties, which is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks, involves “a community donation by the Oland family and collaboration with the Historic Sherbrooke Village Development Society,” she noted.

In 2006, the Nature Trust launched the St Mary’s River Conservation Legacy Campaign to protect private lands identified as top provincial conservation priorities. The long-term vision was to connect biodiversity hotspots by preserving a contiguous corridor of intact riparian habitat, essential to the long-term health of the river.

Earlier, on Aug. 3, the St. Mary’s River played host to a high-level delegation of provincial officials, as Guysborough-Tracadie

MLA and Minister of Agriculture Greg Morrow, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman, and Minister of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage Pat Dunn joined Scott Beaver and Milton Gallant, president and director, respectively, of the St. Mary’s River Association, for a mid-summer tour.

Said Beaver, in an email: “I had invited the ministers earlier this year with the intention of showcasing our habitat restoration, the rich biodiversity and the ribbon of green shaping up throughout the system. Highlights were a boat adventure around Glenelg Lake and a tour of our Bryden Brook Habitat restoration sites.”