Halifax Wilderness Park one step closer after HRM council vote

News release
Halifax Wilderness Park one step closer after HRM council vote
Nature Conservancy of Canada’s applauds conservation easement approval
Halifax, NS (July 18, 2018) – The planned Halifax Wilderness Park is one step closer after Halifax regional councillors unanimously approved the sale of a conservation easement to Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) last night.  The conservation easement is a legal agreement between HRM and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), and its approval guarantees the 379-acre park will be permanently protected as wilderness, in return for a financial contribution from NCC toward the $8 million project. This approval marks the final hurdle for NCC at city council.
The Halifax Wilderness Park is an innovative project which will combine conservation and recreation. Spearheaded by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, in partnership with HRM and the land owner Shaw Group Ltd, the park will conserve forest around Williams Lake and Colpitts Lake, near the Purcell’s Cove Backlands. The future park will be twice the size of Point Pleasant Park, and will protect wildlife habitat and a special local landscape, while providing a wilderness experience close to downtown Halifax. Pending a successful fundraising campaign by NCC, the Halifax Wilderness Park will open in the summer of 2019.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada would like to thank Mayor Savage and HRM council for their support for this project, as well as HRM staff, who have been working with us for the past two years to move the Halifax Wilderness Park project forward to this stage,” says Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“NCC would also like to thank Shaw Group Ltd and the Williams Lake Conservation Company for their commitment to this project.  We are encouraged by the interest in this project and by the support we are hearing from the community for keeping this beautiful part of Halifax wild. More than $5 million has been dedicated to the wilderness park so far, and federal funds may be available, but NCC needs to secure matching donations from the community to make this park a reality.”
A park entrance area and parking lot is planned for Purcell’s Cove Road on lands currently owned by the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, which will be built by Shaw Group Ltd as a contribution to the park.  An accessible trail from the parking lot will lead to Williams Lake, where interpretive signs and benches will be located.  Otherwise there will be no development of the site:  existing trails will remain narrow and natural, with only the addition of trail markers.  Year-round low-impact activities such as hiking, birding, interpretive walks and outdoor education will be permitted. The lakes will be open for unsupervised swimming and non-motorized boating.  A long-term plan for the management of the wilderness park will be developed by HRM, NCC and community partners.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a not for profit land trust. Tax deductible donations for the Halifax Wilderness Park can be made online or by phone, by contacting NCC’s Halifax office at 1-866-319-5985. 
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The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected more than 34,000 acres of ecologically-significant land in Nova Scotia. 
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Kathryn Morse

Atlantic Director of Communications
Nature Conservancy of Canada Atlantic Region
T: 902.405.4334 Ext. 3304 Toll free: 1.866.319.5985
Halifax Wilderness Park one step closer after HRM council vote