Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, approximately 0.46 million hectares (8.4% of the province as of 2010) are designated as protected. Environment Canada maintains 14 protected areas in Nova Scotia, including 6 National Wildlife Areas (NWAs) and 8 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs), comprising over 7 thousand hectares of the province's protected lands and waters.

Map of Environment Canada's Protected Areas in Nova Scotia

Map of protected areas in Nova Scotia province. (4) Sand Pond NWA (1) Boot Island NWA (3) Chignecto NWA (2) John Lusby NWA (6) Wallace Bay NWA (5) Sea Wolf Island NWA (4) Kentville MBS (1) Amherst Point MBS (2) Big Glace Bay Lake MBS (7) Sable Island MBS (3) Port Hebert MBS (5) Port Joli MBS (6) Sable River MBS (8) Haley Lake MBS

Long description for the Map

Map showing the number of Environment Canada’s protected areas in Nova Scotia province, totalling 14 divided among 6 National Wildlife Areas (NWAS) and 8 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs).

National Wildlife Areas
Réserves nationales de faune (6)

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries
Refuge d'oiseaux migrateurs (8)

List of Protected Areas in Nova Scotia

The tables below contain information about the NWAs and MBSs shown on the map above. In addition to the name, year of establishment, and size of each protected area, the tables indicate how these sites fit into national and international networks of conservation areas. The following entities may be noted:

Ramsar: Wetland of International Importance
IBA: Important Bird Area
WHSRN: Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
MAB: Biosphere reserve of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme

This table provides information on the national wildlife areas such as the name of the area, the year it was established, the size in hectares and notes.

National Wildlife Areas
No.NameYear established Size in hectares Notes
1Boot Island NWA1979107
2John Lusby Marsh NWA1982432
3Chignecto NWA1978552
4Sand Pond NWA1977531-
5Sea Wolf Island NWA198276
6Wallace Bay NWA1980698-
-Total: -2,396-

This table provides information on migratory bird sanctuaries such as the name of sanctuary, the year it was established, the size in hectares and notes.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries
No.NameYear establishedSize in hectaresNotes
1Amherst Point MBS1947432
2Big Glace Bay Lake MBS1939393
3Port Hebert MBS198095
4Kentville MBS1939506-
5Port Joli MBS1941346
6Sable River MBS1941397
7Sable Island MBS19773,100
8Haley Lake MBS1941313


Access and Permitting

Although access to NWAs is not restricted, the primary purpose of these areas is to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats, and therefore most NWAs are not equipped with facilities to accommodate public visitation. Unless otherwise posted, all recreational activities are prohibited within NWAs.

Although access to most MBSs is not restricted either, the primary intent of these sanctuaries is to protect migratory birds, and therefore hunting, as well as disturbing or molesting migratory birds, their eggs, nests or habitat, is prohibited.

A permit may be obtained from the Minister of the Environment authorizing the conduct of certain activities in an NWA or MBS, if the Minister or delegate is of the opinion that the proposed activity:

  • will not interfere with the conservation of wildlife; or
  • is consistent with the purpose for which the protected area was established; and
  • is consistent with the management plan for the protected area.

Contact Information

Additional information on entry, prohibited activities and permits in Environment Canada's protected areas is provided on the Management and Activities web pages of the National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. For more information on Environment Canada's protected areas in Nova Scotia, please contact the regional Environment Canada office: 

Environment Canada – Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, NB
E4L 4N1
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)