**** NS GOVERNMENT Media Release
Amendments to the Wilderness Areas Protection Act
Nova Scotians want to enjoy nature, wildlife and diversity in our province’s wilderness areas.
Amendments to the Wilderness Areas Protection Act introduced today, Oct. 1, will give authority for limited use of off-highway vehicles on two long-established connector trails.
If passed, these amendments will allow the environment minister to authorize limited off-highway vehicle use on the Grand Lake-Ross Lake Connector Trail in Ogden Round Lake Wilderness Area, Guysborough Co. and on the Dominique Meadow Brook – Fountain Lake Connector Trail in Portapique River Wilderness Area, Cumberland and Colchester counties.
Before designating a connector trail, the minister must enter a trail management agreement with an organization and ensure certain conditions are met to protect the environment and trail users.
They will also allow parking lots to be developed within the boundary of a wilderness area. Currently, people are using parking areas at some locations that aren’t allowed.
“We are committed to protecting our designated wilderness areas,” said Gordon Wilson, Minister of Environment. “These amendments will allow us to consider limited off-highway vehicle use on two connector trails and help us ensure that people enjoying wilderness areas are parking in places that are safe and do not damage the features we are seeking to protect.”
— these amendments will not change the level of protection offered to designated wilderness areas. All vehicle use in wilderness areas will still need to be specifically authorized and activities that may damage biodiversity in these areas is still prohibited
— the Wilderness Areas Protection Act allows government to designate connector trails for vehicle use in newer wilderness areas without changing legislation
— there are already about 120 kilometres of designated off-highway vehicle connector trails within wilderness areas