New Brunswick establishes first 84 Nature Legacy protected areas, which will conserve more than 100,000 hectares; protection will allow public recreation, but restrict industrial activities such as timber harvesting, mining, quarrying, land development

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FREDERICTON, New Brunswick , July 15, 2022 (press release) –

The first 84 Nature Legacy protected areas have been established by the provincial government.

“New Brunswick is a beautiful place that abounds with unspoiled natural areas and we are taking action to preserve that legacy,” said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. “Through this initiative, we are making our landscape more resilient to climate change and ensuring future generations will be able to experience the beautiful natural areas that we have today.”

The government has committed to doubling its permanently protected land and freshwater from 4.6 per cent to 10 per cent, an area equivalent in size to 19 Fundy National Parks.

The first 84 areas will protect about 90,000 hectares and more than 10,000 hectares will soon be added for a total of more than 100,000.

“These protected lands represent every region of our province, from the headwaters of the Penniac Stream to the Little Gaspereau wetlands, the Little Southwest Miramichi River to Miscou Island, from the Wilderness Corridors of the Restigouche to Chiputneticook lakes,” said Holland. “These features are worth protecting and this project represents an important part of our overall approach to responsible natural resource management.”

Protected areas are lands and waters set aside to allow them to exist with minimal human interference. These areas provide important habitat to conserve the province’s biodiversity.

While people can continue to enjoy activities like hiking, camping and hunting within an established protected area, industrial activities such as timber harvesting, mining, quarrying and land development are restricted.

“Today I’m celebrating, as are the thousands of New Brunswickers who love nature and who stood up calling for more lakes, ponds, rivers, forests and coasts to be protected,” said Lois Corbett, executive director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “This is a great step in the right direction towards conservation. It should also prove to be a firm anchor in future policy, a new path where the government requires modern, ecological practices from the forest industry, as well as a thoughtful New Brunswick plan designed to help achieve Canada's national target of 30 per cent by 2030.”

“Today proves that when we stand up for nature, good things happen. Protecting precious natural spaces is essential to the survival of threatened forest birds and wildflowers, and habitats that are home to wildlife familiar to us all,” said Stephanie Merrill, executive director of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. “These conserved areas will help protect people and communities from flooding, storms and heatwaves caused by climate change, while also providing recreation and rejuvenation to all who visit. As we welcome the first 100,000 hectares to the conserved lands network, we still need to double down on efforts to protect more public and private lands across this province that we love, while at the same time reconciling relationships and ensuring that these spaces that we desperately need are equitable and inclusive for all.”

Funding for this initiative comes from a four-year, $9.2 million agreement between the provincial government and Environment and Climate Change Canada under the Canada Nature Fund.

“Protecting land across New Brunswick will help curb the loss of nature and biodiversity in the province,” said federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is also the minister responsible for Parks Canada. “Protecting these places also connects landscapes, stores carbon and restores people’s connection with nature. Conservation actions such as this one are good for Canadians because they help in our fight against biodiversity loss and climate change while giving the natural environment near our communities the best chance to thrive.”

The government launched the New Brunswick Nature Legacy Information Hub in November 2020. The site allowed residents to nominate specific areas for protection and share information on areas under consideration.

More than 1,000 submissions and 800 comments were received. All the feedback was reviewed and considered in the decision-making process.

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