Nature Conservancy of Canada receives gift of 370-acre parcel in Nova Scotia's Long Tusket Lake area; property adjacent to lands recently acquired from J.D. Irving seen as 'critical' in effort to preserve province's remaining 1% of old-growth forest

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia , March 18, 2014 (press release) – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Nova Scotia has announced it has received a generous gift of land in the Long Tusket Lake area from Paul and Ann Stehelin, with additional financial support from TD Bank Group. It is NCC’s second significant conservation project in Digby County in the past year.

A 370 acre (150 hectare) property contains an old growth forest, wetland suitable for waterfowl nesting and over 1.5 km of lake shore on Long Tusket Lake. Old growth forests are rare in Nova Scotia and offer significant habitat for wildlife. The towering stands of red spruce, white pine, yellow birch and red maple found here host uncommon and at-risk birds including the Canada warbler, chimney swift and common nighthawk. Nova Scotia’s endangered mainland moose is occasionally seen in the region.

The area has a unique human history. It was the site of the settlement of New France or in the mid 1800’s. The Stehelin family, including all 12 children, immigrated from France and over the course of 25 years, established a successful timber enterprise on the banks of Langford Lake, just south of the donated lands.

Over time, the settlement was referred to as ‘Electric City’ because of lighted streets and houses made possible by an in-stream water-based power plant. Lights were a rare sight in those days, particularly in the backwoods of Digby County. The Stehelin family also constructed a wooden railway used to ship timber to Weymouth, where it could be loaded on boats.

In addition to the generous land donors Paul and Ann Stehelin who are leaving a legacy gift, the Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to acknowledge funding support from the TD Bank Group through its TD Forests program. TD’s five-year contribution is the largest corporate commitment to NCC in the conservation organization’s more than 50-year history. With support from the TD Forests program, NCC will increase the amount of forested lands protected and cared for across Canada.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada also wishes to thank additional project supporters the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

Quotes:

“We are pleased to know that this very special place will be preserved and protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. We are happy that we could contribute to this important initiative,” said the Stehelin’s.

“This is a fantastic site to bring into conservation and we are extremely grateful to the Stehelin family for their generous donation,`said Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Manager for NCC. We will be diligent in stewarding and managing this site that has been so well cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Stehelin. I also recognize and thank all funding partners in this important project"

“We are thrilled to have played a part in protecting this critical piece of forest,” says Karen Clarke-Whistler, TD’s Chief Environment Officer. “Forests are the backdrop of our lives. They are where we work, live and play, perform an essential role in cleaning the air and moderating temperatures, and are home to more than one-third of the plant and animal species in North America. As our world becomes more urbanized it is essential to protect forests and the valuable habitats they represent”.

“This project has impressive conservation values from wetlands and rich forests to habitat for species at risk including Atlantic coastal plain flora,” said Karen Beazley, Chair of the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust. “This is a beautiful area and a high priority for conservation. We are pleased to partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to safeguard a unique piece of Nova Scotia’s natural heritage and leave it undisturbed”.

Facts:

  • Old forests account for less than 1% of all forested lands in Nova Scotia. They provide habitat for cavity nesting species such as pileated woodpecker, saw-whet owl and Northern flying squirrel.
  • This site was a strategic priority for conservation by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. These lands are adjacent to recently acquired lands (5,077 acres) by NCC from J.D. Irving, Limited.
  • Access to NCC sites in the area will be permitted for low impact recreation.
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 2.6 million acres (over 1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 31,191 acres (12,622 hectares) in Nova Scotia. For more information visit: www.natureconservancy.ca/ns.

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