The proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area on the outskirts of Halifax is a vision of renewal that is right for our time.
It’s about giving an incredible expanse of lakes, rivers, and woods on our doorstep a second chance – a chance to recover, where forests can grow old again and wildlife can return. A future that bucks the trend of nature in decline in the face of climate change.
And it's about renewal for our communities, who stand to reap the benefits of protected lands: an easily accessible backcountry that offers something for everyone, extraordinary natural amenities to explore and enjoy, a meaningful role in ongoing stewardship, and emerging opportunities to engage in the New Economy that are grounded in ecological sustainability.
A Fresh Start for an Incredible Place
Ingram River Wilderness Area will protect over 15,000 hectares of publicly-owned forests and waterways draining into St. Margarets Bay. These former Bowater Mersey lands encompass dozens of undeveloped lakes, brooks, and still waters that connect its remote interior to the ocean. Although degraded from years of logging, it is an incredible place where nature hangs on and is ready for a comeback. The area still harbours expanses of intact forest and pockets of old growth (along with lots of regenerating clearcuts). With time, given a chance, it can recover and provide a multitude of benefits for the environment and our quality of life.
Protection as a wilderness area will provide a clean break from the days of resource exploitation, putting these lands on a new path toward recovery and restoration without the constant threat of more logging and other industrial activities.
Now is the time to let these watersheds heal and restore so they can again provide natural services like erosion control, water quality, habitat, connectivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration to fight climate change.
Real Public Engagement
The situation today is that the public has no real say in what happens on these public (or "Crown") lands. They are basically dedicated to industrial uses, and that's that. Wilderness areas offer something different. They can provide something (actually, a lot of things) for everyone. We think the path to protection should include robust public consultation and engagement with existing users and the public to get this right. The main thing is making the big shift from exploitation to protection and renewal. Our proposal is conceptual. The details will need to be worked out. We call on government to embrace that shift and engage with stakeholders and the broader public to make Ingram River Wilderness Area a reality.
At a Glance
The proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area ranges from old growth Acadian forests to large clear cuts. To prevent the loss of more valuable forest, and to help usher in a new path forward towards ecologically-sensitive, local industry we are advocating for the protection of this area through the designation of a Wilderness Area. A major contribution Halifax Regional Municipality's Greenbelt, obtaining protection would enhance the public's use of the area for recreation while promoting healthy and diverse Acadian forests which will thrive in the area for generations to come, right at the doorstep of our community.
A benefit to all of HRM
To the citizens of St. Margaret's Bay,
I applaud your efforts to protect the beautiful and historic Ingram and Indian River watersheds. They are remarkable assets for the people of Halifax and surrounding areas. Their recreational and tourism potential is tremendous. Their importance as habitat and for the multitude of natural services they provide makes them worth your effort and dedication. Hats off to you for your initiative.
- Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality