Saving Little Charles Island: One last chance to protect 100 Wild Islands crown jewel

21 Sep 2022

The Nature Trust has a rare opportunity to save and forever protect Little Charles Island, one of the last remaining islands in the 100 Wild Islands archipelago. Nova Scotians and visitors alike know the value and importance of preserving our stunning coastal legacy, and for the first time in several years, we have a chance to protect one more island. We have until November 4 to raise the final $200,000 needed to save this unique and threatened coastal gem on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore – and we need your help.

Coined “Nova Scotia’s most significant yet least-known natural treasure,” the 100 Wild Islands form a vast and wild archipelago of over 280 beautiful, unspoiled coastal islands nestled between Clam Harbour Beach and Taylor Head, just over an hour from downtown Halifax. One of the last, large, ecologically-rich and intact island groups in North America, the archipelago encompasses over 7,000 acres of diverse coastal habitats, hundreds of kilometres of shoreline and a rich diversity of wildlife.

Little Charles Island, 100 Wild Islands

We’ve had remarkable success in realizing what was considered a highly ambitious if not impossible dream of protecting the entire 100 Wild Islands, having secured over 85 per cent of the islands to date, in partnership with the province and with the support of many island owners, community members, donors and volunteers.

“While we’ve successfully saved most of the spectacular 100 Wild Islands, the jewel in the crown, Little Charles Island, has remained at risk,” says Bonnie Sutherland, the Nature Trust’s Executive Director. “We are thrilled to announce an opportunity to save Little Charles – the last major threat to the 100 Wild Islands coastal legacy.”

The 24-acre Little Charles is an ecologically diverse and significant island, at the heart of the 100 Wild Islands. It features idyllic mossy rainforest, stunning pocket beaches, a prominent wetland, and dramatic headlands and rock formations. It is connected to the Nature Trust’s 530-acre Borgles Island by a vast white sand beach bordered on both sides by beautiful turquoise bays.

The highly scenic island faces a significant risk of development – development that would be devastating not only for the ecological integrity of the island itself, but for the entire globally unique wilderness archipelago. The islands and coastal headlands, including nearby Owls Head, function as one interconnected and evolving ecosystem. The island group protects rich coastal biodiversity and helps to mitigate climate change impacts.

Beyond its important environmental and conservation values, the island’s protection is important for people too. Wilderness paddlers, sailors, and local families alike have been enjoying the island for generations. Privatization and development puts future public access and enjoyment at risk.

The Nature Trust has been trying to secure the island’s protection since 2013. That perseverance has finally paid off. The island’s owners, non-resident developers, have offered us a chance to acquire the property before it goes up for sale on the open market. We have until November 4.

Borgles Beach, connecting Borgles Island and Little Charles

Over half-way to our fundraising goal, we are asking for your help to raise the final $200,000 required to save Little Charles Island.

“We urge Nova Scotians to step up to save the nature they love, and to help protect our treasured coastal legacy for generations to come,” notes Sutherland. “Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.”

Amidst growing public awareness of biodiversity loss, climate change impacts, threats to Nova Scotia’s wild places, and unprecedented appreciation for nature and spending time outdoors, we are optimistic Nova Scotians will once again step up and give generously to protect Nova Scotia’s natural legacy.

“When people experience the magic of Little Charles Island they are truly amazed. They can’t believe this exotic, tropical-like wild island is actually in Nova Scotia! Today we can all be a part of protecting this irreplaceable coastal gem, forever.”

Saving Little Charles Island is the latest in the Nature Trust’s efforts to protect Twice the Wild – an ambitious campaign launched in 2020 to double our protected space for nature by 2025.

Donate today to help support the protection of Little Charles Island forever:

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