Below are answers to questions we frequently receive. We will continue to add to this list!

Exploring Nature Trust Conservation Lands

What can I do on Nature Trust properties?

We are delighted to welcome you to many of our conservation lands. Our promise is “forever wild,” and we work to safeguard the old forest, iconic coastline, islands, lakes, rivers, wetlands...

We are delighted to welcome you to many of our conservation lands. Our promise is “forever wild,” and we work to safeguard the old forest, iconic coastline, islands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and habitat for wildlife under our protection so that Nova Scotia’s natural legacy will endure. For future generations to be able to enjoy the same wild landscapes we have today, our work includes active stewardship and outreach programs to monitor and mitigate potential impacts.

In general, lands owned by the Nature Trust are open to the public for low-impact activities such as hiking, fishing, paddling, birding and berry picking. Some have actual hiking trails or old roads; some are more rugged wilderness and tend to be visited less as a result.  

We do not allow motorized vehicles of any kind, which means you must travel on foot or by water in order to access the conservation land.

When visiting our lands, we ask that you follow Leave No Trace principles. Those principles include not chopping down trees for firewood, not building fire pits in dangerous areas, packing out what was packed in, and burying human waste and toilet paper. 

The Nature Trust also holds conservation easements; on those properties, the landowner gets to make the decision about allowing visitors or not. 

If we find that a specific use of a property is beginning to threaten or damage the conservation values for which we protected it in the first place (trampling rare plants, for instance), we would no longer allow the use that is damaging it. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and would be communicated through signage at the site.

Where can I hike?

The Nature Trust has a few properties with official trails, many with unmarked old roads and trails, and many more with no trails at all.  You may hike on any of these properties, recognizing that...

The Nature Trust has a few properties with official trails, many with unmarked old roads and trails, and many more with no trails at all.  You may hike on any of these properties, recognizing that you must hike within the level of your abilities to handle the terrain and to navigate.  If you are looking for day hikes, here are a few we recommend (more recommendations will be added!):

Does the Nature Trust have accessible trails?

The Nature Trust currently has only wilderness footpaths or old ATV and logging roads, and unfortunately in their current state they are not accessible to wheelchair users.

The Nature Trust currently has only wilderness footpaths or old ATV and logging roads, and unfortunately in their current state they are not accessible to wheelchair users.

Where can I paddle?

As with our hiking trails, we own a number of properties accessible by water, but they may require varying levels of skill.  Please choose destinations within your skill level. Here are a few routes...

As with our hiking trails, we own a number of properties accessible by water, but they may require varying levels of skill.  Please choose destinations within your skill level. Here are a few routes we recommend (more recommendations will be added!):

  • The St. Mary’s River (more route info here)
  • Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Wilderness Area – visit this page for information, and click the “Trail map” button to see hiking and paddling routes. Note that these routes include land protected by other entities as well as the Nature Trust.

Can I drive my ATV/OHV/truck on Nature Trust lands?

We do not allow motorized vehicles of any kind, which means you must travel on foot or by water in order to access the conservation land.

Our land use policy only allows vehicles on Nature Trust...

We do not allow motorized vehicles of any kind, which means you must travel on foot or by water in order to access the conservation land.

Our land use policy only allows vehicles on Nature Trust properties for very specific stewardship needs (i.e., hauling out junk piles). Vehicle tires have been shown to spread non-native species, and the vehicles cause compaction of the soils, noise and pollution, none of which contribute to the Nature Trust’s mandate of allowing its conservation lands to be wild.

Can I bring my dog to Nature Trust land?

Many of our properties contain delicate ecosystems or fragile species. In order to protect the conservation value of our land, we ask that you keep your dog leashed and avoid sensitive areas such as...

Many of our properties contain delicate ecosystems or fragile species. In order to protect the conservation value of our land, we ask that you keep your dog leashed and avoid sensitive areas such as sand dunes or places where your dog may disturb wildlife.

Can I hunt on Nature Trust property?

Whether hunting is permitted on Nature Trust conservation lands is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether it impacts the conservation values of the land. Contact the office if you are...

Whether hunting is permitted on Nature Trust conservation lands is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether it impacts the conservation values of the land. Contact the office if you are interested in hunting on a Nature Trust property. We do not allow hunting blinds, tree cutting for sight lines or ATVs/OHVs on Nature Trust land. 

We also strongly recommend using non-lead bullets to protect other wildlife. Birds of prey and other scavengers who feed on carcasses containing lead bullets are susceptible to lead poisoning and death.

Can I build a hunting blind on Nature Trust property?

We do not allow permanent structures, including hunting blinds, on Nature Trust land. When hunting blinds (whether old or newly constructed) are found on Nature Trust lands, a notice is posted for the...

We do not allow permanent structures, including hunting blinds, on Nature Trust land. When hunting blinds (whether old or newly constructed) are found on Nature Trust lands, a notice is posted for the hunters and then the hunting blind is removed.

Stewardship and Rare Species

How do you protect species at risk?

While the Nature Trust often speaks of species at risk in general terms, you may have noticed that we rarely discuss much in the way of specific locations. This is for two reasons: one, Nova Scotia’s...

While the Nature Trust often speaks of species at risk in general terms, you may have noticed that we rarely discuss much in the way of specific locations. This is for two reasons: one, Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act applies to private lands such as the Nature Trust’s lands, and the Act considers certain features where a listed species at risk lives or forages or nests as sensitive data. We cannot reveal the location of sites such as these, because to do so may put the species in question at higher risk. 

The second reason is similar: certain species have specific vulnerabilities. For instance, one of the risk factors for listed turtles such as Wood Turtles and Blanding’s Turtles are that they may be taken and kept as pets. This means that the turtle has been removed from the breeding population, which is very important when the whole population may only number a few hundred individuals and hatchlings are slow to mature. The turtles’ vulnerability lies in the fact that they are slow-moving and sometimes easily visible, which makes them easy to pick up. In the same way, rare wildflowers may be picked or dug up, Peregrine Falcon nests may be disturbed by drone pilots, and Ram’s-Head Lady’s-Slipper is so tiny that it may be trampled entirely by accident. In some cases, it makes more sense to mark the location of a sensitive species to protect it, as Birds Canada does on beaches with Piping Plover to ensure that people walk on the wet sand and keep their dogs leashed. But in many other cases, such as in the case of a bat hibernaculum or maternity roost, the species in question is so threatened that we cannot take the risk of publicly stating that it exists because it may draw people to the site and thereby threaten it still further.

We want you to know that we take the stewardship of species at risk seriously, and even though we may not always be able to say what we are working on, we are steadily working towards plans that will reduce the vulnerabilities of rare species on our properties. We are especially grateful to the various researchers, species recovery teams, provincial biologists and other experts who provide their much-needed advice to us as we work through challenging stewardship questions.

What is Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) and what can we do about it?

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is an aphid-like insect native to Japan, northwestern North America and China which feeds on the nutrient and water storage cells at the base of Eastern Hemlock needles.

They...

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is an aphid-like insect native to Japan, northwestern North America and China which feeds on the nutrient and water storage cells at the base of Eastern Hemlock needles.

They arrived in the eastern United States on nursery stock in the 1950s. They were first discovered in Nova Scotia in Yarmouth County, in 2017. HWA is now present in seven counties in Nova Scotia, most recently found in Kings County, the furthest east it has been found so far. 

As a non-native, invasive species, HWA does not currently have a predator to control its population. It is spreading steadily despite efforts to contain it to the counties in which it is currently found. HWA is transmitted by moving firewood or on people’s clothes.

HWA cluster on the underside of needles and produce a white, woolly mass which is easily identifiable. Hemlock mortality where HWA is present is over 95% and trees die within 2 to 10 years of the adelgids’ arrival.

Hemlocks can live over 400 years and are a key component of the Acadian forest. They are extremely shade-tolerant and play a critical role in cooling streams. They also store a large amount of carbon due to their size and longevity. The loss of the Eastern Hemlock would irrevocably change the composition and character of the Acadian forest and have cascading effects on associated species.

With the arrival of HWA in the province, the organizations which were concerned about or impacted by HWA (including the Nature Trust) convened a working group to address the problem. The working group has spent the last four years researching, consulting groups in the northeastern US about their own responses to HWA and running chemical treatment trials. The various groups are now moving towards treatment plans. The Nature Trust is actively exploring options for protecting the Hemlock under our protection.

For more information about HWA, visit the Nova Scotia Hemlock Initiative website or this Government of Canada fact sheet.

If you are interested in treating Hemlock on your own property, you can contact your local Department of Nature Resources and Renewables office or the Forest Health Section to find out more about what that might entail. You can visit this site to determine whether there is an authorized service provider in your area who is able to treat your trees (note: this is not an exhaustive list).

How do I get the Japanese Knotweed out of my yard?

Good luck!

Good luck!

Working with the Nature Trust

Are you hiring anyone right now?

We post current opportunities on our employment page.

We also post newly available employment opportunities through our social media channels, including...

We post current opportunities on our employment page.

We also post newly available employment opportunities through our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so make sure to follow us there.

Can I do a research project on a Nature Trust property?

Possibly! Please email our Conservation Biologist, Rich LaPaix, at rich*nsnt.ca to discuss your research and submit an application.

Possibly! Please email our Conservation Biologist, Rich LaPaix, at rich*nsnt.ca to discuss your research and submit an application.

Can I do an internship/work placement/master’s with the Nature Trust?

On occasion, the Nature Trust does hire seasonal staff or take on students looking for a project, but it is not common due to constraints on staff time and the sheer volume of requests that we receive....

On occasion, the Nature Trust does hire seasonal staff or take on students looking for a project, but it is not common due to constraints on staff time and the sheer volume of requests that we receive.  If you are interested in doing an internship or work placement with us (and no opportunities are currently posted on our employment page), please email office*nsnt.ca and let us know what sort of situation you’re looking for.

Miscellaneous

I'm concerned about an issue. Can the Nature Trust speak out?

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust was created to protect our province’s incredible natural legacy through private land conservation. We are a non-partisan, non-activist organization. This position allows...

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust was created to protect our province’s incredible natural legacy through private land conservation. We are a non-partisan, non-activist organization. This position allows us to work with a broad range of partners – including municipal, provincial, and federal government, corporate and other private funders, and individual donors – who might not be willing or permitted to partner with a more explicitly advocacy-oriented organization. We strategically pursue partnerships that we believe will best position us to advance our mission of conserving privately owned, ecologically valuable land in Nova Scotia.

We are fortunate to be part of an organizational ecosystem that includes environmental organizations with a broad range of missions and capacities. In fact, effective climate and conservation work depends on different organizations using their unique positions to bring as broad a group as possible into the network of potential partners in solutions. We encourage our supporters to also connect with other groups that are working to address environmental issues from a broad variety of perspectives, including advocacy, political action, and activism, including:

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