Nova Scotians Come Together To Protect Troop Island

December 28, 2012

Troop Island’s natural wildlife habitats and important coastal lands will be protected for the benefit of Nova Scotians and future generations thanks to the combined effort of residents, community groups, Halifax Regional Municipality and the province.

St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association and Nova Scotia Nature Trust spearheaded the work to raise the $820,000 needed to purchase and take care of the island. The province provided $150,000 towards the purchase price.

“As a child growing up in the area, I developed a great love and appreciation for wildlife and nature,” said Denise Petersen-Rafuse, Minister of Community Services, who attended a recent Troop Island celebration event on behalf of Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “I understand the connection people have to the island. The province’s seacoast and its coastal communities are an important part of what makes Nova Scotia a great place to live, work and raise our families.”

During the five-week community fund-raising campaign, promoted by celebrated icons like Theodore Tugboat, support was received from Halifax Regional Municipality, the province and a range of individuals and businesses, both within and outside Nova Scotia.

“Troop Island has been a special place for generations of local residents. The beautiful vistas, beaches, and old growth forest have touched many people, and we are thrilled that it will now be protected forever,” said Ella McQuinn, past chair of the St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association. “We greatly appreciate how enthusiastically individuals, community organizations, businesses and government all stepped up to help save the island.”

Bonnie Sutherland, executive director of the Nature Trust, said protecting Troop Island is an exciting achievement in a much bigger effort by conservation partners to protect Nova Scotia’s increasingly imperiled coastal lands before it is too late.

“The overwhelming response by so many people to the Troop Island campaign is a clear indication of how important coastal protection is to Nova Scotians,” said Ms. Sutherland.

Troop Island’s 28 acres will go towards the province’s goal of protecting at least 12 per cent of Nova Scotia lands by 2015.

More than nine per cent of Nova Scotia’s lands, totalling more than 1.2 million acres, have been protected so far.

Engaging and securing public participation is an important part of the process to increase the province’s protected areas.

In 2012, the province asked Nova Scotians to help review more than 400 pieces of land that could help reach the 12 per cent goal.

In the coming year, a plan will be released proposing which of these lands should be protected and Nova Scotians will again be invited to provide their feedback. The province will then move forward to protect the remaining lands needed to meet the goal, based on what is heard during this consultation.

Troop Island is located on St. Margarets Bay, northeast of Peggy’s Cove.