Sydney, NS – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has announced that the Government of Canada has designated Big Glace Bay Lake as Canada’s newest National Wildlife Area.

The newly designated National Wildlife Area (NWA) in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, comprises 392 hectares of estuary and marsh waters enclosed by a barrier beach. The site also includes mixed woodland, shallow coastal water, and eelgrass flats and encompasses the Big Glace Bay Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) plus an additional 14 hectares.

The NWA designation will help conserve the landscape to protect species at risk, including the Piping Plover, American Black Duck, Canada Goose, Common Goldeneye, and Bufflehead. The NWA designation will also support the management of wildlife conservation, research, and interpretation.

The Government of Canada will continue to expand its protected areas network, address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and meet its commitments to conserve 25 percent of lands and inland waters in Canada by 2025, and work toward 30 percent of each by 2030.

“Expanding conserved and protected areas is one of the most important actions we can take to curb the ongoing loss of nature and biodiversity. These places not only hold deep meaning for Canadians, they connect landscapes, store carbon, build knowledge and understanding, and inspire people to connect with nature in respectful and sustainable ways.”– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Big Glace Bay Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established in 1939 and provides safe fall migration habitat for several key bird species, including the Canada Goose.
  • As a National Wildlife Area, Big Glace Bay Lake will remain open to the public and visitors. The regulations allow most of the activities that currently occur at the Migratory Bird Sanctuary site to continue.
  • To ensure consistency with the activities allowed in most other NWAs in Canada, camping, lighting or maintaining a fire, and the possession of lead fishing tackle under 50 grams are not permitted.


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