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Proposed Blue Mountain

Birch Cove Lakes

Regional Park

Charlies Lake in spring credit Irwin Barrett

                                              Charlies Lake in spring. Credit: Irwin Barrett

Proposed Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes

Regional Park

A well attended public meeting was held Thursday May 31, 2012 (6:30 pm - 8:30 pm). St. Peter's Church Hall, 3 Dakin Drive, Halifax, NS. The park concept was well received.

Public Meeting for Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lake Park

 

Didn't make the meeting?

Have another point to make?

HRM is open to further feedback! 

Click here to email us your comments.

(email address parkplan@halifax.ca)

Next Step: Take the plan and the public feedback to the Environment and Sustainability Committee of Halifax Regional Council. That date has yet to be set.

Please check back here for updates.

Fox Lake at Sunset credit: Irwin Barrett

Credit: Irwin Barrett

Vision

Originally the HRM Regional Plan, approved by Regional Council in 2006, outlined the creation of a public wilderness park around the Birch Cove Lakes and the Blue Mountain area. In 2009 the Province designated Crown land within and just west of the proposed park boundary as protected wilderness area taking one step towards creating the park.

 

In accordance with Halifax Regional Council direction and the Province of Nova Scotia’s Twelve Percent Protected Area objective, HRM and Nova Scotia Environment staff have been planning for the proposed Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park. Surrounding development pressures are impacting the original vision of the proposed park, so it is important to solidify how the park will be laid out and come into existence.

New Opportunities  

While conducting that work, new opportunities were examined and a revised vision for the proposed park has emerged. Whereby, previously there were plans for a park surrounding the Birch Cove Lakes, there is now an opportunity to consider a broader vision offering protection to two watersheds, a wildlife corridor, bio-diversity protection and public outdoor recreation in the form of a Regional Park and and protected wilderness area stretching from Clayton Park to Upper Tantallon. Placing lands under a legal wilderness area protection and Regional Park would assure that some of these  lands will remain natural for the benefit of current and future generations.

Forest Ferns

 

Goals for the Proposed Park:

Near Urban Wilderness Recreation

The Blue Mountain skiing on the lake in winter/Birch Cove Lakes area has been referred to as “HRM’s Keji”. The lakes, stillwaters and forests will offer the public an opportunity to leave urban life behind and be immersed in natural forest, lakes, streams and bogs within a stone’s throw of the city. Short trail loops, longer hikes, mountain bike trails, lakes for swimming, skating, fishing and two canoe routes will allow the public to use the park for an hour or more, or for an entire day.  The revised vision provides natural area opportunities for the entire region but also offers “out the back door” access for eleven adjacent communities.

Water Quality Protection – The proposed park is a means to protect headwaters of both the Birch Cfall colours around a lakeoveLakes and Nine Mile River Watersheds. In all, the revised vision would offer protection of 22 lakes and countless wetlands which contribute to downstream lakes and rivers in areas of HRM which are already developed. This helps assure better water quality for those communities downstream and the natural environment.

Bio-diversity Protection – At a time when bio-diversity is declining owing to impact from human Fox Lake credit Irwin Barrettbeings, the large tract approach preserves a variety of ecosystems native to the area.  Significant lands on the interior of the proposed park have already been protected by the Province of Nova Scotia as Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area. There may be the possibility to expand that protected area to include areas west to Tantallon as part of the province wide goal and process to legally protect 12% of Nova Scotia's landmass by 2015.

Wilderness Corridor Protection – HRM residents value our natural environment. It is part of who we are. Studies show disconnected natural areas are not sustainable. HRM’s Canoeing in the wilderness areageography affords us the opportunity to protect wilderness corridors whereby both flora and fauna can be preserved near urban areas of the city while being connected to the rest of the province. Links to other natural areas serve to strengthen bio-diversity.

While many other cities aspire to this objective, HRM has the means to do so by protecting and/or connecting large tracts of wilderness. The BMBCL wilderness corridor has the potential to connect to the Pockwock, Big Five Bridges and Western Common wilderness areas. This is a key objective of the HRM Regional Plan.

 

Area Maps

 

Area Analysis  (Large file 19.6 MB)To PDF Acrobat Tips

Watershed Map and Land Use area Blue Mountain


Proposed Park Boundary (Large file 19.9 MB)To PDF Acrobat Tips

Map of land ownership in and around Blue Mountain Birch Cove Park

Proposed Idealized Park Concept (Large file 19.1 MB)To PDF Acrobat Tips

Park Access Point Blue Mountain Birch Cove Prk

 

 

sun through trees