Changes to allow off-road vehicle use in two Nova Scotia protected areas

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Proposed amendments to Nova Scotia's Wilderness Areas Protection Act would allow limited use by off-highway vehicles on two established connector trails.

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson says the changes would allow him to authorize all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile usage on the Grand Lake-Ross Lake connector trail in the Ogden Round Lake Wilderness area in Guysborough County.

It would also allow their use on the Dominique Meadow Brook-Fountain Lake Connector Trail in the Portapique River Wilderness Area in Cumberland and Colchester counties.

Under the changes, the minister must also enter into a trial management agreement with off-road vehicle organizations to ensure safety conditions are met.

Wilson says the changes won't affect the level of protection in designated wilderness areas.

Currently, the province has about 120 kilometres of designated off-highway connector trails within its wilderness areas.

The proposed law change comes a day after Wilson announced the protection of 17 new areas of land including four wilderness areas, 10 nature reserves and three provincial parks.