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Land on Belliveau Lake is now protected by Nova Scotia Nature Trust

La Grande Ile Conservation Lands on Belliveau Lake.
La Grande Ile Conservation Lands on Belliveau Lake. - Contributed

BELLIVEAU LAKE, N.S- An Island on Belliveau Lake is now protected land by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

The 44 acre Island grows sweet pepperbush, which is listed as threatened on Canada’s endangered species list.

Nova Scotia is the only place in Canada that sweet pepperbush grows.

“It’s very hard to protect because it grows in the places we like to go, like lakes,” said Bonnie Sutherland, Nature Trust Executive Director.

Sweet Pepperbush.
Sweet Pepperbush.

The Island on Belliveau Lake is now called La Grande Ile Conservation Lands.

There are six known areas sweet pepperbush is growing in Nova Scotia. Belliveau Lake, Pretty Mary Lake, Mudflat Lake, Mill Lake, Louis Lake and Canoe Lake.

“New conservation lands on Belliveau Lake protect critical habitat for Canada’s imperilled Sweet Pepperbush. With only one other protected site in Canada, and other remaining habitat threatened by cottage development, this achievement is big news for recovery and conservation of a species at risk of extinction,” Sutherland said in a press release.

Louis Lake, part of the Tusket River Wilderness Area, is the only other protected area sweet pepperbush is growing.

Mary Guptill and Delbe Comeau donated the area on Belliveau Lake to the Nature Trust in hopes the area will be preserved for years to come.

Land donors Mary Guptill and Delbe Comeau.
Land donors Mary Guptill and Delbe Comeau.

“This is a very exciting step forward for us,” Sutherland added.

Guptill found out about the land in the 1980’s from a friend, and since then she’s been buying the land piece by piece.

“My intent since the beginning was that I’d be giving it away at some point,” Guptill said.

Guptill is a forester by trade and the area has always fascinated her because of the sweet pepperbush, other species and the forests that are on their way to becoming old growth forests.

Old growth forests are forests that have grown old without significant disturbance.

The forested Island is only accessible by boat or swimming. In some areas it is possible to walk through the water, she said.

“The Island has a good mix of species, trees and floral. There is a lot of other interesting things out there other than the sweet pepperbush,” said Guptill.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust has volunteers all over the province who will help monitor the land and make sure it is well maintained.

“There is a really rich diversity of species on the Island and that’s something people can continue to enjoy because of this,” said Sutherland.

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