Today's ForecastOvercastHigh:Low:°
  • Rocky coast with lighthouse in the back

    UNESCO Southwest
    Nova Biosphere Reserve

Take a Deeper Dive Into the Wild Life

Only 18 ecosystems in Canada have been specially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — and one of them can be found right here in Yarmouth & Acadian Shores. Featuring the largest protected wilderness area in the Maritimes, the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve seeks to achieve a balance between the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage, and economic activity through sustainable resource development that supports prosperous local economies and healthy communities.

UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

Unique Climate, Diverse Species

Encompassing many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including the Acadian Forest, rolling plains, drumlins, and coastal cliffs, the unique climate of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve makes it a hotspot for biodiversity. It’s home to an extremely diverse collection of species, including 75% of Nova Scotia’s species at risk, the most amphibians and reptiles east of Ontario, and numerous rare plants, as well as iconic species like eagles, moose, and trout.

Cultural Integrity & Heritage

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve preserves and promotes the region’s cultural integrity and heritage. The rich culture of the area includes Mi’kmaq land stewardship, the founding settlements of the first French, and early British colonies, as well as the Black Loyalists along Shelburne County’s southwest shore. The Reserve comprises Mi’kmaq, Acadian, English, Scottish, and many other cultures. The result of this diversity is an extraordinary mix of traditions, food, festivals, and communities.

Rolling plains with a few haybails

The Tobeatic Wilderness Area

With dozens of remote lakes, the “Toby” and the adjacent Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site together protect 142,000 hectares of mixed woods, barrens, and wetlands. It’s the wild soul of the Maritimes and the heart of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.

The Tobeatic’s interconnected lakes, streams, and rivers offer outstanding wilderness canoeing, angling, and camping opportunities. In fact, this storied region of Nova Scotia is best known for its mainland moose, trout streams, and rugged canoe routes through rocky lakes and wild rivers.

These routes and portages — first traveled by the Mi’kmaq — supported a world-class sportsman’s guiding tradition through the late 19th and early 20th century. They include much of the “Tent Dwellers” canoe route, made famous by Albert Bigelow Paine’s 1908 account of backcountry guiding and sportfishing adventures in this region. (Please note: Because the region is remote, a licensed guide is recommended.)

Three people walking in the woods

For More Information

For more information on the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, be sure to visit the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve website and the Culture, Heritage, and Science Interpretive Centre located at 90 Water Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Lighthouse on a rocky coast