Sandy Lake Regional Park: A Recreation, Wildlife and Old Forest Park for All and Forever
- Landscape Connectivity: The whole sweep of forest provides an essential wildlife corridor at the neck of the Chebucto Peninsula, north to the Sackville River and the mainland — an important link to be preserved by the Green Network Plan. Endangered mainland moose have traditionally inhabited the area, and they continue to be sighted. The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources considers the proposed Sandy Lake Regional Park as “important mainland moose habitat”.
- Recreational Trails: The area proposed for Sandy Lake Regional Park is already used unofficially by citizens of HRM for multi-recreational purposes through a network of existing trails. Currently, a wide variety of outdoor activities are conducted on these lands, including mountain biking, birdwatching, swimming, paddling, fishing, dog-walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, to name a few; the power lines are popular corridors for ATVs.
- The Sandy Lake watershed is the largest sub-watershed of the Sackville River and hosts populations of seagoing American eel, Atlantic salmon, Gaspereau and speckled trout. The integrity of this system is critical to the Sackville Rivers Association’s efforts to revive salmon in the Sackville River system.
- The wetlands bordering Sandy Lake and Marsh Lake and along much of Peverill’s Brook leading to the Sackville River host a complex, healthy ecosystem that includes large populations of amphibians and reptiles.
- The diverse wildlife population includes over 100 species from the mighty osprey to the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird. loons, otters, frogs and snapping turtles inhabit the lakes and the woodlands are home to bobcats, barred owls, many warblers, wood turtles, deer, ermine, fox and mink.
- Sandy and Marsh lakes are bordered by rich drumlins that support magnificent mixed, multi-aged Acadian forest with significant old-growth stands, some trees over 200 years old, and striking “pit and mound” topography.
- Sandy Lake is a popular location for research for schools, universities and community.
- Aquatic studies point to deterioration in oxygenation and increased salt loading of Sandy Lake since the 1970s, related to urbanization and some clearcutting. Significant further settlement within the Sandy Lake watershed would make the lake inhospitable to the migratory fish, reduce wildlife diversity, as well as increase flooding downstream. The Sandy Lake Regional Park would guard Bedford from increased flooding by protecting the Sackville River flood plain.
To discover more about the forests and surface waters of Sandy Lake & environs, visit www.sandylakebedford.ca
And hear Dr. David Patriquin’s talk: The Natural History of Sandy Lake and Environs: http://goo.gl/ipYCR2