Chignecto National Wildlife Area


Chignecto National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While most trails will be opened from June 1st, some trails and visitor facilities may remain closed until such time that they can be safely re-opened.

Please respect social distancing measures. Respect the environment and leave no trace.

Remember, you are responsible for your own safety.

We hope to provide visitors with additional access to services and facilities in the near future as conditions allow, and subject to the direction from federal and provincial health authorities.

For more information, please consult our Q&A page.

Chignecto NWA is located in Nova Scotia. The NWA contains diverse habitats and supports a wide array of wildlife species. 228 bird species have been recorded within the NWA in recent years.

Aerial view of Chignecto NWA
Aerial view of Chignecto NWA showing wetlands, forest, and grassy areas. Photo: C. MacKinnon

Chignecto NWA is home to a variety of species. Various marsh birds such as sora and Virginia railare common. Some of the highest nesting densities of pied-billed grebe in North America have been recorded in the NWA. People have recorded a total of 228 birdspecies within the NWA in recent years. Over 100 species breed within the NWA. In addition, one can find a sugar maple tree with a circumference of over 4 meters in the NWA. People have estimated that this tree is over 250 years old.

The Amherst Point section consists of 412 ha which has both NWA and Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) status. Ducks Unlimited Canada has improved a large portion of the Migratory Birds Sanctuary's wetlands. They improved the wetlands through the construction of dykes and control structures.

Chignecto NWA provides habitat for a wide variety of mammals including, among others, the:

Find more information on Chignecto NWA in the summary table below.

Photo of Pied-billed Grebe
Two pied-billed grebes swimming in water. Photo: © Scott Leslie


Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Planning your visit

There is a small network of trails which provides access to the Chignecto NWA. You can enjoy hiking, wildlife observation, as well as some lovely photo opportunities in the NWA.

Note: Hunting is not permitted within the NWA, however trapping is allowed, subject to provincial regulations.

Public facilities: Parking lot and walking trails

Access to the NWA is permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA Management and Activities page.


From the town of Amherst, Nova Scotia, take Southampton Road southeast until the road turns southwest. This is part of the Bay of Fundy Eco-Tour route. You can access a small parking lot on the north side of Southampton Road.
GPS: 45.783421, -64.259447

You can find more information on access and permitting for Chignecto NWA, by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

Map John Lusby Marsh and Chignecto NWA boundaries
Map showing Chignecto National Wildlife Area
Long description

Map showing the southwest region of Amherst, Nova Scotia. The boundaries of Chignecto NWA, and Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary are indicated. They overlap each other and they cover a land area and water bodies just east of Amherst Point. The boundaries of John Lusby Marsh NWA are also indicated, just off the east coast of the Cumberland Basin. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. An inset map shows the NWA’s location in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only. It should not be used to define legal boundaries.

Summary table

Summary table
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/longitude 45°48' North / 64°16' West
Size 432 hectares
Reason for creation of protected area To provide a habitat for a wide variety of bird speciesincluding rare species such as:

Date created (Gazetted) 1978 - 1980 - Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category VI - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations
Keystone or flagship species osprey, ring-neckedduck , pied-billedgrebe.
Main habitat type
  • cattail marsh and bog (27%)
  • controlled water-level impoundments (27%)
  • open water lakes (6%)
  • mixed forest (27%)
  • open upland fields (27%)
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None recorded
Invasive species
  • Norway maple
  • buckthorn
Additional links Birds:

Main threats and challenges Increased public use and encroachment of housing around the periphery
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Walking trails are maintained within the NWA and can be accessed from the parking lot at Amherst Point. No other facilities are onsite.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing theactivity.

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected area program
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB
E4L 4N1

Toll-Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)

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