Sand Pond National Wildlife Area

Sand Pond National Wildlife Area (NWA) lies just 2 kilometers (km) inland from the inter-tidal zone of the nearby Argyle river, on the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia. The area comprises two shallow freshwater ponds and their wetlands complexes, a bog and an expanse of forest and heath covered with ericaceous plants uplands.


Sand Pond NWA provides important staging habitat for migrating waterfowl as well as a suitable breeding habitat for:

Image of a wetland habitat
Photo: Sand Pond National Wildlife Area wetland

The principal use of the area's wetlands by waterfowl occurs during late summer and early autumn. The nearby tidal flats and estuaries provide excellent staging habitat for concentrations of green-winged teal, black duck, Canada geese and others. Sand Pond NWA affords those waterfowl shallow freshwater habitat. Black Ducks make greater use of the NWA than other species; as many as 2,000 have been observed there during the early autumn period. Waterfowl also frequent the smaller ponds of Fresh and Back rivers. The wetlands provide a suitable nesting habitat for the American bittern and the Wilson’s snipe as well as feeding habitat for the great blue heron.

Image of a river
Photo: Upland habitat in Sand Pond National Wildlife Area

The shallow rocky soil, which is typical of southwestern Nova Scotia, is responsible for the lack of tree cover on much of the uplands. Upland habitats including forest, heath communities and oldfields afford breeding and migration habitat for a variety of species such as:

Various mammal species can also be found in the uplands of the NWA including:

The fragile soils and expansive wetlands within the NWA are easily damaged by unauthorized use of off-road and all-terrain vehicles (ATV). Such activities are often associated with the creation of informal trails on the wetlands, which sometimes intersect with designated trails. Use of vehicles within Sand Pond NWA are restricted to designated trails only.

More information on Sand Pond NWA is provided in the summary table below.


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.

Access to Sand Pond NWA is not restricted and activities may be permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points. Providing opportunities for public use, enjoyment and awareness of wildlife and wildlife habitats is an important function of Sand Pond NWA . All activities in addition to the ones below not posted are prohibited unless a permit has been issued. Authorized activities include:

Other public activities that are compatible with the principal goal of protecting and managing wildlife habitat for the benefit of wildlife can be permitted such as hunting, fishing, and trapping subject to provincial and federal regulations. All other activities not posted, including all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use, are prohibited unless a permit has been issued.

More information on access and permitting for Sand Pond NWA , can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

Map of Sand Pond NWA
Map of Sand Pond NWA
Long description

Map showing the area north-east of Argyle, in Nova Scotia. The boundaries of Sand Pond NWA are indicated. The NWA is located to the north-east of Argyle and to the north-north-west of Turtle Pond. It covers Sand Pond as well as a portion of the land and small bodies of water surrounding it. The scale on the map is in kms. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset situates the NWA in Canada.

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

Summary table

Summary table
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/Territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/Longitude. 43°48' North / 65°49' West
Size. 531 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Conservation of waterfowl migration habitat
Date created (Gazetted) 1978 – Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Habitat/Species Management Area – (IV)
Additional designation None
Keystone or flagship species
Main habitat type
  • Wetland (21.4%)
  • Forest (78.6%)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None recorded
Invasive species None recorded
Additional links



Main threats and challenges Illegal activities such as all-terrain vehicle (ATV)
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage

Authorized activities include:

  • Wildlife observation
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing
  • Skiing
  • Non-commercial Berry-picking
  • Hunting, fishing, and trapping (subject to provincial and federal regulations)

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 the activity.

Contact us

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

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

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