Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area


Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area trails and parking lot are open to the public for day-use only.

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Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area (NWA) provides habitat for many species of birds and other wildlife. It is particularly important for migratory and nesting waterfowl.


Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located 42 km east of Amherst in northeastern Nova Scotia. It resides at the upper limit of Wallace Harbour on the Northumberland Strait. It is 783 hectares (ha) in size and consists of:

  • marine and freshwater wetlands
  • forested uplands
  • fields
Wallace Bay NWA, aerial view. Photo: Randy Hicks

A road and aboiteau across the area divide the wetlands almost equally into marine and freshwater. An aboiteau is a water channel controlled by a hinged door built into a dyke. At low tide the door swings open allowing fresh water to escape. At high tide the door swing shut to prevent salt water from getting in.

The marine wetland is made up of tidal channels and salt marsh. In a joint effort with Ducks Unlimited Canada, impounded freshwater wetlands were developed over a large section of lands that were once drained and dyked for agriculture. Habitat management has resulted in significant increases in waterfowl production. Eight species of waterfowl regularly breed at the NWA, including:

Species that have also been recorded, but not annually, include:

The first redhead brood was recorded in 1979 and during three of the next five years broods were observed on the wildlife area.

Tern at Wallace Bay NWA. Photo: Andrew Kennedy

The shallow wetlands afford nesting habitat for several species of regularly breeding marsh birds including:

Other species observed on occasion and presumed to breed irregularly include:

A list of 155 other bird species has been recorded as frequenting the NWA. Many of these birds nest in the surrounding uplands. Most common land and freshwater mammals of Nova Scotia occur at Wallace Bay NWA . Muskrat are particularly abundant. A pair of bald eagles usually can be seen nesting on the site.

More information on Wallace Bay 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 Wallace Bay 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. In accordance with specified conditions and federal and provincial regulations, actions that are permitted at Wallace Bay NWA include:

  • hunting
  • trapping
  • fishing

Other authorized public activities that are compatible with the objectives of the NWA include:

  • wildlife observation
  • hiking
  • photography

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

Map of the area

Map of Wallace Bay NWA
  • Long description

    Map showing the area near Wallace Bridge and Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia. The boundaries of the Wallace Bay NWA are indicated. The protected area is located to the north of Highways 6 and 368. It covers the western portion of Wallace bay as well as a portion of the surrounding land. The scale on the map is in kilometers (km). Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are shown on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

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

Summary table

Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/longitude 45°50' North / 63°34' West
Size 783 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Conservation of coastal wetlands (waterfowl and waterbird habitat)
Date created (Gazetted) 1980 - Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources (VI)
Additional designations None
Keystone or flagship species
Main habitat type
  • Wetland (75.5%)
  • Forest (17.1%)
  • Abandoned Farmland (2.4%)
  • Farmland (5.0%)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Invasive species None
Other species


Main threats and challenges Increasing coastal development and adjacent land use
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) in partnership with the Department of Lands and Forests, Nova Scotia, and Ducks Unlimited Canada
Public access and usage

Permitted as posted at the entrance of the NWA include:

  • hunting
  • trapping
  • fishing
  • wildlife observation
  • hiking
  • photography

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
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, New Brunswick
E4L 4N1

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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