As indicated by the light green shade on the Land Ownership Map, the majority of land in the Region of Queens is provincially owned (62.5%), either as Crown Land, or protected as a park or one of many wilderness areas. Nearly 22% of provincial land in Queens is protected. The second largest ownership type is private (31.8%), and is a reflected in the population density and settlement patterns. Federal land (Kejimkujik National Park and Seaside Adjunct), private conservation land and municipally-owned land are also present to a small degree.
The Parks and Protected Areas map shows the areas of the Region of Queens that are protected as parks, wilderness areas, nature reserves or land trusts. In combination, these protected areas cover 18% of the Region. The majority of these lands are provincially owned wilderness areas (Tidney River, Lake Rossignol, Shelburne River and Tobeatic Wilderness Areas), and National Park (Kejimkujik and the Seaside Adjunct). There are also 16 privately established conservation lands, and while these amount to only 2200 hectares total (4% of all the protected areas) they indicate that protection of valuable environments is of high importance.
The Region of Queens is home to several large lakes, including the largest freshwater lake in Nova Scotia, Lake Rossignol. This was formed in the mid-1900s by damming of the Mersey River, which caused flooding of the river and ultimately the merging of many smaller lakes.
The Region also features two major rivers, the Mersey River and the Medway River. The Mersey River is a traditional Mi’kmaq transportation route, and was used to transport logs during the early lumber industry. It has been dammed for hydroelectric power generation at several locations over the past century. The Medway River, which passes through two of Queen’s other major lakes (Ponhook and Molega Lakes) was similarly historically used as a transportation route and as a log-driving route, and once supported a large population of Atlantic Salmon.
Southern areas of Queens are characterized by the coastline, including beaches, dunes, salt marshes, estuaries, bluffs and bays. Overall, there are almost 350 kilometres of coastline in Queens.
As the impacts of climate change increase, coastal communities are facing rising sea levels and increased strength and frequency of storms that can affect water levels. Sea level rise modeling from 2011 indicates that the Liverpool area will experience a rise of 0.15m (± 0.03m) by 2025, increasing to 1.06m (± 0.48m) above the current levels by 2100. While this increase could affect some properties in the area, the greatest concern is when storm surge, high tides and the higher sea levels converge.
The map shows potential water levels for 2025 and for 2100 for a scenario where a 1 in 100 year storm event converges with highest high tide. This storm surge and high tide combined with sea levels for those years result in events with sea levels of 3.25m for 2025 (orange on the map) and 4.31m for 2100 (red on the map). The dark points on the inset map are existing buildings.
Source: Scenarios and Guidance for Adapting to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, Richards and Daigle, 2011