Nova Scotians will have more opportunities for recreation and economic development thanks to an investment in land purchases. As part of the capital plan, the province is increasing its Crown land base. Lands purchased will be used to increase coastal access, protect Mi’kmaq values, enhance wildlife conservation, and help the province meet its 12 per cent land protection goal. The $6.3 million dollar investment, which includes $800 thousand from the Forestry Transition Land Acquisition Program, is included in the 2013-14 fiscal year. “It’s good sense to make purchases that increase our Crown land base, and that are valuable for their resources and outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “Although the size of Nova Scotia cannot be changed, we can change the amount of land that is owned by the province and ensure that it works to enhance our economy and the environment.” About 30 per cent of the province’s land base is provincial Crown land and protected areas. “Nova Scotians value the province’s wilderness areas and want to ensure that these areas are protected for the enjoyment of people now, and generations to come,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “This investment will help to do just that.” “This is an important investment in conservation,” said Chris Miller, national conservation biologist, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “Some of the most ecologically-significant ecosystems in Nova Scotia occur on private land, including old-growth forest and species-at-risk habitat, so allocating resources to acquire these properties is an important step to make and will help protect biodiversity in this province.” This is the third straight year the province will release the capital plan before the spring budget. This sends a clear signal of what the province intends to do in the year ahead, and gives the private sector greater opportunity to prepare for projects, creating efficiencies and cost savings for the province.