The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.
The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere; a primer
By Dr. Annamarie Hatcher, Board of Directors
The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere is so much more than local people designating their place as special. We are an international showcase for ‘how to do it right’ designated by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB). MAB is an Intergovernmental Program that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments. In our Biosphere Reserve we see solutions which balance the conservation of the natural environment with its sustainable use. So, the demise of Cape Breton’s coal and steel industries has put us in a good position to develop a model of sustainability and community-based economic development in the naturally beautiful Bras d’Or environment.
So, what is unique about this environment that we want to take care of? The natural beauty is obvious whenever we drive along the shore of the estuary. The Bras d‘Or Lake and watershed covers over 3,500 km2 of forest and watery ecosystems in the centre of Cape Breton Island. The Lake is not really a lake or an inland sea. It is actually an estuary where fresh and salt waters mix. The estuary occupies 31% of the Biosphere and the rest is watershed. There is over 1,000 km of coastline with plenty of fine beaches for swimming and sheltered coves to moor a boat. The animals that call the estuary home are descendants of ancestors from times past when the sea levels and water temperatures were different. Up until about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, the Bras d’Or Lakes were tiny fresh water lakes or ponds connected to the Atlantic Ocean by long river systems. As sea level rose with the retreat of the glaciers it reached the level of a bedrock ridge in the Great Bras d’Or channel and salt water started to flood into the lowlands of the Bras d’Or Lake as we know it today.
5,000 to 6,000 years ago present day – Photos courtesy of Dr. John Shaw
Click on the green space above to download a PDF copy of the map.
For Minutes of Board Meetings, click here to download.
For a List of the Current Board of Directors, click here to download.
For the rewording of the Pessamit call for Reconciliation by the BLBRA Board, click here to download.
For the Biosphere Reserve Nomination Form, click here to download.
Are you curious as to what a Biosphere Reserve actually is? Or maybe you're wondering what a Biosphere Reserve does. We have all of the answers!FIND OUT HERE
Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Visitors’ Map
This map contains listings of attractions, outdoor activities, tours, and provincial parks found within the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere. Scroll the map to enlarge it. Click on any of the pins in the area you are interested in exploring and an information tag will appear for each pin. You can also scroll through the sliding banner below the map for directions and a website link to each item displayed. For even more detailed provincial tourist information related specifically to the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere and the sites listed below, click here.
Attraction Outdoor Activity Tour Operator Provincial Parks Trails