Protected Natural Areas

Our protected natural areas are the best hope for conserving New Brunswick's natural character into the future.

The Protected Natural Areas Act allowed for the creation of 2 categories of protected areas, called Class I and Class II. Areas in both categories are protected from all forms of development, including construction, road building, mining, and forestry. Class I areas, of which there are 4 small ones, are areas which are deemed very sensitive and are therefore restricted areas requiring provincial permits to enter. Class II areas remain open to recreational activities, fishing and hunting.

  • Class I Protected Natural Areas – those lands and water permanently set aside for the conservation of biological diversity. All activities are prohibited except by permit from DNR. They are controlled by DNR under the Protected Areas Act.
  • Class II Protected Natural Areas – Areas permanently set aside for the conservation of biological diversity, where certain recreational activities having minimal impact will be allowed. They are controlled by DNR under the Protected Natural Areas Act.

 There are also, scattered throughout the province, areas under conservation easements held by different agencies like the Nature Trust of New Brunswick and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

New Brunswick's protected areas were first created in New Brunswick in May 2001, following a years-long debate throughout the province. At the time, 10 areas of size were designated as protected, and since then, others have been added to the list. The total amount of land protected under the act is almost 272,000 hectares (4.5% of New Brunswick's 7 million hectare landbase).


Although the number of areas protected seems large, our protected areas system remains inadequate. Areas have been protected for the urpose of protecting the ecosystems or environmental features within them. However, to do this well, the area needs to be large enough to contain these features, as well as enough area around them to buffer them from human activities. Some scientists state that protected areas should be a minimum of 25,000 hectares in size. In New Brunswick we have 7 protected areas which are greater than 10,000 hectares, 2 of which are greater than 25,000 hectares. 50 protected areas are less than 1000 hectares in size, with the smallest being 3.5 hectares in size.



Details about individual sites can be found by downloading the mobile app "ExploreEcoNB".

Protected Areas map


This map contains the areas protected under the Protected Natural Areas Act and the provincial parks of New Brunswick. The map is fully navigable: you can move around the map by holding down the left button of your mouse, and zoom in and out using the controls in the top left. As well, by clicking on a specific site, you get the name of the area and other information, and you can zoom in closer.


Protected Natural Areas Act - New Brunswick