The marshes of Belle Isle, located between Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown, are now protected by the government of Nova Scotia.
The Minister of Acadian Affairs, Graham Steele, made the announcement Friday evening at the opening of the Annual General Meeting of the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia.
The marshes of Belle Isle are one of the first places where the Acadians settled in Acadia of the Maritimes. In the 17th century, thirty Acadian families owned farms where they had drained the marshes with dikes. According to archaeologist Marc Lavoie, Belle Isle has special significance because no one ever moved into the marsh after the Deportation. He explained that apart from the Acadians, no one knew how to maintain the dikes and their ‘aboiteaux’. The archaeologist, who made excavations in the marshes of Belle Isle for several years, says that “the marshes of Belle Isle is where the largest Acadian village was located in the cradle of Acadia.”
Furthermore, a quarter of the marsh of Belle Isle is now protected thanks to the efforts of Robert and Diane Surette. They discovered, after buying land in these marshes that it was the land of their ancestors.