04/28/2014 02:49 EDT | Updated 06/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia buys parcel of wilderness near camp for kids with special needs

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government has purchased a parcel of woodland next to a camp for children living with chronic illnesses and other special needs.

The 240 hectares next to Brigadoon Village near South Alton has lakes and wilderness well-suited for camping.

Premier Stephen McNeil says the $850,000 land purchase will help meet the province's goal of encouraging children to be more active.

The executive director of the camp, David Graham, says the land will provide more opportunities for campers to explore, learn and play in a protected environment.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Canada's largest private land conservation group, applauded the province's move at Fancy Cove.

The group says the purchase will preserve an intact forest for generations to come.

"Acquiring this lakeshore and forested natural space is a very positive move to ensure these lands are preserved now and into the future so that people and families have access to nature," said spokesman Craig Smith.

The acquisition is part of the government's plan to protect 13 per cent of the province's land by 2015.

Once the plan is implemented, the province will have 205 provincial parks, 84 wilderness areas and 138 nature reserves.

Environment Minister Randy Delorey was on hand for the announcement.

"What a great day for the children and families who benefit directly from Brigadoon Village and for the community and champions across the province who have worked tirelessly to secure these lands," he said.