TREPA is passing on information from others in the province concerning the public consultations of Parks and Protected Areas. The following is from Ray Plourde, Ecology Action Centre.
Hi Folks. Well we’re into the second week of the public consultations for the proposed Parks and Protected Areas plan and opposition to the plan from the unaffiliated motor-heads has reared its ugly head again. I understand that the public sessions in Bridgwater, Shelburne and Annapolis Royal went reasonably well. But Yarmouth was very bad with somewhere around 150 ATVers showing up in force. Their key message was: No more protected areas in SW Nova Scotia so ATVing can continue with no restrictions. The lead guy was on CBC radio on Wednesday. This is the same group who collected hundreds of signatures against protected areas last year. Their petition was delivered to the legislature by Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill. Meanwhile the Federation of Anglers and Hunters has put out a very disappointing newsletter and several website postings to its members also railing against protected areas because of potential loss of motorized access to every lake, pond, stream, river or stand of trees to hunt and fish.
So… we need to get as many conservation people as possible to get involved in the public consultation and counteract this offensive. We need to all, individually, register our strong support for the new proposed protected areas and to keep them as free of motorized playthings as possible. Some road exclusions and managed trails are inevitable in this process but there is no way to accommodate free-range motorized roaming across these areas and actually protect them. Copied below are a few useful facts about hunting and fishing in protected areas in case you end up talking to someone with concerns. Also copied below is an article by well known Nova Scotia wildlife biologist and outdoorsman Bob Bancroft that kinda says it all on the topic of motorized penetration into the last wild places. It originally appeared in Eastern Woods and Waters a few years back.
The schedule of public meetings is: http://novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/get-involved/public-sessions/
The online submission form is: http://novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/get-involved/tell-us/
You can also send a letter to:
Parks and Protected Areas Plan
Nova Scotia Environment
PO Box 442
Halifax , NS B3J 2R7
Specific comments on specific areas can be submitted using the online map system: http://novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/plan/interactive-map/
So please participate. Our wilderness and our wildlife need you to speak up for them now.
Hunting, fishing (and even trapping) in protected Wilderness Areas is specifically allowed under the legislation (see Wilderness Areas Protection Act). Again – Wilderness Areas do allow continued hunting, fishing and trapping. You can also camp, ski, hike, snowshoe, swim, pick berries, etc. in them. The vast majority of the areas being proposed for protection are in this category – Just under 200,000 hectares.
Nature Reserves are more restrictive and do not allow for hunting, fishing and trapping (see Special Places Protection Act) BUT it is important to understand a few things:
Nature reserves are generally very small habitat patches located in more remote areas where few people go. They are generally established to protect a site-specific natural feature such as small patches of remnant old-growth forest or some critical habitat for an endangered plant or wildlife species. Only 38,020 hectares – less than 0.7% of the provincial landmass – is proposed for protection as new Nature Reserves. Yes, there are quite a few of these habitat patches (120) proposed for protection under this category, but they are very small and spread out across the province. And the boundaries for the majority of these areas have been modified so that, in most cases, they do not include important river corridors or lakes specifically so fishing can continue in adjacent rivers and lakes. A few of them do include an upper fish spawning area or cold water refuge specifically because they were identified by fisherman in the first consultation round as critical habitat for the fish.
It’s also important to remember the alternative… If these important natural areas are not protected then the pulp companies will most likely clear-cut them soon enot’s also important to remember the alternative… If these important natural areas are not protected then the pulp companies will most likely clear-cut them soon enough. Big biomass for energy projects are coming on stream fast. So the pressure to cut our forest is only going to increase – even in formerly “marginal” stands. For example the big NSP biomass generator in Port Hawkesbury is about to fire up very soon. Itugh. Big biomass for energy projects are coming on stream fast. So the pressure to cut our forest is only going to increase – even in formerly “marginal” stands. For example the big NSP biomass generator in Port Hawkesbury is about to fire up very soon. It will need to be fed 700,000 tonnes of wood a year for the next 20-plus years. This is on top of the 1 million+ tonnes the pulp mill in Port Hawkesbury consumes every year and even more by the pulp mill next door in Pictou County . That’s a lot of consumptive pressure on our forests.
It’s frustrating but some guys just can’t or won’t hunt or fish unless they can drive their rig right up to every lake, stream or wooded area, turn off the engine and begin casting or shooting. It’s just plain selfish. In most cases all they need to do is walk a bit or take a canoe in. And if they don’t want to do that there is plenty of un-protected land where they can still “do the drive-thru”. This is about keeping some of the last shreds of real wilderness intact in an otherwise highly fractured and fragmented landscape. And if that means people need to temper their behaviour a little bit to help give wild species a place to survive, then it’s a small sacrifice we should all be willing to make. In 100, or even in 50 years, if there’s going be any brook trout or moose or woodland birds left in Nova Scotia , these protected areas are where they will be found. We owe it to future generations to leave something of nature for them to enjoy too.