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CPAWS applauds major land purchases in Nova Scotia

  • Published on Mar 30 2010 |
  • This article is tagged as: successes

HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) congratulates the Nova Scotia government on completing its large land purchase program for this year. In total, over 56,000 hectares of land were acquired from four forestry companies, the substantial majority of which will become new protected areas. The total cost of the land purchases was around $75 million.
“This is a major investment in Nova Scotia’s future”, said Chris Miller, a senior conservation manager with CPAWS. “Much of this land would have been snapped-up by land speculators and private development interests, and lost to the public forever, if it wasn’t acquired by the provincial government”.
CPAWS is also pleased that the Nova Scotia government has started to implement some of the key recommendations of the Colin Stewart Forest Forum (CSFF). The CSFF final report, submitted to the provincial government in November 2009, recommended substantial investments in private land conservation and identified a number of high-priority sites on lands owned by the five biggest forest companies operating in the province. Many of the properties acquired by the Nova Scotia government in its large land purchase program were sites recommended for purchase and protection by the Colin Stewart Forest Forum.
Several of the properties acquired by the provincial government contain irreplaceable elements of Nova Scotia’s natural history. Some of the best properties acquired include, over 40km of wilderness coastline along the Bay of Fundy, frontage on significant waterways including the Tusket River and St. Mary’s River, a large portion of Kelly’s Mountain in Cape Breton, species-at-risk habitat, important karst landscapes with alkaline soils, sinkholes, and caves, and properties adjacent to existing protected areas.
“Some real ecological gems have been purchased,” says Miller. “The provincial government has done a very good job in acquiring some of the most important properties for conservation purposes”.
In Nova Scotia, almost one million hectares of land are owned by five forestry companies (e.g. J.D. Irving, Abitibi-Bowater, Neenah Paper, Wagner, and NewPage), and much of that land is currently for sale or will likely be put on the real estate market in the near future. A number of forest companies are raising revenues by divesting capital assets, including land holdings.
CPAWS remains concerned that a portion of a property acquired from Wagner at Apple Head, along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, will be clearcut prior to being protected. The provincial government announced that it would allow whole-tree harvesting on approximately one-quarter of the property, saying it would have cost an additional $1million to acquire the land without allowing some forest harvesting. CPAWS encourages the provincial government to find the necessary resources to allow this property to be protected fully intact.
CPAWS is Canada’s leading grassroots voice for wilderness conservation. We are a non-governmental organization working to protect at least half of Canada’s natural environment and over the past 45 years have played a lead role in securing at least two thirds of Canada’s protected areas.
For more information, contact:
Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Manager,
Wilderness Conservation and Climate Change
Canadian Park and Wilderness Society