Top Environmental Groups Welcome First Step Toward Doubling Nature Protection in New Brunswick

July 14, 2022 – Traditional Land of Wabanaki People/Fredericton, NB — A coalition of five provincial environmental and conservation organizations—Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-New Brunswick Chapter, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Nature NB, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and the Fundy Biosphere Region—issued the following joint statement in response to the government of New Brunswick’s Nature Legacy announcement today.

“We are pleased to see the provincial government designate nearly 100,000 hectares of new protected areas as part of its commitment to double protected lands and waters in New Brunswick.

Today’s announcement marks an important stage in conservation in our province. First, because a significant proportion of our natural areas are being protected for nature and from industrial development. Our natural environment and our communities are under increasing stress, threatened by the dual crises of climate change and nature loss. Significantly increasing the amount of protected nature in New Brunswick is a critical step toward addressing these crises.

Second, this is the first time the government has included New Brunswickers in identifying natural areas for conservation.

We are grateful for the thousands of New Brunswickers who made today’s announcement possible by standing up and demanding better protection for our forests, rivers and wetlands. New Brunswick citizens nominated many of these natural areas for protection, carrying them over the top with their local knowledge and passion.

But our support for today’s announcement comes with one significant caveat. A crucial opportunity has been missed to advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities through the Nature Legacy program.

Wolastoqiyik, Mi’gmaq and Peskotomuhkati peoples have been the stewards and knowledge keepers of this land since time immemorial. A strong agreement on reconciliation and collaboration would set us on a path for future conservation action. We are committed to doing our part to act as treaty peoples and create a new era of nation-to-nation respect, fairness, cooperation and co-management for unceded land.

We look with hope to the next step for nature protection, as the province moves to fulfill its promise to protect an additional 300,000 hectares of land this year. This next step needs to mend and weave partnerships with Indigenous nations. This is the opportunity for our generation to create a lasting legacy for nature, collaborating in peace and friendship.

QUOTES

“It’s a big leap in the right direction that the new protected areas include important wild forests in the Gaspereau headwaters, old forest habitats in the Restigouche, and natural areas that connect to Kouchibouguac, Fundy and Mount Carleton. CPAWS NB encourages governments to revitalize relationships with Indigenous peoples that will lead to co-stewardship for our shared responsibilities to nature.”

– Roberta Clowater, Executive Director
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter

“New Brunswickers love their forests, rivers and wetlands and they are united in wanting government and industry to do a much better job taking care of these important spaces. Today I’m joining the thousands of citizens who are celebrating this announcement for moving us closer to smarter, ecological forest management in New Brunswick.”

– Lois Corbett, Executive Director
Conservation Council of New Brunswick

“New Brunswickers have always been a strong voice for New Brunswick nature. This collective  sense of ownership and responsibility has played an important part in keeping the New Brunswick government accountable for their commitment to increasing protected areas. This  first 100,000 is just the beginning and nature lovers from across the province will continue to demand that nature conservation through reconciliation be a priority going forward.”

– Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Executive Director
Nature NB

“When New Brunswickers stand up for nature, good things happen. Conserving these precious natural spaces is essential to the survival of our birds, forest wildlife, and endangered wildflowers. They also help protect communities from climate change, and provide recreation and solace to all who visit.”

– Stephanie Merrill, CEO
Nature Trust of New Brunswick

“New Brunswick is home to some of Canada’s most unique landscapes that support an incredible diversity of life. As New Brunswickers, we can be proud of the expanding network of protected areas announced today while also pushing for more – more meaningful dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous nations, more conservation corridors for large mammals, and more nature-first industrial solutions.”

– Jennifer Dingman, Executive Director
UNESCO-Designated Fundy Biosphere Region

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To arrange an interview, contact:

Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter: rclowater@localhost; (506) 452-9902

Lois Corbett, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: lois.corbett@conservationcouncil.ca; (506) 458-8747

Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Nature NB: executive.director@naturenb.ca; (506) 459-4209

Eugénie Gaujacq, Nature Trust of New Brunswick: eugenie.gaujacq@ntnb.org; (506) 457-2398

For information on specific protected area sites or the animals and plants that will benefit from today’s announcement, contact:

Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter: rclowater@localhost; (506) 452-9902

Jon MacNeill, Conservation Council of New Brunswick:jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca;  (506) 458-8747

Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Nature NB: executive.director@naturenb.ca; (506) 459-4209

Eugénie Gaujacq, Nature Trust of New Brunswick: eugenie.gaujacq@ntnb.org; (506) 457-2398