N.S. greenlights clear cutting near national park without Parks Canada input
There's worry in Nova Scotia over a plan to clear cut 94 hectares, about 230 acres, of woodlands adjacent to Kejimkujik National Park. It's not sitting well with some, who worry about the rare species of wildlife both inside and outside the park.
Some areas around Kejimkujik Park are home to rare species. Reduction in those numbers is a concern for wildlife advocates.
"We’re also seeing species that are less well known. Blandings turtles, a number of birds, and even smaller creatures,” says David Miller of World Wildlife Canada.
Concerns were brought to the Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister, but he says clear cutting in the area won't damage the environment.
"We have a full internal review for these matters associated with species at risk, there's a whole process and methodical assessment that's done and that one made it through the system," says Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines.
When asked if his department had consulted with Parks Canada before greenlighting the clear cut, Hines said no.
“I’m not sure if there is park infrastructure along that boundary or not. We hadn’t, we actually didn’t hear from the park people themselves,” says Hines. “I think we contacted them and we haven’t heard anything that I’m aware of, definitive one way or the other on it.”
Some say it should be clear that Nova Scotian’s don't want clear cutting from a five-year-old government survey.
“It seems that Parks Canada is conducting a review about this, and I can’t see any reason why the Department of Natural Resources would have wished to issue a clear cutting permit in advance of the completion of that review,” says N.S. NDP leader Gary Burrill.
Logging crews have been working one stretch of forest in North Queens County. Century old white pines have been left in place, small trees and shrubs have been left for deer, and soil is relatively undisturbed.
One retired national park employee says he's glad to see at least some selective cutting, saving some young oaks.
"It's good for forestry, good for industry, jobs, and that, but most important, it doesn't ruin the environment, it doesn't decrease the wildlife,” says retired nature interpreter Gary Hope.
But Hope and others are concerned the park will be cut off from other wild areas in the province with biodiversity, making the park a kind of genetic island for wildlife.
For now, cutting in the area is at least delayed, pending final approval.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw