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Ingram River Wilderness Area is Under AttackHelp us fight misinformation and protect this biodiverse gem on St Margaret's Bay:Last week, in an interview with CBC, general manager for Westfor Breck Stewart voiced a number of concerns about the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area, which we at Nature Nova Scotia consider to be either under-informed or intentionally misrepresentative of the situation for these conservation lands.Mr. Stewart states concern that the proposed additions to the area will not only negatively affect crown forestry operations but also prevent average Nova Scotians from accessing crown lands for the purpose of fishing, hiking, or enjoying other recreational activities.There are several different kinds of conservation lands in the Nova Scotia protected areas system, each with varying degrees of protection and allowances for certain activities. So we understand why the current proposal for the Ingram River might be confusing to some. Let us set the record straight:1) The proposal for Ingram River includes the following:The addition of lands to the existing South Panuke Wilderness AreaDesignation of the new Island Lake Wilderness Area Creation of a special management zone along the Ingram River waterwayProtection of additional lands under Nova Scotia’s Old Forest Policy2) Under this proposal, forestry will still be permitted on crown lands within the Ingram River watershed. A very small portion has been proposed for protection as Wilderness Area, much smaller than community groups like the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association have been calling for over several years.3) The proposed South Panuke Wilderness Area addition is currently part of a volume-based Crown forestry licence with WestFor Management Inc (that's who Mr. Stewart works for...) Commercial forestry is not permitted in wilderness areas. If protected, government intends to amend its licence with WestFor to remove these lands (and only these lands) from the licence. The northern side of the proposed wilderness area addition borders on a large block of Crown land which is part of the Mi’kmaw Forestry Initiative (MFI). This is a forestry pilot project that gives the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq forest planning and management responsibility on designated Crown land parcels, through the guiding principles of Netukulimk, and it will be unaffected by the designation.4) The 888 ha Special Management Zone (SMZ) proposed for the valley corridor will also not allow for forestry activities. This area forms a thin buffer around watercourses, wetlands, and other sensitive habitats that are inappropriate for forestry operations anyway.5) The areas being added under the Old Forest Policy include 54 ha of old-growth and near old-growth forest. This hectarage is so small compared to the rest of the proposed conservation lands that it cannot reasonably be considered to negatively impact forestry interests. It will, however, significantly benefit the conservation of declining old growth forest species. 6) As for recreational access, all Nova Scotians have the legislative right to cross forested land for the purpose of fishing and hunting, especially crown land. Wilderness Areas also allow for hunting, fishing, and even ATV use in designated areas. In fact, the Department of Environment and Climate Change has already indicated that they would be open to amending existing provincial trail management agreements with the All Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS) and Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia (SANS) to allow continued ATV and snowmobile use on essential connecting routes through the proposed Island Lake Wilderness Area, which is the larger of the two. All together, the current proposal for Ingram River is a very small step towards better conservation of an area that supports 18 Species At Risk, rare forest types, and provides countless dollars in ecosystem good and services for all Nova Scotians.The only Nova Scotians who may not benefit from these new designations in the Ingram River area, are those who want to clearcut it...Speak up by tomorrow, Monday Sept 27th!Help us protect the Ingram River for future generations. *Use the online map-based tool or write into the province.* Share the call for comments with your friends and family. Call your MLA, and remind them that Nova Scotia's nature-based economy depends on intact and connected landscapes. novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/mailchi.mp/3b25010a65fe/ingram-river-wilderness-area-is-under-attackBlomidon Naturalists Society Halifax Field Naturalists Nova Scotia Nature Archive Nova Scotia Bird Society Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society The Eastern Shore Forest Watch AssociationExtinction Rebellion Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia Stop Spraying & Clear-Cutting Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia) St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship AssociationCPAWS NSEcology Action CentreNature CanadaCBC Nova Scotia... See MoreSee Less
Thank you to everyone who attended our two recent events! The first was a webinar from Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen on Biodiversity in general. The second, which took place this past Monday September 19, was on the Mi'kmaq Perspective on Biodiversity. We were honoured to have Elder Albert Marshall, Lisa Young and Dr. Karen Beazley lead the discussion on Monday. The recordings are now on Youtube, please feel free to watch and share!Introduction to Biodiversity: youtu.be/HjIVwg3qtxgMi'kmaq Perspective on Biodiversity Conservation: youtu.be/6J572SIVZn8... See MoreSee Less