CPAWS welcomes land purchases in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government will purchase 10,000 hectares of private lands from Resolute Forest Products and has just unveiled which specific properties will be acquired.  This is part of an agreement reached with the company last month to acquire $23.75 million worth of private lands.

The lands to be purchased in southwestern Nova Scotia include several large properties on Fisher Lake, Roseway Lake, and Alma Lakes, as well as properties on the Mersey River, Medway River, and Liverpool River systems.  The significant majority of the land purchases are of high conservation value.

“This is a strategic investment in Nova Scotia’s future,” says Chris Miller, National Conservation Biologist for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, based in Nova Scotia. “The properties contain old growth forest, species-at-risk habitat, frontage on significant waterways, important wetlands, and large intact forests”.

“We certainly welcome these land purchases”, adds Miller.  “And we look forward to their eventual protection”.

The Nova Scotia government has indicated that the lands with the highest conservation value will be protected.  Many of the sites being acquired are part of the government’s proposal to protect at least twelve percent of Nova Scotia’s landmass by the year 2015.  Currently, only about nine percent is legally-protected.

CPAWS has previously worked with Resolute Forest Products in Nova Scotia to evaluate their private land holdings for protected areas, as part of the Colin Stewart Forest Forum negotiations, which concluded in 2009.

“The Nova Scotia government is taking significant steps not just to expand the public land base in the province, but also to establish many new protected areas,” says Miller.

Over the past five years, the Nova Scotia government has invested about $165 million in funding to purchase private lands for conservation.  This has resulted in almost 75,000 hectares of land being brought into public ownership so far, most with exceptional conservation value and most specifically for the purpose of new protected areas.

“Nova Scotia is emerging as a conservation leader in Canada”, says Miller. “The government is investing significant funding toward land purchases and is making good progress in expanding its system of protected areas”.

The Nova Scotia government also has an option to purchase an additional 20,000 hectares of land from Resolute Forest Products over the next five years.  CPAWS encourages the province to proceed with these land purchases and to acquire additional high conservation value lands for protection.  Properties owned by the company on Jordan River, Tobeatic Lake, and Lake Torment should be the priority, as well as properties with old growth forest near Panuke Lake.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is a non-government organization that works to protect wilderness across Canada.  We have 50,000 committed supporters across the country and thirteen regional offices.

Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Conservation Biologist
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society