Owls Head protected as a provincial park
June 14, 2022, MI’KMA’KI – Owls Head will receive legal protection as a provincial park!!
The Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government.
“This is the best possible outcome for Owls Head,” says Chris Miller, Executive Director. “It corrects the wrong. It ensures that the coastal ecosystems and wildlife will be protected. It guarantees that this very special place will remain in public ownership.”
Owls Head is located along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. It has been proposed as a provincial park since the 1970’s but has never received permanent legal protection until now.
In 2019, the Nova Scotia government secretly delisted the park from a list of protected areas and attempted to sell-off the coastal public lands to a private developer for a golf course development. When the public learned of the backroom land deal, a huge backlash ensued and people from all across Nova Scotia organized to stop the sale and protect the park.
“Premier Tim Houston has made the correct decision to save Owls Head,” says Miller. “He has followed through on the promises he has made and we are very grateful that these public lands will soon receive legal protection under the Provincial Parks Act.”
Owls Head Provincial Park is 266 hectares in size. It is an ecological hotspot that contains important coastal ecosystems, including headlands, lagoons, barrens, eel grass beds, salt marshes, coastal peatlands, ponds, islands, and temperate rainforest. It supports a globally rare plant community, and habitat for several species-at-risk, including piping plovers and barn swallows.
A CPAWS-NS sea kayak expedition to Owls Head in July 2021 resulted in an important observation of an Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle feeding in the nearshore waters right at the headland of Owls Head.
The Nova Scotia government has recently increased the protected areas target to “at least” 20 percent by 2030. The government has also promised to fully implement the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan, which includes a long list of backlogged sites still awaiting legal protection.
“We look forward to more protected areas being established very soon,” says Miller. “Achieving the twenty percent protected areas target is a critical step in fighting the dual emergences of climate change and biodiversity loss.”
CPAWS-NS congratulates everyone who worked so hard to protect Owls Head. It was a collective effort by many people to save these coastal lands from development and we are so happy with this conservation outcome.