20 acres of forest clearcut without permission in Nova Scotia provincial park

Long Lake Provincial Park

About 20 acres of forest has been levelled in Nova Scotia’s Long Lake Provincial Park, and the province’s Environment Department is investigating who’s to blame.

The affected area sits not far from Halifax’s Old Sambro Road, which runs through the nearly 5,200-acre park. The land beside the levelled area is owned by North American Real Estate Land Development.

According to reports, North American Real Estate hired another company to do work for them, who then hired a contractor to cut the the trees.

“It got out of control somehow,” Glen McLean, supervisor of North American Real Estate, told CTV News. “We weren’t aware of where they were cutting or what.”

Though some are skeptical: “It’s very hard to clearcut 20 acres and say, ‘Oops, that was a mistake,'” Martin Willson, a retired environmental studies professor, told CTV.

Photo by Allison Devereaux/CBC News

“It’s really disgraceful,” he said. “This kind of thing should not happen. It’s an assault to our park system as a whole.”

It’s also against the law.

Anyone who violates the Nova Scotia Provincial Park Act Regulations can be fined and charged. The court can also order the person convicted of the offence “to restore the land to a condition as near as practicable as it was before the offence was committed and pay an amount equal or twice to the market value of park property, which was damaged or destroyed.”

The government insists it’s taking the matter seriously, but despite efforts to rectify what has happened, it will be a long time before the park is back to normal.

“Even if they did tree planting, we’re talking 50 years before we would gain back what was lost here,” said the Halifax Field Naturalists’ Clarence Steven.