Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines has approved a massive clear-cut of woodlands next to Nova Scotia’s Kejimkijik National Park.
The clear-cutting was proposed earlier this summer, and was met with resistance from a number of environmentalists, including Norm Green, the board chairman for the Friends of Keji Cooperating Association. In August, Green told CBC News that one of his biggest concerns with the clear-cut was the effect it could have on Blanding’s turtles, since the endangered species is known to have habitat just north of the proposed site.
Despite concerns, Hines recently told CBC that his department’s “best information” suggests the move to cut all but six of the proposed 100 hectares will have no impact. But when reporters asked Hines if his department had consulted with Parks Canada before giving the go-ahead, he said no.
“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,” Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill told CTV News.
According to reports, Hines says he’s comfortable making the decision without Parks Canada’s approval, because there’s still a chance to make changes and they won’t be touching the border of the park. But Chris Miller, a national conservation biologist for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, told CBC News that the six hectares they’re planning to preserve is “a joke.”
“It’s too small. It’s laughable if it wasn’t so serious,” he says, adding that anything that happens around the edges of the park needs to be done with extreme care, and science shows that you don’t want protected areas to become “islands in a sea of disturbance.”
“This cuts them off from the larger landscape and you have all sorts of impacts that occur inside the protected areas based on what happens outside the protected areas.”