Listening to all sides

Darrell Cole
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Listening to all sides

UPPER NAPPAN - Users of the Chignecto Game Sanctuary are not against added protection, but continue to have questions about how the area will be accessed.

Members of the Cumberland Trails and the Chignecto-Glooscap Snowmobile Association told members of Cumberland municipal council on Wednesday, they have concerns with the area being studied as a potential wildlife area.

"We have grave concerns with having all the land declared protected and having Natural Resources out of the area," snowmobile club spokesperson Larry Scopie said during council's December committee-of-the-whole meeting. "Our historic trail maintenance partner would be lost. It would appear that they would no longer have a vested interest in a healthy road network."

Scopie said snowmobile and off-highway vehicle groups rely on the trail network through the sanctuary and the surrounding Crown land to get from one area to the other. His group also fears added protection would all but end their efforts to make the sanctuary a winter destination.

The snowmobile group questioned whether the province is moving closer to its goal of protecting 12 per cent of its land mass by 2015 by taking a bigger chunk of Cumberland than its should.

Council had planned to hear only from the government departments on Wednesday, but changed its mind after having told the groups several weeks ago they'd be allowed to give presentations.

Both the snowmobile club and Cumberland Trails support a proposal brought forward earlier this year that would have given added protection to a smaller portion of land in and around the sanctuary.

Dwayne Cleveland from Cumberland Trails said he left the meeting feeling more content that government officials will be listening to what his group and other users are saying.

"We want access to the roads in the area while having a wilderness area," Cleveland said. "We protect wilderness now through the game sanctuary and we help maintain the moose herd. We're already part of preserving the moose herd in that area and the road system is an important part of that. If we don't have access to where the moose are we cannot continue to do what we do."

Cumberland Wilderness wants to bring added protection to the area so vulnerable species can be protected and the area preserved so future generations an enjoy it. Its spokesman, David Wood, said it was never the plan to be too restrictive when it comes to access by ATV and snowmobile users.

"We want people to be able to go into the area to do a wide variety of activities," Wood told council. "We support access with minimum access. I'm all for people being able to go there, but it has to be with limited access."

Like the off-highway and snowmobile clubs, Wood said, it too wants to maintain community connections. However, it's proposing far fewer trails through the proposed area than what snowmobilers and off-highway vehicle users want.

Cumberland Wilderness is proposing the main highway from Shulie to Apple River, the Boar's Back Road, the Goodwin Road and the Thundering Hill Road as designated trails. It's also proposing another road in the area, but only if the Goodwin Road is plowed in winter.

Peter Labor from the Environment Department and Harold Carroll from Natural Resources presented the details of what's being studied and urged everyone with a stake to make their opinions known. Initial consultations will continue through June 2010 at which time boundaries will be proposed and a second round of consultations undertaken.

Carroll said that while a large tract of land is being studied, not all that land will be included in a proposed wilderness area.

Several county councillors expressed concern with added protection saying it's going to have a negative economic impact.

Coun. Ratchford Merriam said communities in his area rely on the tourism generated by snowmobile and off-highway vehicle users and people in his area work in the woods. He took exception to a small group of people trying to tell a larger group what it can and can't do.

"We have a small group of individuals working supposedly with DOE and Natural Resources making plans for the people that can't speak for themselves, the people who can't get out to meetings, the people who aren't aware of what's going on because they haven't got computers," Merriam said. "Those are the people that hopefully we're speaking for. I'm speaking for the people who put me in this chair and I can't see how what you're proposing is going to improve on what DNR has been doing successfully for more than 70 years. If you can't show me how this is going to benefit my area economically and the people in the area I've grown up in I'm going to oppose you."

Blake Daley of Cumberland Wilderness said his organization never said it had all the answers and said socio-economic studies are beyond its scope. However, he said, the process for creating a wilderness area does require such an analysis be completed.

Coun. John Kellegrew is hoping the decision-makers will make a decision that is the best for everyone.

"People may not get everything they want, but at least come up with a suitable position that everyone is satisfied with," Kellegrew said.

Organizations: Chignecto-Glooscap Snowmobile Association, Cumberland municipal council, Peter Labor Environment Department

Geographic location: Goodwin Road, Shulie, Apple River Back Road Thundering Hill Road

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Recent comments

  • wow
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Jamie I know more about it than you'll ever know, and I know all about you. The mainland moose are definitely worth fighting for. That's why even though there should still be trails in the sanctuary for ATV's and snowmobiles, their numbers need to be reduced. Logging roads and old logging roads are one of, if not the biggest stumbling blocks to our environment that exist. They considerably fragment habitat allowing non-native species and invasive species to move in and establish themselves, and they also allow unchecked access to poachers. All of which make it harder for native species such as mainland moose to compete and survive. DNR should make logging companies decommission at least some of the roads when logging is complete. Also, it is unfortunate that at least a few individuals who run OHV's have to tear everything all to hell and cause even more problems. I also stand by my comment about DNR, and would extend it to all bodies that manage our natural resources they do a poor job that at times borders on neglectful management, all of which is done for the benefit of industry and not really for longevity of the species themselves. Hopefully when all is said and done, the sanctuary will receive a high level of protection while still allowing traditional recreational use.

  • Ross
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Re: Negative Economic Impact

    I doubt that Cumberland Wilderness would ever want a socio-economic study done.

    In southern NB a very large shale gas discovery has been made. Cumberland County will be explored for oil and natural gas and that means jobs. The economic protenial for the area has increased greatly due to its proxcimity to the NB find. One only has to drive through the Sussex area to see economic boom happening there due to oil and gas exploration and mining. I want that to happen here and I bet there are a lot of others that do as well. Does the NDP? I bet they do as well.

    As Coun. Merriam correctly points out, Cumberland Wilderness is a small group of people trying to impose their wants on a very large portion of the county and an even larger group of people.

    I support the proposals brought forth early this year that would have given added protection to a smaller portion of land in and around the sanctuary.

    Moose thrive thoughout the oil patch in all provinces. It will be no differnet here. We can easily manage the moose without restricting access and shuting down industry. I happnes all over Canada and there is no reason it can't happen here.

  • mark
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    we as a family use these trails to get to the cottage in advacate ... the kids have a wonderful time and learn may thing about nature, just going for a drive on a wonderful Saturday afternoon ... if we loss access to the trails we also loss a way of learning and living ... please keep the trails open ... we


  • Chillwill
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Say What, you posted One even showed that compared to the rest of the county, that area has the least concentration of roads in it. You got tricked by CWA. Read my earlier comment. Maybe they used Photo Suite in the presentation ? There is a massive amount of infrastructure already in place. What you saw on that presentation included woods roads & provincial roads everywhere outside of the sanctuary. They also didn't identify the major transmission line running through the sanctuary that will serve the efforts of the tidal energy project in Parrsboro.

  • Jamie
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The meeting for my wife and I actually gave us a bit of light at what we ( the people ) are up against but felt it was a step in the right direction considering the concerned groups were given a chance to state their case and feelings concerning a Wilderness Protected Area .
    It's really hard to swallow some of the propositions & stipulations that DOE & Cumberland Wilderness mention of when the way of life for 70+ years has been taken care so well. Is this the reason why they want it so bad ? DNR has gone to great lengths and has done a gret job with playing the biggest hand in it all .
    Taxpayers are wondering around the community why they have not been notified and consulted by these 2 lobying groups about what their plans are for the Chignecto Sanctuary since they are the ones that help maintain it with taxpayers dollars .

    I don't think for one minute that the community is completely against a Wilderness Protected Area ,its the meaning and stipulations that come along with a WPA that they are sceptacle about. The impact it will have on groups and surrounding communities could be in danger if not handled in the correct manner. Yesterdays meeting really drew out some key points of all the groups concerns and now I think it is time for important members of those parties to sit down and try to solve this out and come to an agreement . Will it take place over one meeting definately not ,it will take numerous meetings . Argueing back and fourth about certain topics will never be solved unless there is light on both sides .
    I just recently joined the Coalition Group Supporting the DNR Plan for the Chignecto Game Sancuary and for me I represent the hiking ,hunting fishing, skiing and all other Outdoors Ativities that take place within the Chignecto Sanctuary . I will stand up with the rest of the concerned groups within our Coalition and support them on their concerns that to revolve around the CGS. Our group contains some strong voices and a significant amount of knowledgeable members who are willing to stand up for their way of life and heritage in their community that has been managed for 70+years, perfectly fine .

    I have recently conducted a petition on behalf of the Coalition Group Supporting the DNR Plan for the Chignecto Game Sanctuary ,please take the time to read it and if it pertains to you or your concerns and interests please show your support and lets work together in keeping our Chignecto Game Sanctuary in good standing condition as it has been for 72 years .

    Here is the link for the petition pertaining to the Coalition Group Supporting the DNR Plan for the Chignecto Game Sanctuary below

    Thanks for the Support !!

  • Steve
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    If you think the little map made by a DNR employee constitues a plan, then kiss the sanctuary good-bye. 86,000 acres, and it all boils down to a colorful map? Good one. At least Cumberland Wilderness has put in some effort. You guys that profess to know so much about the Chignecto Game Sanctuary are going to lose this fight. You have no idea what you are doing. All you care about are the roads for ATVs and Skidoos.
    Rivers and streams are treated as personal mud holes for ATV clubs.
    Hunters kill deer in the Chignecto Sanctuary every year. So much for a place of refuge.

  • D. Wilson
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    With all due respect there is no such thing as a DNR plan. In fact the so called plan was not commissioned by DNR at all! Regardless, should you review the map carefully it is a regurgitation of a forestry cut map that falls under the guise of Integrated Resource Management. What does that mean? All of those yellow areas can potentially be forested (hear bio mass ringing loud and clear), or mined, or any other generally accepted industrial activity engaged.

    As I listen to the points made about OHV trails, let's remember one very important and critical point - these are roads we are speaking of and not OHV Trails for their exclusive use. They were originally developed as fire roads and/or roads for logging activities. OHVs only came as a result, and not the cause.

    Any and all access that is considered for exclusion from an eventual Wilderness Area designation cannot, nor should not, be made to the exclusion of all other types vehicles, including cars, trucks, horses, etc. Excluded roadways must be for the benefit and enjoyment of the public and not special interest groups alone. First and foremost, however, these roads must maintain and support the ecological integrity of the region while providing controlled benefit for the majority of public as a secondary consideration.

    Should the proposed trail network propositioned by Cumberland Wilderness become the designated roads, and be excluded from any WA, then I could support their position without reservation. Those roads would have to be all vehicle accessable when the roads are dry (to minimize maintenance) and they would then be transformed to snowmobile corridors in winter to provide continued community access.

    These roads would include the Goodwin, Sugar Camp to Thunder Hill, Maccan, and Harrison Settlement to Welton Lake to Tipping Meadow to Goodwin, and Kelly 12-Mile. This would then provide complete community access in a controlled and responsible manner.

    With respect to DNR and good management practises, perhaps they could advise the public when they expect to complete the Mainland Moose Recovery Plan. More specifically how is it possible to objectively review moose habitat requirements in any WA consideration when the recovery plan is not completed as required by law, and many years overdue? Should solid scientific data not be available to the decision makers when considering any such Wilderness Area designation, and especially so when three known at risk species exist in the evaluation zone?

    On a similar point, perhaps government should release the Colin Stewart Forum paper to the public, so, again, the public can make informed recommendations as opposed to offering biased self-serving interest positions.

    Just some objective thoughts.

  • wow
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Ross take a look around man the mainland moose population in Nova Scotia is nearly extinct.

    Anybody that thinks DNR has been managing our natural resources well for 70 years is completely misinformed on what really goes on.

  • Say What
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    One thing that has come through loud and clear, from the DOE yesterday and even also Cumberland Wilderness themselves at times, is that the Sanctuary and surrounding crown lands have been extremely well cared for by DNR and they have played a huge role in making it what it is today. Numerous DNR and CW maps and satellite imagerys shown yesterday showed that. So wow, you seem to be on your own on that one. One even showed that compared to the rest of the county, that area has the least concentration of roads in it. All of that indicates to me that it is just fine the way it is.

  • Jamie
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I'll second that Say What !!! Oh becarefull he/she may know all about you too !!! LOL,LOL

  • Chillwill
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Jamie, I was there and you are correct. The plan does exist and it was made specificly for wilderness protection. ( Not pulled off the back shelf ) It is actually the only plan that makes sense.The CWA plan seems to change weekly, also their well put together overlays seemed to have erased all of the road infrastructure in the sanctuary. Pulling the wool over peoples eyes is not consistent proposal. I am disheartened that no concern has been expressed about the fate of current and seasonal employees of the DNR. They should have the most input. CWA's comparison to the Sydney tarponds & Liscomb is pure fear mongering.

  • Say What
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Maybe next time they should work the Exxon Valdez and Chernobyl into their presentation too - that should really sell it. After all, we all sure don't want an oil tanker running aground in Welton Lake or someone throwing up one of those poorly designed russian nuclear things on the Kelly Road when nobody's watching. I'm glad others picked up on the fear mongering also. And yes, he did say that the proposal supported by Council last year will be considered in the process. I say bravo for that.

  • Ross
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Wow, restricting access and shuting down industry is not going to save the moose.

    There are many examples of successful wildlife management areas in Canada all managed by the DNR. Many of these funded in part by industries that work within these management areas.

    Wow, tell us whats really going on since we're so misinformed.

    By the way, wildlife managemant areas created local jobs in other areas.

  • Jamie
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Wow apperantly you are ignorant to the subject and apperantly don't realize that the Cobequid Hills hold a vast majority of the Mainland Moose Population . So if thats the case is it not worth fighting for ?
    Yor statement of ..........

    Anybody that thinks DNR has been managing our natural resources well for 70 years is completely misinformed on what really goes on.

    wow is right but Wrong in your case !!! You make these accusations but with nothing ot back them up LOL,LOL We are not talking about all Natural Resources here ...We are talking about the Chignecto Game Sanctuary .

  • Jamie
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well Dale ,umm you were not able to make the meeting yesterday ,sorry to see that . Peter Labore(DEO Acting manager ) mentioned in one of his first statements early into the presentation the DNR Plan was recognized and being considered and would be added in to their evalutaion process . So someone corret me if I'm wrong here ,,was I hearing things or was that not what he said ?