AMHERST – Public input on proposed changes or additions to the province’s parks and protected areas in Cumberland was on the agenda Tuesday at the Wandlyn Inn, and among the changes include expansions to the Chignecto Isthmus and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park.
For the isthmus region, it could mean more than 6,900 hectares, excluding the Chignecto Ship Railway and maintaining potential for an off highway vehicle agreement for route 104 and connector to New Brunswick.
“It’s an important connection to Canada and representative of unique landscape to the area and ties to the area,” provincial consultant and outreach coordinator Helen Smith explained.
The public consultation process is very important, Smith said, because it provides insight the Department of Environment won’t find on overhead maps: local lore.
“We’re learning lots of valuable, local information. The public can let us know if we’re looking at the right areas, proposing protected areas that shouldn’t – like if an area is used a lot by hunters, are we preserving access points,” Smith said. “People know their backyards the best.”
Smith explained all the proposed lands are a result of selection review that explored existing and neighbouring lands with a focus on rare or representative landscapes – landscape unique to a region or the province. Major landowners who allowed the province to review their lands were also part of the process, resulting is some potential acquisitions.
In some cases, the proposals call for expansions to existing protected areas, while others called for changing usage of lands already owned by the province. One such benefactor could be the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park. It’s recommended a parcel of Crown land encompassed by the park, and with a trail system already cutting through it, become managed under park designation, Harold Carroll, Directorof ParksforNova ScotiaNatural Resources, said.
“It’s a significant increase,” Caroll said. “It would add another 1,690 hectares to the existing 4,000 or so.”
With the consultation meeting in Amherst and Parrsboro now concluded, public input can still be given by visiting www.novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas.