Background & History
The Save Little Harbour/Owls Head Nova Scotia from Becoming Golf Courses Facebook group is a grassroots movement of over 3000 concerned citizens and scientists, passionate about saving the ecologically significant property known as Owls Head Provincial Park.
In March of 2019, the Nova Scotia government secretly removed Owls Head Park Reserve from the pending protection list (the 2013 Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan), in order to sell it to an American developer. Despite the property’s 45-year history of protection, the provincial government delisted Owls Head Park Reserve without consulting with – or notifying – the public.
In December of 2019, investigative journalist Michael Gorman of the CBC uncovered the province’s plan through a Freedom of Information request. Intense opposition was swift. Less than 24 hours after Gorman’s article was published, concerned citizen Sydnee Lynn founded the Facebook group Save Little Harbour/Owls Head Nova Scotia From Becoming Golf Courses.
Dozens of environmental associations, such as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS NS), the Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association, and World Wildlife Fund Canada have called for the park to be formally protected. Individuals have sent thousands of letters to the provincial government. In order to hold the Nova Scotia government accountable, supporters of Owls Head Park raised $15,000 toward court costs in just 6 days.
The American developer is Mr. G. S. Beckwith Gilbert, who is doing business as Lighthouse Links Development Company. Mr. Gilbert claims that he wants to build a golf & residential community on a property that has been a provincial park reserve since the 1970s. Mr. Gilbert provided CBC’s Michael Gorman with an email stating their intent to purchase the provincial park reserve, which Gilbert referred to as “unused” land.
But the park is not “unused land.” There was absolutely no scientific basis for removing the 661 acres of pristine coastal barrens from the protection and public ownership that it had enjoyed for 45 years. On the contrary, Owls Head Provincial Park contains many features important for conservation, including wetlands, coastal barrens, habitat for endangered species, and a globally rare ecosystem. Biologist Katie Porter reported that the development of Owls Head would mean “complete destruction of [the site’s] ecological features.”
Our group decided to launch a volunteer-run website so that the relevant information can be available to all concerned citizens. Here you will find government documents, news coverage, scientific articles, and letters from concerned citizens. Together, we can hold the Ministers to account and seek to reverse their decision. Keep reading to find out how you can help protect Owls Head Provincial Park.
Letter from Scientists at St. Mary’s University (Caitlin Porter & Jeremy Lundholm)