How Do We Put a Value on Owls Head?

Corema - Broom Crowberry

How do we put a value on Owls Head Provincial Park?

There have been few valuations for rare plants, let alone globally rare plant communities. For example, a rare Shenzhen Nongke orchid is valued at $202,000 per plant. We would need to do a series of transects and plots at Owls Head Provincial Park to get an honest number of the rare plants and communities to put into the economic calculus of a ” balanced ” view.

“A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” So let’s do a survey of all the ancient coastal white spruce stands at Owls head and put an average value of $2000 on the individual specimens, but let’s be fair and only value the trees that are 75-100+ years old, the ones impossible to replace in a lifetime.

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Letter from Karen Beazley, Dalhousie Institute for Resource and Environmental Studies

Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier,

Please do not sell public land. NS has very little public land. It should not be sold to or for private interests. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada are working hard to purchase and secure ecologically significant lands in NS, with substantial (several millions of dollars of) funding being provided by both private and public individuals and organizations in support of their efforts. They are focusing on connected ecological systems along the eastern shore and elsewhere to complement Provincial conservation efforts. There is strong public support of their efforts, providing solid evidence of public economic and ethical valuation of public and private land conservation in NS.

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Letter from N.S. Wild Flora Society

January 30, 2020 

We of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society are writing to express our concern with the delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and proposed golf course development on these public lands. The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of wild flora and habitat in Nova Scotia.

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Water

Lily Pond

“The bogs and coastal wetlands of Owl’s Head are beautiful, complex, pristine, and undervalued. Development of the site would completely, irrevocably, and utterly destroy the natural hydrology of Owl’s Head and impact surrounding marine waters.”   

—Christopher Trider

Water. We take it for granted, but it’s important. Owl’s Head has this incredible relationship with water, both on the site and with the adjacent marine areas.

The entire headland of Owls Head acts as a water recharge area. Water is held in the sloughs between the ridges, it filters through the bogs and barrens, then finds its way into the sea at various points. The drainage patterns are a complex, uncharted maze with small ponds and pools, raised bogs, and Douglas Lake. This hydrology is just another layer, another reason to protect the natural integrity of these public lands. Continue reading “Water”

Lies, Deception, and Failure

When the officials involved lie and try to sanitize online information, then you can rest assured that all is not above board. When discussions are moved to phone calls and plans are heavily redacted, again the alarm bells start ringing. Those in my profession are called “stewards of the land” and that really is what I am trying to be, to do. We must all be the voice of this land. I also know from the many years I worked with DNR (now Lands & Forestry) how difficult it is to acquire public coastal lands, and how precious the few that we have truly are.

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Now vs Then

Every property that made it onto the list of Parks and Protected Areas Plan had a reason to be there. Each had a history. Owl’s Head Provincial Park was property #694 until an arrogant, duplicitous Minister and Cabinet removed it. Now the government is trying to erase Owls Head from the public record. The initial CBC article by Michael Gorman, published on December 18, points to a backroom deal fabricated by lobbyists and political dinosaurs who think that anything is for sale. A secret deal, a Letter of Offer to sell 661 acres of public coastal land to a private developer. At this time, two Ministers have made misleading public statements in attempts to cover the smell of a deal that would not stand the light of public scrutiny or professional review.

Pristine coastal barrens, rare plants, endangered species, water frontage on 5 coves and a lake, sand beaches, ideal coves and inlets for coastal kayaking, did I mention publicly owned? Continue reading “Now vs Then”