Standing Up for Our Parks & Protected Areas
The Save Owls Head movement has shown just how powerful we can be when we work together. Let’s continue to be a voice for nature.
1. Mission: Permanent legal protection
Tell the Province to Amend the Provincial Parks Act:
In the past five years, developers have targeted Owls Head Provincial Park and West Mabou Beach Provincial Park (twice, in that case!). These aren’t just isolated incidents—it’s a pattern. Private interests keep trying to get their hands on our provincial parks and park reserves because the Provincial Parks Act is outdated and fails to provide adequate legislative protection. The Act (from the 1950s) hasn’t been significantly updated since 1989 (34 years ago!).
We know that the secret delisting & offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park shook everyone’s trust in government, especially when it comes to our protected areas. Despite the success of the Owls Head movement, the situation caused pervasive and long-lasting harm. The folks in Mabou fighting for West Mabou Beach Provincial Park can attest that Cabot’s proposals have caused similar apprehension and acrimony. How many times must we fight the same fight?
Instead, let’s deal with the problem at the source—the Provincial Parks Act.
- Environmental groups urge province to strengthen Provincial Parks Act, CBC Information Morning, Nov. 2, 2023
- Government urged to amend parks legislation, clarify what’s permitted on protected land, Chronicle Herald, Nov. 2, 2023
- No golf course for West Mabou Beach, CBC Information Morning (Cape Breton) April 21, 2023
2. Learn more about parks and protected areas at risk
Other pending, proposed—and even designated—protected areas remain at risk in Nova Scotia. Right now, we are very concerned about “Owls Head 2.0,” a.k.a., West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. The Cabot group has been looking to turn the sensitive dune ecosystem in the provincial park into a private golf course. To learn more about the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park issue, please click here.
In addition to the lingering West Mabou Beach Provincial Park proposal, we’re paying close attention to ensure that the remaining ~100 proposed and pending protected areas from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan receive the legal designation that Premier Houston promised.
To see which parks still aren’t protected in your community, go to the government’s interactive map and search for the park. If it comes up as “NS Lands Proposed or Pending Protection,” it’s not legally protected yet—and that needs to change.
3. Write a letter to the editor
Publishing a letter to the editor is an easy and effective way to keep issues you care about in the news. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide.
4. Talk to your MLA
Numerous properties from Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan are still awaiting legal protection, meaning that they, too, could be secretly delisted and sold if the legislation isn’t changed.
If you want to see what your MLA and/or the winning party had to say on the Owls Head issue, click here.
5. Keep spreading the word
Keep up the pressure for our protected areas by continuing to call radio open hours and sharing new articles and website posts on social media. Talk to your friends and your family, as well as local environmental or community groups.