Canadian Wilderness
A publication of CPAWS
FALL 2020/WINTER 2021
New Normal Needed to Protect Half of Canada
-Page 5-

WHAT IS AT STAKE? Protected areas are the cornerstones of conservation. Parks and protected areas safeguard biodiversity; provide clean air, fresh water, food, and traditional medicines; buffer us from floods and droughts; and provide us with amazing outdoor recreational opportunities. Once an area loses its protected area status, it can be used or sold for purposes other than conservation, such as industrial resource extraction, agricultural uses, forest harvest, or coal mining. The closure and removal of parks pose a serious threat to natural heritage, economic recovery and quality of life.

Transparency Critical in Protected Areas Planning

Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve in Nova Scotia has long been recognized for its conservation significance, as a stunning coastal headland that supports important ecosystems and a globally-rare plant community, but it is currently under threat.

In March 2019, the Nova Scotia government secretly delisted this site in order to sell the public land to a golf course developer. The government made this move without consulting or notifying the public. News of the delisting was discovered following investigative journalism by the CBC.

The federal government owns a 17-hectare property adjacent to Owls Head park, the site of an old lighthouse. The Nova Scotia government attempted to acquire the lighthouse property to sell to the same land developer. Fortunately, following a strong public reaction against the land transfer, the federal government announced in June 2020 that the site of the former lighthouse has instead been transferred to Environment and Climate Change Canada and is slated for conservation.

As for Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve, the land is in legal limbo and CPAWS Nova Scotia continues to advocate for the provincial government to protect it among nearly 200 other promised protected areas.

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