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?
The history of the commitment to protecting Owl’s Head for public purposes dates back to the early 1970s. The past 45 years, Owls Head was there, protected, we thought. It maintained its protected status through several iterations of Park System Plans, Park Policy reviews, the 12% commitment to Protected Areas. Every single time there was recognition and respect for its contribution to the plans as a large, representative coastal landscape. The public and successive governments had the good sense to protect its pristine lands for future generations. Protected, safe until a small group decided they could remove it and sell it without public review. Who knows anymore what motivates these people? Greed, ignorance of ecological values, loss of contact with the realities of 2020….hard to say.
When Owl’s Head provincial park was first recognized and protected there was no internet, DNR staff had no computers, there were no emails, no Facebook. Climate change was in the background, a subject of limited scientific debate, the sixth mass extinction was an unknown, the mass losses of songbirds through habitat loss was unknown, an unseen threat. TODAY, we know these things.
- We know we need to protect fragile, pristine coastal barrens that support thousands of migratory birds of all types on their journeys.
- We know the complex ecological interrelationships between the freshwater recharge characteristics of the granite barrens and coastal marine nurseries.
- We know that the chemicals sprayed on golf courses cause cancer and algal blooms.
- We know the public representatives, the park planners, and the governments that kept Owl’s Head protected were RIGHT. Owls Head deserves to be protected.
Successive governments had been doing the right thing. Owls Head had been safe …until Minister Rankin and Minister Wilson and the cabinet signed a Letter of Offer to sell our land for golf courses. Shame on them. Shame on their arrogance, on their short-sightedness, and greed. Shame.
Stop the sale. Protect Owl’s Head Provincial Park. Yeah, I said it, Owl’s Head Provincial Park.