Letter: Not How I Grew up in Nova Scotia

Contributed by a group member, in response to the public consultation about the government potentially designating 12 additional protected areas.

February 5, 2021

To: The Government of Nova Scotia

Congratulations on taking steps towards the permanent preservation of so many environmentally hallowed areas in our fair province.

This effort represents the culmination of years of work by so many and it will undoubtedly provide generations of Nova Scotians with access and understanding of the natural world we live in, right outside of their doorsteps.

Of course, this is but a drop in the bucket to what could ultimately be achieved in Nova Scotia.

Please indulge me, while I relay to you a story about how important it is to continue this effort to protect even more lands.

This past summer (2020), I had an exciting opportunity to bond with my teenage niece for a day… She just wanted to share a day with her uncle and get out of the apartment she lives in. I was overjoyed. (Some background about my niece – she has a plethora of health concerns and is highly susceptible to ailments.)

She hadn’t been outdoors, in the woods, on a beach, or near a shoreline in many, many months and she wanted merely to visit the shore and have a walk and picnic.

Well, given the COVID19 situation, it was tremendously difficult to find, let alone access, any provincial resource that fit into her dream for the day. We ended up turning away from many locations due to crowds and/or lack of access. It broke my heart. We did ultimately discover a little area down the Eastern Shore where I just pulled off the side of the road as safely as I could, where she could see and smell the ocean.

I cried after dropping her off later that day.

This is not at all how I grew up in Nova Scotia. I had access to beaches and shorelines for miles and miles. But, apparently, it is not the same anymore in Nova Scotia.

I would implore upon you to continue with these great efforts, but foremost, STOP developing coastal Nova Scotia and preserve what precious little remains.

It should not be our generation’s task to rob future generations of all the wonders of the natural world or the simple excitement and pleasure that can be had by visiting the shore or a remote and quiet beach.

Please elevate your Province’s Protection Area target numbers…current goals are embarrassingly insufficient and it’s even more dire for coastal areas.

Ecosystems also NEED Protection, as does humanity; if only, to take that peaceful stroll along a beach with our future.

P.M.

In order to ensure that these 12 sites formally protected, please submit your own feedback here.


Editor’s Note: “Canada’s Ocean Playground” may become a misnomer if Nova Scotians continue to lose their public coastal access. Whether it’s rocky shores or sandy beaches, these areas support tourism, recreation, biodiversity, and our identity as a province.

We are very happy to see that the government has Nova Scotia has stated their intention to protect coastal areas such as Dunns Beach Provincial Park, Eastern Shore Islands Wilderness Area (expansion), and Pomquet Beach Provincial Park. Nevertheless, there are nearly 200 provincial park reserves, nature reserves, and wilderness areas that still haven’t been designated (formally protected). Many of these properties are coastal and could easily increase the percentage of coastal land that is protected in our province.

Increasing pressure along coastal areas from various interests including natural resource extraction (mining, forestry and fishing) and real estate development, both of which result in the acquisition and development of large tracts of property, is producing a fragmented and patchy pattern of public/private ownership along much of Nova Scotia’s coastline.

The result of this fragmentation is that over time many of the traditional public access routes and resources that have been enjoyed for generations are becoming discontinuous and blocked.

Coastal Access In Nova Scotia Understanding Inventorying & Analyzing (2004)

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