1) How many gates are opened and where are they?
There are a total of 27 gates on the former Bowater lands. 13 are open to the public. The gates are located at various access points to the three main blocks of land - St. Margarets, Rossignol and Medway. Maps of the gate sites are available on the NR&R website and at regional NR&R offices.
2) How many stay closed and why didn't you open all of them?
Nine of the 27 gates remain closed because they are located on private land and were only used by Bowater under legal agreements. We are working with the land owners to determine which of these we might be able to open in the future. Another three gates remain closed because they protect sensitive moose habitats and were put in place for that purpose. Two gates in the Medway block will be locked while the Province completes the Parks and Protected Areas designation process.
3) How many kilometres of roads are there and is government going to maintain the roads?
Bowater system includes 2,500 km of forest roads and approximately 1,700km of those roads were opened on April 29, 2013. The province has dedicated additional funding for the maintenance of Crown roads and infrastructure.
Many of the roads are open; however roads that lead to sensitive environmental areas will be decommissioned to protect this wonderful natural resource for future generations. The more careful people are when they use the open forest roads, the longer they will last.
4) Environmental voices were opposed to this decision—what do you say to them?
We are protecting sensitive areas by keeping some gates closed and by erecting new gates or barricades, along with public education and local stewardship. We are working with local Off-Highway Vehicle clubs and anglers as some of the good stewards of the land. All motorized access is limited to the roadbeds.
All users need to help take care of all our Crown lands. The Department will work with local and provincial clubs and organizations.
5) Have you stepped up enforcement patrols to cover all these extra roads?
All users need to help take care of the new Crown lands. The Department is working with local and provincial clubs and organizations.
Our enforcement officials have identified these roads on their patrol schedules and ensure we have a visible presence. But it’s about stewardship and working with the community too. So we also have met with stakeholders such as local Off-Highway Vehicle groups and ATVANS (ATV-Association of Nova Scotia) to establish self-policing and future partnerships with their Trail Wardens.