NOTE: A social media version of this release, with hi-res downloadable photos, is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2013-02-28-Protected-Lands/. More photos and audio clips will be added after the event.
People in the province are invited to help define the final plan to manage and protect Nova Scotia's natural spaces.
Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker and Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage MLA Becky Kent, on behalf of Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau, released the draft parks and protected areas plan today, Feb. 28.
"Nova Scotia's natural spaces are among the most beautiful places on earth and we must protect them for those who come after us," said Ms. Kent. "This plan ensures we leave future generations a legacy by protecting the most sensitive and important lands in our province."
The plan also meets the goal of reviewing the province's parks system, which is included in The Path We Share, Nova Scotia's natural resources strategy.
The province would protect more than 13 per cent of its lands, surpassing its legislated goal to protect at least 12 per cent of Nova Scotia. Currently, about 9.3 per cent is protected.
"Our provincial parks are beautiful spaces that contribute to the quality of life for families throughout our province," said Mr. Parker. "They create jobs and help grow the economy, provide educational opportunities for students, provide places for relaxation and reconnecting with nature, and are home to diverse species of plants and animals."
"The government has been doing an outstanding job on its protected areas process," said Ray Plourde, Ecology Action Centre. "Protecting the most important areas for nature and wildlife conservation, as well as providing places for low-impact outdoor recreation, is tremendously important. We look forward to participating in this final round of public consultations and urge all Nova Scotians to do the same."
In the past several years, many people and groups, including Mi'kmaq, have been consulted at each stage of the 12 per cent plan and during research for the parks system.
"The Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia have a strong interest in conserving nature and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources," said Chief Rod Googoo, Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs. "The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs looks forward to working with the province to explore options related to Mi'kmaq use and shared management of parks and protected areas in Nova Scotia."
"It is very welcome news for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Nova Scotia," says Martin Willison, society president. "The areas that have been identified for protection were selected using a highly credible process, based in ecological science, that also involved consultation with the stakeholder community. In every respect, this is an excellent initiative."
Nova Scotians have until May 1 to review and comment on the document. Feedback will help shape the final plan.
For more information, visit www.novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Nova Scotians are invited to help define the final plan to manage and protect the province's natural spaces.
Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker and Cole Harbour- Eastern Passage MLA Becky Kent, on behalf of Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau, released the draft parks and protected areas plan today (Feb. 28).
The plan calls for the protection of over 13 per cent of the province's lands, surpassing its goal of 12 per cent by 2015 and enhancing provincial parks.
The public is invited to comment on the plan by May 1st. Details are available at w-w-w dot nova scotia dot c-a slash parks and protected areas.