News release

Province Opens Roads on Western Crown Land

A social media release, with audio clips, is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2013-04-29-Crown-Lands/ . Hi-res downloadable photos will be added after the event.


The roads are now open to Nova Scotia's new Crown land in the province's western region, the former Bowater Mersey land.

"The land now belongs to Nova Scotians and it is important to us economically, environmentally and socially," said Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse, on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. "The lakes, streams and woods on this land were always accessible on foot or by paddling and we are now providing road access to vehicles, so long as they stay on the road."

The province purchased 555,000 acres of land from the former Bowater Mersey mill. Three large pieces of that land have 2,500 kilometres of forest roads that were blocked off by the previous owners. Thirteen road gates are now open, providing access to 1,700 kilometres of forest roads. Provincial Crown land policy allows Nova Scotians access to all provincially owned land, except where restricted for appropriate reasons, such as ecological protection.

"We're very pleased that the province has decided to open the gates on the former Bowater forest roads," said Tony Rodgers, executive director, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters. "Better road access to the land is something we've been hoping to see for a long time, and it will greatly improve opportunities for fishing and safe hunting."

Government worked with Nova Scotians to discuss sustainable plans for the land. Nine public open-house consultations were held across the western region to focus on ways to use the new Crown land for economic, social and environmental benefits. The consultation period ended April 19.

"With this expanded access will come much responsibility," said Mike Marriott, president, Safety Minded ATV Association. "These public lands, available for public use, will require everyone to respect them as we do our own properties, and to use them responsibly, safely, and leave the areas as we found them.

"What a legacy to leave our kids, who now will have the opportunity to carry on with preserving this jewel of Nova Scotia for future generations."

Some areas of the western Crown land are ecologically sensitive, and in order to protect it for future generations, they will remain off-limits to vehicle traffic. Some of the road gates are on private land, and will remain closed as the province works with land owners to determine if those roads will be opened in the future.

To view a map of the opened roads on the western Crown land, visit www.gov.ns.ca/natr .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The roads are now open to Nova Scotia's new Crown land in the province's western region, the former Bowater Mersey land.

Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse says the land now belongs to Nova Scotians and it is important to us economically, environmentally and socially.

She adds that the lakes, streams, and woods on this land were always accessible on foot or by paddling. There will now be road access for vehicles, so long as they stay on the road.

Some areas of the western Crown land are ecologically sensitive, and in order to protect it for future generations, they will remain off-limits to vehicle traffic.

For more information, visit the Natural Resources' website.

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Media Contact:

Bruce Nunn
Natural Resources 902-424-5239 Cell: 902-476-6454 E-mail: