News release

Sawmills Given Short-term Access to Western Crown Land

Sawmills in Nova Scotia are being given short-term access to harvest trees from the Western Crown lands.

The province is granting a six-month licence to 15 Nova Scotia sawmills to harvest about 185,810 green metric tonnes of fibre.

This decision will give the mills a chance to meet business demands.

"Given some critical seasonal pressures as well as those facing the industry in general, the timing of this is crucial," said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. "Sawmills have not had access to this land for a year and a half. With the spring thaw not far off, the dirt roads into our forests will soon become muddy and impassible. This gives the mills quicker access so they can begin harvesting timber."

Mr. Churchill said the licences correspond with the updated Western Crown Land Plan. The conceptual plan will guide the economic, environmental and social benefits from more than 80 per cent (1.5 million acres) of the province's western lands.

The updated Western Crown Land Plan is based on input from hundreds of Nova Scotians. It deals directly with future plans for the St. Margarets Bay area and a three-year Crown Forest Agreement with the Medway Community Forest Co-operative, which allows local communities to manage nearby forests.

The plan also calls for the province to explore opportunities for a Mi'kmaq forestry initiative with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs.

"This updated plan is a living document, not a final set-in-stone solution. It will be under constant review and we will continue to search for future improvements of managing Western Crown Lands," said Mr. Churchill.

Under the Crown Lands Act, the minister has authority to issue interim licences for timber harvesting.

For more information on the updated Western Crown Land Plan, visit http://novascotia.ca/natr/land/western-land .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province has granted a six-month licence to 15 sawmills in Nova Scotia to harvest about 185-thousand green metric tonnes of fibre from the Western Crown lands.

Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill says the mills now have an opportunity to meet business demands and have quicker access to the timber.

Mr. Churchill also announced he's releasing an update to the Western Crown Land Plan. The plan will serve as a guide for the economic, environmental and social benefits for the use of more than 1.5 million acres of the province's western lands.

The plan deals directly with plans for the St. Margarets Bay area, a Crown Forest Agreement allowing local communities to manage nearby forests, and exploring opportunities for a Mi'kmaq forestry initiative. with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs.

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