Saturday is our National and Nova Scotia Parks Day. It’s a day to celebrate and reflect on our Parks and Protected Areas (PPA).
CPAWS, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, released its annual Parks Report Healthy Nature Healthy People, yesterday and appeals to Canadians to Take Action and encourage the federal government to “put parks and protected areas at the heart of recovery” from Covid19, noting:
In June the federal government reaffirmed its commitment to protecting 25% of land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030, which is an important step. Now they need to invest in implementing this promise on the ground.
The recent global pandemic has forced us to consider the link between nature, human health, and economic health and to re-think our future. Investing in nature protection as part of recovery will help rebuild a healthier, more equitable and green society and economy.
Nova Scotia, meanwhile, has come close to achieving protection of 13% of our land area for wildlife and related recreational activities, but has been hesitant about the last steps towards that goal, even delisting one candidate area. From Once a leader in conservation, N.S. now falls behind, report finds by Katie Hartai in Halifax Today July 16, 2020:
Nova Scotia was once considered to be a leader in Canada for the creation of new protected areas, but in a new report, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) says that’s no longer the case.
…Caitlin Grady is the Conservation Campaigner for CPAWS-NS, and says Nova Scotia’s reputation for establishing protected areas has been damaged.
She points to Nova Scotia’s Parks and Protected Areas Plan which was finalized in 2013, but hasn’t yet been fully implemented. Grady describes the plan as a roadmap of all the ecologically significant sites in the province that are in need of protection.
“We are now in 2020, and a large number of those sites have yet to receive the designation they were promised,” she says. “The Nova Scotia government is really dragging its feet.”
Nearly 200 sites listed in that plan haven’t received legal protection, including Cherry Hill Beach, Sackville River-Lewis Lake, Giants Lake, and Economy River.
“Every day we delay completing the designation of these sites is one more day that they are vulnerable and don’t have the legal mechanisms to ensure their protection in the long term,” she says.
The provincial government’s secret delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan in March 2019, also earned Nova Scotia a failing grade in the CPAWS report.
As well there has been no mention by the NS government (including the opposition) about setting new goals in line with the federal goal of protecting 25% of land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
So… let’s celebrate our Parks and Protected Areas this Saturday AND take steps to ensure that future generations and all species can do likewise.