“60% of the Last Hope forest is now completely off-limits to cutting” 21Jun2022


– June 29, 2022 Update journalist Linda Pannozzo received from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables last week – go to the bottom of this post for a cc.
Protesters pack up with a win after camping in Nova Scotia forest for over 200 days
By Cloe Logan in the National Observer. June 23, 2022 “…The total harvest area is now 10 hectares, Steven Stewart, a spokesperson for the DNRR confirmed. The cut can still “proceed at the licensee’s scheduling discretion,” he said, and the company’s “harvest plan aligns with the department’s ecological forestry goals.” When asked if WestFor would be moving forward with the cut, Stewart said that’s not something the department can comment on…In terms of the cut being officially cancelled, Newington said campers feel confident it is no longer viable.”
Last Hope camp wraps up time at Beals Brook after province scales back planned cut
ETHAN LYCAN-LANG in the Halifax Examiner June 23, 2022 “…The protestors aren’t done, though. Last Hope camp will now become the Last Hope Campaign. The former campers will put their energy into educating people around the province on how to protect forest stands in their communities. This new chapter will teach people to identify at-risk species and the different types of trees, navigate the woods, and find harvest plans and cutblocks online, among other things. Essentially, this new phase will provide others with the tools to protect biodiversity and forest health in their own neck of the woods. “We know what’s going to happen if we don’t get engaged,” she said. “It’s going to be cut now and protect later.”
Province halts majority of planned cut in Annapolis Valley due to rare lichen
CBC News JUNE 22, 2022 ” Natural Resources said the remaining 10-hectare cut has been approved “to proceed at the licensee’s scheduling discretion.” WestFor Management Inc., the company that plans to carry out the logging, said it will follow the department’s ecological forest management guidelines at the site, “including accommodations for any species at risk that are required.” While the protesters are packing up, Newington said they’re not leaving Beals Brook for good. “We know our way here and we’ll be back,” she said. “We have a network now of sympathetic people in this area who come by the camp and talk to us and if need be, we’ll be back to protect this forest.” “Listen to Nina Newington’s full interview with Information Morning“.


To celebrate in the light of the longest day…

From Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia, June 21, 2022:

Day 202 at the Last Hope camp.This longest day of the year, we are celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day
we are celebrating the fact that 60% of the Last Hope forest is now completely off-limits to cutting. The map says it all.
Thanks to lichenologists and licheneers, 17 occurrences of three different Species at Risk lichens have now been reported to DNRR and the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre.With each occurrence getting a 100 m buffer around it, the remaining 10 hectare section of the original cut block is harder to access and even less appealing $$$wise.As a result we have decided it is time to pack up and go home. Tomorrow, Last Hope camp will morph into the Last Hope campaign.This does NOT mean we are walking away from this forest. We know ongoing monitoring is required.
— We’re grateful to have developed a network of sympathetic people in the immediate area.
— We are continuing to collect evidence of other species at risk in and around this forest (notice those four SAR bird observations on the map.)
— We will go on offering workshops here to help Nova Scotians build the skills needed to protect forests wherever they live.
— Last but not least, we will be back at the drop of a hat — or the clank of machinery — if need be. We know the way.Our commitment to protecting this forest is unwavering. As part of a larger drive to get the government moving on its pledge to protect 20% of our lands and waters by 2030, we are working on getting formal protection for an area that includes the forest by Beal’s Brook.It is time for us to broaden our focus. In order to have anything left to protect, all forests as old or older than Last Hope on ‘crown’ land should be put off limits to harvesting, road building and development. Now. It’s not complicated. But it is going to take people getting educated and getting active.That’s the Last Hope campaign: helping people all around Nova Scotia push for protection for the areas they care about.

It’s hard to understate what this group has accomplished, the wisdom they have brought to the discussion of issues around forests and forestry in Nova Scotia and ‘implementation of Lahey’, the inspiration they have given to the weary; their inclusiveness, all recognized when “District Chief of Kespukwitk [came] to camp with her infant daughter and her mother, bearing gifts, including a flag, the flag of the seven traditional districts of Mi’kma’ki”:

The flag flies over our camp on the spot the lumber company flattened and smoothed to receive the logs they planned to cut. A hundred years ago, on this exact spot, settlers built a hunting camp called Last Hope. Game was already scarce by then but here the moose were still plentiful. There are still moose here. They need this forest more than WestFor’s mills do. So do the endangered wood turtles and the rare lichens that have recently been identified in the proposed harvest block. Our commitment to protecting this forest has only deepened.

This is the comment made by Gary Metallic Sr on our January 22nd post about the District Chief’s visit on the Peace and Friendship Alliance Facebook group. He gave us permission to copy it:

“It warms my heart to see the 1st District Kespukwitk District Chief Marilyn Leigh Francis and her family and allies at your protection camp. Their visit is not to only be seen as a symbolic visit within their still Unceded 1st District homelands, but their presence at your protection camp means that you as the non Mi’gmaq allies protectors are there by their invitation which the N.S. Provincial government cannot label you as trespassers.

“Further it is their 1st Districts Original kespukwitk’s governing systems recognition of your commitment and sacrifices made for the protection of all the wildlife, fauna and waters in their Unceded Ancestral District territory.

“We the 7th District Gespegawagi Overseers Tribal governing system formed a similar alliance back in 2017 with the Quebec environmentalist who had also setup their Protectors River camp in our Gespégawagi traditional territory to stop an oil and gas company from drilling for oil near a salmon river. The Quebec govt tried to charge them for trespassing and dismantle their camp, they asked our 7th District Tribal council to write a letter to the Quebec govt that they were there at our invitation within our still Unceded 7th District homelands.

“Once that letter was sent to the Quebec govt they stopped their threats to dismantle the environmental protectors camp because they didn’t want an Aboriginal title case in the Quebec Superior court. Nice to see the Original Seven Districts Nation flag, find a high pole to tie it to, that flag that will fly at that camp affirms that it is on still Unceded Mi’kmaq lands, Welalieg.”

The story of our camp continues to unfold amid the big stories of Indigenous peoples re-asserting traditional forms of governance while colonial governments continue to approve the destruction of nature. And all the while CO2 levels are rising again. Along the way there are small gains. Thanks to the discoveries of a lichen enthusiast willing to wade through deep snow, a temporary halt has been placed on the proposed cut. The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables has promised a lichen survey of the whole block. They say it will be done this week, even though another 35cm of snow have fallen with as much again in the forecast for Friday. Presumably they are in a rush to lift that temporary halt they put on the cut. We’ll see what happens next. We’re not going anywhere.
From Day 60 at the Last Hope Camp (Jan 30, 2022), post on Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia Facebook Page

And they aren’t, just leaving the site to its natural inhabitants, unless the peace of the place is again threatened.

That’s a far different trajectory than the one that they were concerned about on Day 1 of the encampment.

Beals Meadow Eastern End, Close to planned harvest area. Mar20, 2022 (Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia)

March 8, 2022 (Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia photo)


For some history of the Last Hope Camp, see AP068499 Beals Meadow on this website.
“AP068499 Beals Meadow” is how the piece of land proposed for harvest is identified by our provincial government.

“Our camp is named after the historic Last Hope Moose Camp, built on this exact site. By the 1930s, moose numbers were already down in Nova Scotia, due to assorted settler activities, but there were still plenty of moose in this particular area. That’s why it was a hunter’s last hope for a supply of meat for the winter…”
– from Day 115 at the Last Hope camp

Also View: What the Last Hope forest encampment in Nova Scotia is all about: In depth with Nina Newington on Talking Radical Radio 8May2022


Last Hope Campaign – June 29th, 2022
This is the update journalist Linda Pannozzo received from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables last week:
“Earlier this year, the department was alerted to several occurrences of rare lichen and placed a temporary hold on the harvest. Since then, all occurrences of lichen reported to us have been reviewed by lichenologists and appropriate buffers of 100 metres have been applied to areas with confirmed sightings. The harvest plan has been adjusted accordingly. Now, the total harvest area is approximately 10ha (25 acres) and approved to proceed at the licensee’s scheduling discretion. The harvest plan aligns with the department’s ecological forestry goals. The prescription is High Retention Gap Irregular Shelterwood with the goal of creating and restoring multi aged forest conditions in this white pine/red oak dominated forest through targeted retention of these species.”
No surprises here but what does it mean?
First, DNRR has accepted all 10 Species at Risk lichen identifications Last Hope campers and friends added to the initial 7 confirmed by the lichenologist DNRR hired in mid-February. No apology here for the fact that the minister was willing to go ahead with the cut after that first survey. If we hadn’t camped out on that logging road for over six months the original plan to cut 24 hectares would have gone ahead. If we hadn’t organized workshops, learned how to identify some SAR lichens then spent many hours combing the forest, a much smaller area of the forest would have been covered by buffers.
As things stand, DNRR has agreed with our calculation that 60% of the original cut block is now off limits to harvesting. As for the other 40%, well, as far as the minister is concerned, it’s in WestFor’s hands whether to try to cut it or not. It is, in bureaucrat-speak, ‘at the licensee’s scheduling discretion.’ But the planned cut seems to have changed to a ‘High Retention Gap Irregular Shelterwood with the goal of creating and restoring multi aged forest conditions in this white pine/red oak dominated forest through targeted retention of these species.’
The original prescription — ‘Uniform Shelterwood’ — was touted as a fine example of ecological forestry. This new version must be extra ecological. After all, doesn’t it sound as if they would be doing the forest a favour by cutting it?
But this forest already has multi-aged forest conditions. They don’t need to be created or restored. It contains a lovely array of red oak and white pine from young seedlings to numerous trees around 80 years old as well as quite a few trees that seem much older including red spruce, red maple, beech and yellow birch as well as red oak. The only thing this forest needs is to be left alone.
Let’s be clear about this. Forests do not need forestry. They did and do just fine without human intervention.
People want some of the products of forestry: lumber to build with, paper, firewood. Workers want jobs, companies want profits, government wants tax revenues. But we also need a livable planet and that requires us to protect whatever healthy ecosystems we have left and to store as much carbon as possible as quickly as possible.
Is it possible to prioritize these needs and still get the benefits of forestry?
That depends on the state of the forests and the kind and amount of forestry we are talking about.
In Mi’kma’ki, in the 400 years since colonization began, the forests have been degraded by burning and cutting and cutting and cutting. In Nova Scotia, 60% of the soils were thin and acidic to begin with. This was made worse by acid rain. Then came bigger and bigger machines and the orgy of clearcutting that began in the early 1990s.
There are very few mixed age, mixed species forests with trees 80 years old and older left. That’s why a forest like Last Hope is precious. It is particularly precious when you see what surrounds it: a landscape struggling to recover from overcutting. True ecological forestry, forestry that makes the protection and restoration of ecosystem health the ‘overarching priority’ (in Lahey’s words), must start by looking at the whole landscape, not just this stand or that stand. Wildlife don’t wear blinkers, humans do.
Ecological forestry cannot exist without a planning process to decide which forests are available for harvesting and which are not. That landscape level planning — recommended by Lahey — hasn’t happened. As an interim measure, all forests 80 years old or older need to be put off limits to harvesting, road-building and development. They need, in government speak, to be placed ‘under consideration for protection.’ Instead, harvest plans are being proposed for many of the remaining older forests on ‘crown’ land.
DNRR can give ‘harvest prescriptions’ longer, fancier names. They can pretend they are doing the forests a favour by cutting them. So far, it is not the government but citizens who are protecting our forests so that we all have a future. It looks as if we will have to keep doing it. Update: Protesters at Last Hope Moose Camp declare partial victory and pack up seven-month encampment


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