NRR’s Line in the Sand

Picturesque Annapolis Co. 2017. Annapolis Co. has a high proportion of Crown land which has been subject to intensive and extensive harvesting (View Post Jan 8, 2019) NRR’s defence of their line in the sand at Beals Meadow makes no reference to landscape level planning for biodiversity conservation – a major issue in relation to the Beals Meadow site, as cited by Nina Newington on Dec 3, 2021.

Also View Current Issues/AP068499 Beals Meadow: Some history in posts, news articles etc

Early on, in fact on Day 2 of the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Encampment /Protest, a senior bureaucrat at Nova Scotia Natural Resources and Renewables stated clearly they were not about to change direction in regard to Crown land block AP068499 Beals Meadow. The position was reiterated by NRR Minister Tory Rushton on Jan 12, 2022 using much the same language.

It was the second such line drawn in the sands of Annapolis Co. since Prof Lahey released his report on Aug21, 2018. The first was at The Corbett Lake Old Hardwood Forest in 2019 under the Liberal government with Iain Rankin as Minister of Lands and Forestry. That was also the site where the Women of Annapolis County/Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia staged their first encampment to block logging on a Crown land parcel.

The more that was learned about that site, the more reasons there were for protecting it, but the government remained entrenched in its position.

Is that recent history about to repeat itself?

On this page:
1. Excerpts from a CBC news item on Dec 3, 2021 citing NRR’s position as stated by a senior bureaucrat
2. A letter from NRR Minister Ruston to Seth Levinson on Jan 12, 2022 reconfirming the position and rationale of Dec 3
3. Seth Levinson’s letter to the Minister on Dec 3, 2021
4. Comments by Nina Newington on Dec 3, 2021 and on Jan 20, 2022 on why they are blocking the logging at AP068499 Beals Meadow

Sources are cited. Some paragraphing and bolding are inserted to facilitate reading these docs on the web.

1. Cited in CBC news item by Michael Gorman on Dec 3, 2021

An Annapolis County resident is trying to draw attention to a pending cut on Crown land in a bid to stop it, but an official with the province says that cut actually represents the future of forestry in Nova Scotia.Randy Neily and a group of supporters are highlighting the planned cut of about 24 hectares in an area situated almost evenly between Roxbury and Albany, not far from Highway 10 in Annapolis County.The work will be conducted by WestFor Management, a consortium that works on behalf of 12 sawmills.

Neily said in a phone interview Friday that the land that he’s been frequenting since he was a boy, and is near his camp, serves as a wildlife corridor.He’s unhappy the cut, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks, was approved by the Natural Resources Department

…Neily said he saw evidence of moose in the area in the 1990s. More recently, he’s seen evidence of pine marten and wood turtles.”They say, on one hand, that they’re trying to protect some areas and leave some core areas, but then they’ll turn around and [are] rubber stamping licences to WestFor to go around and harvest. It’s hypocrisy at its best.”

…But an official with the province said that isn’t what’s happening. Ryan McIntyre, a registered professional forester with the Natural Resources Department and the resource manager for the province’s western region, said only 30 to 35 per cent of the trees on the land will be removedand it will be done using a “light-touch” approach

...McIntyre said the site is not considered a wildlife corridor and, if it were, provincial biologists would have flagged it during the assessment process that happened before the cut was recommended to the minister for approval.”Even if there were, where this is such a light-touch approach — you’re maintaining structure, you’re maintaining the ecological integrity of the site — this is the type of mixture of conservation and forest management that we want to see going forward.”

…”This site and this prescription…aligns with the Lahey recommendations.”

2. Minister Rushton on Jan 12, 2022

Wrote Minister Rushton on Jan 12, 2022 in response to a letter from Seth Levinson on Dec 3, 2022. SOURCE: Post by Seth Levinson Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology Facebook Page on  Jan 16, 2022

I am responding to your email of December 3, 2021, regarding harvest plan AP068499 Beals Meadow on Crown Lands in Annapolis County.

Forest Management on Crown lands in Nova Scotia works to identify and integrate social, environmental, and economic values when reviewing and approving proposed activities including management of wildlife habitat for species at risk, identifying and conserving protected areas, and harvesting of forest products. These interconnected values are reviewed in detail during an Integrated Resource Management review process.

Department of Natural Resources and Renewables resource management professionals review every proposed harvest plan as part of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) review process and determine if the plan is appropriate and meets all requirements for operating on Crown lands.

The IRM team considers many things including: the provincial strategic forest management plan, property lines and land ownerships, adjacency to protected areas, wildlife habitat, wetlands, forest maturity and old growth, geological information, known recreational activities, areas of significance to Mi’kmaq, and requirements for Special Management Practices (SMP).

[As] AP068499 Beals Meadow is not known to involve occurrence records of Mainland Moose or Wood Turtle, Special Management Practices have not been triggered, nor does it involve identified core habitat (which identifies specific habitat that must be managed in particular ways for recovery once regulations or agreements are developed).

American Marten is not listed under the Endangered Species Act in mainland Nova Scotia and is only protected within Cape Breton at this time, although no records for the species exist in the area of concern. If species listed under theEndangered Species Act are observed, they should be immediately reported with coordinates and photos (if available) to

This harvest plan has an approved prescription of Uniform Shelterwood, which prescribes the removal of 30 to 35 percent of the trees with a goal to leave long-lived, shade tolerant species such as White Pine, Red Oak, Red Spruce, and Eastern Hemlock.

A Uniform Shelterwood prescription aligns with the new Silviculture Guide for the Ecological Matrix and Lahey recommendations as it maintains forest structure that supports eco-system and biodiversity processes by retaining more than 60 percent of the forest canopy. It creates and fosters a multi-age forest by creating multiple age cohorts within the stand and encourages establishment and regeneration of a variety of shade tolerant Acadian Forest tree species.

Any future harvest in shelterwood treated stands will be determined based on the results of the pre-treatment assessment at that time. It is not predetermined that a follow-up treatment will result in an even-aged stand.


Original signed by Tory Rushton
Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables


3.  The Letter from Seth Levinson on Dec 3, 2021
SOURCE: Post by Seth Levinson Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology Facebook Page on  Jan 16, 2022

Date: Fri, Dec 3, 2021 at 12:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: Last Hope Wildlife Corridor at Beal’s Brook
To: Minister, Lands and Forestry <>Dear Minister Rushton,

I wanted to express my support for efforts underway to protect the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor at Beal’s Brook area from logging

Why? Three species officially supposedly protected under the endangered species act along with countless other birds and mammals are being threatened. This is a critical habitat, already surrounded by clear cut. Where can wildlife go? They need that small strip of land. Hugely more than we need more toilet paper.

Mr. Rushton, I’m asking for your support to reverse your decision about this logging project.

Likely you’re familiar with the back story of this matter but in case you’re not:
Twenty two years ago, Randy Neily, a 7th generation resident of Annapolis County, persuaded Bowater Mersey to preserve this patch of forest between Eel Weir Lake and McEwen Lake because of its high value to wildlife.

Now Westfor wants to log it. While they are not planning to cut all the trees in this parcel at this time, their extraction routes and cutting will destroy its value as a wildlife corridor. What’s in it for Westfor? 24-hectares, comprised mostly red oak and some white pine. The value of the lumber they hope to get pales, when compared to the ecological value of this one patch of 80-year old forest surrounded by clearcuts.

This is a critical corridor that allows wildlife to move safely, away from humans, from one area to another. And they need to be able to move to find food, shelter and safety.I, and many others, believe it’s not too late.The forest is still standing. It is even more valuable to wildlife now than it was twenty years ago because there is so little mature forest left. Just this last year another clearcut was done on private land right next to this parcel. Where are the wildlife that need bigger trees supposed to go next?Endangered species are meant to be protected by law but the government has not followed its own rules. Seventeen years later, it has finally published its Mainland moose recovery plan but the plan does nothing to stop the logging of critical habitat.

Moose are still seen in this area. So are two other endangered species, the Wood turtle and the Pine Marten. The government even made an effort to reintroduce the Pine Marten, tagging them right in this very forest. Now our government is allowing the destruction of this last bit of their habitat.
Enough is enough. Wildlife needs this forest. We need this forest.

Please do what you can to halt this most recent attack on wildlife and forest habitat in our province.

If you’ve made it through this lengthy appeal, I thank you. I appreciate your time and attention a great deal.

Seth Levinson, Eastern Shore

4. Comments by Nina Newington on Dec 3, 2021 and Jan 20, 2022

Dec 3, 2021. SOURCE: Post On Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia Facebook Page Dec 3, 20210

This photograph is a view of the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor from a neighbouring clearcut.In a CBC article this morning about the protest happening at this site against the planned logging of this 24 hectare parcel, the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables spokesperson sang the praises of the proposed 30% Shelterwood cut. It is quite true that leaving 70% of the forest is a retention level that fits with the ecological forestry the Lahey report recommends for the majority of crown land, especially if the usual clearcutting sequel to a Shelterwood cut, Overstory Removal, does not take place.

The real question is not how should this parcel be cut but should it be cut at all? This article does not mention the fact that Bowater-Mersey left this parcel alone when they were cutting everything else in reach because of its value to wildlife. Has wildlife recovered in the intervening years? Hardly.

Did the provincial biologists who signed off on this harvest actually go out to the site? Did they talk to the neighbouring landowners, hunters and trappers who are deeply knowledgeable about this land? Did they talk with any Mi’kmaw people with traditional knowledge of the land? Or did they sit at their desks to do the assessment? If they had gone to the site, would they have taken into account the ecological degradation of the surrounding lands or would they only have focused on the parcel to be approved?These are real questions.

The heart of the issue is how the decision was made that this forest was available for harvesting. The Lahey report and review point to the necessity for landscape level planning. In other words, before you decide if one particular parcel should be approved, there needs to be a planning process to decide which areas must be protected because they are important to the ecological health of the whole.

Protecting and restoring ecological health is supposed to be the overarching priority. A 30% Shelterwood cut might well be appropriate in an area where harvesting is acceptable (assuming no one plays games by, for example, failing to count the trees cut to create extraction routes as part of the 30%) but that is neither here nor there if the area should not be cut at all. That is the case with the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor. It will be the case with many other areas recently identified as core moose habitat. We need an immediate moratorium on all harvesting on public lands until this long overdue landscape level planning has happened.

Jan 20, 2022
SOURCE: Post On Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia Facebook Page Jan 20, 2022

Day 50 at the Last Hope camp

We have been camped out since December 2nd — seven full weeks — protesting the proposed cut of a 24 hectare forest here by Beal’s Brook in Annapolis County. Although we have not had any response from our government, more and more people are stepping up to support our action, in practical ways and also by calling and emailing their MLAs, Tory Rushton, the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables and Tim Holman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The MLA for this area, Carman Kerr, says forestry issues are by far the number one topic constituents are contacting him about. But still there is no response from the provincial government besides a form letter some people have received. Do they think we will just go away?

Campers from 77 to 24 are enduring snow storms and frigid temperatures. We are here because we can no longer stand by and watch the destruction of more vital habitat for wildlife. We are not planning on packing up and going home to our beds, much though we might like to…

Below is a letter one of us just sent to the premier, Tim Houston. Please write to him too. re Harvest ID AP068499

Thank you for committing to protecting 20% of Nova Scotia’s lands and waters by 2030. You also committed to implementing the recommendations of William Lahey’s Forest Practices Report by 2023. Your Department of Environment and Climate Change is working hard to identify areas to protect. This work is essential to meeting both these commitments.

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables needs to work with DECC to determine which areas of crown land are off limits to harvesting (protected), which are available for ecological forestry (the ecological matrix) and which are available for high production forestry.

It makes no sense that cutting is proceeding on crown land as if all of it is available for harvesting when that is patently not the case. In order to meet the 20% goal, a further 330,000 hectares must come under protection. Unless your government plans to spend a great deal of money buying private land, most of those 330,000 hectares will come from crown land.

If you are sincere in the commitments you have made and enshrined in the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, you will ensure that harvests planned for areas that should be protected are halted. Fortunately, your minister, Tory Rushton, has committed to reviewing all unexecuted harvest plans to ensure they adhere to Lahey’s guidelines. All that is missing, then, is to make it crystal clear to Mr. Rushton that it is impossible to follow Lahey’s recommendations without first identifying the different areas of the triad.

Nova Scotians are sick of promises to end the destruction of our forests. This is particularly true for those of us who live in rural areas. Industry seems to be after the last fragments of good wildlife habitat. Consider the protest against the proposed cutting of 24 hectares of forest near Beal’s Brook in Annapolis County. People have been camped out through snow storms and frigid weather for 7 weeks. They are not going away. Local residents are mobilizing in support, delivering meals and firewood.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are upon us. We are frightened and we are angry. We need action.

Please, set your government apart from all previous ones. Do what you said you would do. Act now. To show your good faith, begin by halting the harvest of the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor at Beal’s Brook (Harvest ID AP068499).

Nina Newington