Nova Scotia L&F Minister Iain Rankin joins social media discussion about further cuts of Old Growth

This is progress of some sort. At least the Minister is communicating more openly with the public than his recent predecessors, so he is hearing from the mice out there and yonder and not only the Big Cats in his department.

The lead-in was M.L.’s post on the Healthy Forest Coalition yesterday “I was informed today, by a very reputable source, that there are additional forest stands of Old Growth that are up for harvest” – view NSFN Post earlier today (Dec 20, 2018) for more on it.

Sometime after I made that post and copied some of the comments, L&F Minister Iain Rankin joined the discussion with the comment:

Iain Rankin: I will let the IRM team do their work and consider all comments. Any old growth stands will not be approved.

That stimulated further discussion on the “Iain Rankin thread”:

AF: DNR and westfor have lost the trust of the people. show us the westfor lease agreement…tell us how much has westfor paid in stumpage. whithout a good understanding of the deal the public will never trust you.

NHe: it seems that the IRM team is travelling down the wrong path. The public should not have to review their work to ensure proper protection. Your hand is on the wheel Minister Rankin, please correct the course so the public doesn’t have to.
You have a huge heart and love the environment. Please initiate a review of the past years so You Can determine just how often this has happened in the past

SH: Yes Minister – the trust is gone. A.F. is right. The process for input has failed the people and the forest. This isn’t only about old growth it is about forests that are in our backyard that we care about and don’t want to see destroyed and hauled away on the backs of trucks to companies that are here today and gone tomorrow once they are done exploiting us. We can create jobs with restoration in mind. The IRM needs an overhaul and the WestFor lease needs to be terminated – not extended. I am not even able to get the names of the team. If they are so great and doing their job, why can’t we know who they are? Where are the people who are “on the ground” that is mentioned in the thousands of letters that we have received? Marcus Zwicker? Is he it? ———– Anything else with government is tendered – except WestFor and Clearwater – large political companies. This is favoritism. What they have done to our forest – and what this department has permitted is a cruel assault on nature. Yes – we support forestry – but not on the backs of displaced wildlife and destroyed eco-systems. The last SWNS survey on the mainland moose was done 17 years ago. When questioned they blamed weather. Over 6000 days have passed and they were not able to do a moose survey? All in all – it saddens me to think that this is happening in our province.

Iain Rankin: In fairness they didn’t review the stand I pulled for consideration, and it wouldn’t have made it through that review. The public input was enough for me to verify that it was an area of old growth, and to not waste resources with the IRM review. In the case of these mentioned above, just a reminder that it is the proponent that proposes a PTA, and it can be changed, conditions added (like all of the interim measures now are), accepted, or not accepted based on a review, such as Hardwood Hill. I know we all would like the forest management guide changed overnight but it does take some time to get right, and stakeholder review as recommended. We are making strides towards ecological forestry and I will be regularly checking in with the authors of the independent report.

BW to Iain Rankin – Thanks for explaining how this will work. I’m hoping that will be the case with the Dalhousie-Corbett Lake tract that just appeared on the list (Annapolis County). That is a forest on a sort of isthmus between two lakes where Annapolis County actually has a map of the “scenic canoe route” of the two lakes on its own website. To clearcut that area between the two lakes — part of it being Sugar Maple of what is coded as good sized trees — would totally ruin any scenic quality of what is a recreational area. I and others in our area are preparing submissions and letters and will be contacting our council members over the holidays. Hopefully we won’t have to spend a lot of time on this one as was the case with Hardwood Hill…

Here is a map in case you wish to take a look, Iain Rankin: I made this using a NS Forest map and have highlighted the two proposed cuts. For your reference, they are parcels AP068637B and AP068637D.

I should also add that, when searching for information on this forest, I found many references to the canoe route, and also to these 2 lakes on fishing websites, and to geocaches that hikers have placed in 3 spots along there and many other spots in the surrounding forest — so this is a well used recreational area.

S.R. to I.R.: I wonder if there is a possibility of adding a layer to the forest harvest map, that provides the boundaries of all the catalogued old growth forests as well as the ability to search by PID. Contractors and partners would able to see the areas they should just stay away from. The broader public could confirm the old growth forest is not at risk. It seems to me that all the elements are there, at our finger tips, but too many steps are involved in the processes. Due to the forest practices in far too many areas of the province, not being inspected, the risk of these forests being cut weighs heavily on the public, and the disconnect of available details feels like a waste of resources. It also seems wasteful for all our tax dollars to pay to employ people to do this work when the public appears to be doing all the scrutinizing of proposals.


This is progress of some sort. At least the Minister is communicating more openly with the public than his recent predecessors, so he is hearing from the mice out there and yonder and not only the Big Cats in his department.

That gives me some hope that he will start asking some tough questions of the Big Cats and encouraging open honest discussion and debate in his department with all levels participating… and likewise encourage staff to communicate more freely with the public.

In the end, we are all in this together.

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