An Open Letter to a Review Board

The game sanctuaries and wildlife management areas of Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources is carrying out a controversial "evaluation" of the 26 game sanctuaries and wildlife management areas in the province. To learn more, you can visit their web site:

Dear NS Department of Natural Resources,

It is good to hear that you have extended the deadline for the public to voice their opinions on the status change of the sanctuaries of Nova Scotia. However, I would like to see the deadline extended to November 30, 2005 to give everyone (even those who spend only the summer in the areas in question) time to get their thoughts together and submit them to the department.

My main focus is on the Liscomb Game Sanctuary, but I would like to see other sanctuaries around the province retain their status, too. We need more of these wilderness areas, not less. And as I understand it, we are well below the national average for protected areas.

In your evaluation of the Liscomb Game Sanctuary, you have decided that "removing the sanctuary designation will have no negative impact on wildlife populations." However, since you cannot predict the future of Crown Lands around the province, I would say that you are wrong.

First, Crown Lands are open to companies who want to log, mine or develop. All of these activities have a negative impact on the wildlife.

Second, at this time, big game hunters are not allowed to hunt in the Game Sanctuary. If it were Crown Land, they would have that option. Killing one animal has a negative impact on the wildlife population.

I used my common sense to come to these conclusions. I hope that common sense prevails when the department makes their decision, and the Liscomb Game Sanctuary will remain as a sanctuary.

Furthermore, the clear-cutting that is taking place in the game sanctuary should stop. Large sections of land have been stripped to the bone. Nobody can honestly say that the destruction of these areas did not have a negative impact on the wildlife that once lived there.

In a recent letter to Ms. Martin (Bay of Islands) from Tony Duke (Manager, Wildlife Resources), he wrote, "The Provincial forest inventory, updated with 2004 satellite images, shows that 27 per cent of the Sanctuary has been harvested within the last 25 years. Furthermore I am sure you would find that 25 year old clear cuts had regenerated to what most people would characterize as forested."

I see two things wrong with this.

First: 27 per cent of your house is a large portion when you would like to live in 100 per cent of it. Imagine living in only 80 per cent of your home while you waited 15 years for the damaged areas to be repaired. Imagine losing your prized possession during the destruction, and possibly a loved one. Then you can imagine the deer, raccoons, rabbits and pheasants moving from their familiar habitat to a new area when the humans moved in to take away their home. I would call that a negative impact.

Second: After 25 years, the clear-cut areas would be Ścharacterized as forested' to most. In other words, the land was stripped and left to fend for itself. Was there replanting done? I'll be not. Never have I seen trees planted in clear-cut areas on the Eastern Shore.

In the same letter written by Mr. Duke, he states, "Our sanctuaries and management areas were established for many different reasons but none of them was wilderness protection."

I take offence to this statement. What is trying to be covered up here?
I am not stupid, and even if I was, I have a dictionary: Sanctuary; noun: place protected by law where animals etc. can live without interference.

And I have access to past records (from the Nova Scotia Public Lands Coalition web site):

"The Nova Scotia government recognized the grandeur of this land in the 1920s with the establishment of the Liscomb Game Sanctuary. The intent was to Ścreate a game reserve (and) . . . a Provincial Park where tourists can enjoy beautiful scenery, fishing, and the greatest hunting of all, camera hunting' (Nova Scotia Dept. Lands & Forests, 1928 Report).

In order for the animals to be protected, the wilderness has to be protected. That is just part of the deal. No trees -- no animals.

Now is not the time to buckle under the pressure of big corporations.
Stand tall and show some true grit.

I understand that forested areas must be managed, but clear-cutting is not the answer. Methods that are less destructive are available. The local logging companies need to get with the times, even if it cost them more.

Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

In the years to come, the wilderness value of the Liscomb Game Sanctuary will be recognized and it won't be by selling the trees.

Diana Lynn Tibert
Milford, NS

Writer and horticulturalist Diana Lynn Tibert edited shunpiking magazine's spring gardening supplement in 2001. She may be reached at

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