Res­i­dents wor­ried about fu­ture of bio-di­verse land on the South Moun­tain

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPECTATOR TUPPERVILLE, N.S.

Bev Wigney knows about plants and an­i­mals and ecosys­tems. Right now she’s wor­ried about the fu­ture of a sec­tion of bio-di­verse crown for­est that’s up for har­vest un­less res­i­dents can con­vince the Depart­ment of Lands and Forestry oth­er­wise.

In a let­ter to Pre­mier Stephen McNeil she said the pro­posed har- vest is wrong con­sid­er­ing the land’s eco­log­i­cal and his­toric value, and be­cause its al­ter­ation is likely to pose con­sid­er­able risk as­so­ci­ated with ero­sion and wa­ter out­flow.

She de­scribed the for­est as a place where peo­ple hunt, gather mush­rooms, go for walks, or spend time bird­ing and ob­serv­ing na­ture.

“There is a his­toric pioneer road along one side, be­tween the for­est and Spurr Brook, lead­ing back to an open area known as Ha­ley’s Meadow, with a scenic still wa­ter where lo­cal peo­ple go to fish for trout” she told McNeil.

Wigney has de­scribed the land as be­ing at the top of a high ridge above Spurr Brook, and over­look­ing the An­napo­lis River, roughly across from Belle Isle Marsh to the north.

“It is es­ti­mated that the ridge was prob­a­bly last logged around 1970,” Wigney said. “There are some won­der­ful large trees up there - quite a few hem­lock, and east­ern white pine, and a scat­ter­ing of large white and yel­low birch, and a few su­gar maple.”

She said most of these large trees would have value mainly for wildlife.

Ero­sion wor­ries

“If the for­est at the top is logged off, all of the wa­ter cur­rently mit­i­gated by the for­est, will have to go some­where,” she told McNeil in her let­ter. “With­out doubt, it will erode the hill­side, send­ing silt into Spurr Brook, and per­haps much more wor­ri­some, send­ing out­flow down the log­ging road to­ward the high­way be­low.”

Wigney, and many oth­ers along High­way 201 and in the area in gen­eral, have signed a pe­ti­tion ask­ing to halt the pro­posed Hard­wood Hill har­vest.

The man be­hind the pe­ti­tion is lo­cal res­i­dent Ran­dall Fred­er­icks who hoped to meet with McNeil Dec. 3 about Hard­wood Hill. As of Nov. 30 he had about 130 sig­na­tures. He and Wigney walked the land to­gether and Wigney doc­u­mented in pho­tos the trees and other plants, plus the plen­ti­ful ev­i­dence of wildlife.

“Es­sen­tially res­i­dents are con­cerned about es­pe­cially drink­ing wa­ter qual­ity and flood­ing is­sues if the road up to the site is fixed up and it’s cut,” Fred­er­icks said. “It’s slated as a par­tial har­vest at the mo­ment but what has of­ten been the case with par­tial harvests has been that part of it would be har­vested this year, part of it would be har­vested next year or a cou­ple of years down the road so that es­sen­tially it’s a slow clear cut,” Fred­er­icks said in an in­ter­view.

He said there have been ma­jor is­sues from a clear cut on pri­vate land by a lo­cal res­i­dent in 20072008 and those prob­lems con­tinue to this day.

Recre­ation

“We’re es­sen­tially con­cerned that a large num­ber of peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, at least three wa­ter­sheds, and at least 13 house­holds will ex­pe­ri­ence is­sues re­lated to this cut,” Fred­er­icks said. “The area has also been used for recre­ation over the years, es­pe­cially hunt­ing and fish­ing – fish­ing in the ad­ja­cent Spurr Brook – which is a con­cern for sed­i­men­ta­tion from the site.”

He said the land con­sists largely of or­ganic and fine soils.

“It’s not quite the coarse com­po­si­tion that you get on a lot of the South Moun­tain,” he said. “Even along the trail lead­ing up there’s some ero­sion that crops up, so our con­cern is if there is heavy equip­ment go­ing up and down it all the time, much of the hill will end up be­ing on the 201, which is the ad­ja­cent high­way, and caus­ing is­sues for ev­ery­one driving up and down the high­way as well.”

Wigney asked the pre­mier to scratch Hard­wood Hill off the list.

“To pre­vent risk of ero­sion­re­lated events and dam­age, and be­cause this is a place of much eco­log­i­cal and his­toric value, I ask that you have Hard­wood Hill re­moved from the list of crown land forests ap­proved for har­vest,” she said. “The for­est is worth more left stand­ing - for the in­tegrity and sta­bi­liza­tion of the ridge upon which it stands, and for the wel­fare of the wildlife and the peo­ple who live in this area.”

Fred­er­icks agrees with Wigney.

“Cut­ting this plot is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive from eco­log­i­cal and cul­tural stand­points but it is also very likely coun­ter­pro­duc­tive from an eco­nomic per­spec­tive,” Fred­er­icks said in his own let­ter to McNeil.

He said that so far the land has been flagged off and it’s been up on the Nova Sco­tia Har­vest Map Viewer but no­body in the com­mu­nity re­ally knew about it un­til af­ter the com­ment pe­riod had ended. He said it’s not a web­site peo­ple re­ally know about and In­ter­net ac­cess is lim­ited in much of Tupperville and Round Hill.

The Depart­ment of Lands and Forestry said Fred­er­icks’ let­ter and pe­ti­tion will be con­sid­ered dur­ing the re­view and de­ci­sion­mak­ing process for Hard­wood Hill’s pro­posed har­vest.

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

Ran­dall Fred­er­icks holds the pe­ti­tion he started to try to halt a pro­posed har­vest of 20 hectares of crown for­est in the Tupperville/ Round Hill area on the South Moun­tain. Hard­wood Hill is a bio-di­verse area and pop­u­lar for recre­ational pur­poses. Fred­er­icks and 130 or so peo­ple who have signed the pe­ti­tion are wor­ried about ero­sion, wa­ter runoff, loss of habitat, and sed­i­men­ta­tion in lo­cal wa­ter­ways.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.