We began talking about what this meant for the continued health of the mountain as we had concerns that clearcutting would affect the vistas and creeks, create erosion and more blowdowns, and displace the resident wildlife. A few of us talked about what we might do about it.
In late October, Minister Mike Holland announced a Federal/provincial partnership to increase conserved lands in New Brunswick to 10% of the province’s landbase. Minister Holland said that, for the first time, the department was working with long-standing conservation groups in the province to identify potential sites. We contacted him immediately to say Water & Environmental Protection for Albert County (WEPAC) would submit a nomination for Shepody Mountain and we invited him to attend a small meeting with adjacent landowners.
Following this meeting, WEPAC submitted a formal request to protect 700 hectares of Crown Land on Shepody Mountain under the Canada Pathway to Target 1 program.
We have a number of factors working in our favour, but the first one is critically important for success:
Community support: Being able to quantify the level of community support is essential, so we’re soliciting letters of support from local organizations and groups. We’ll also circulate a petition to be presented in the Legislature in February. As well, Minister Holland said that it’s particularly impactful when individuals send a brief personal email or phone call, indicating their support for the nomination and why. “It doesn’t have to be formal or long,” he said. “Just a few personal words will suffice.”
Connectivity: When Crown lands are situated close to other protected areas, this improves the connectivity and chances for wildlife corridors between them. Shepody Mountain is in close proximity to Caledonia Gorge Natural Protected Area, Ducks Unlimited protected marshlands, and Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. As well, the marine environment is designated as protected by DFO. If the neighbouring private landowners are also committed to sustainable harvesting, this gives greater effectiveness to the protected lands, as they’re surrounded by healthy, vibrant forests.
Cultural connection: Shepody Mountain is a solid presence in our community. It is within traditional Mi’kmaq territory and the first Acadian settlement was at its base. It’s a visible landmark and many locals say they feel a generational connection to it. Some hunt on its slopes, others hike, bike, ski or snowshoe it regularly. We’re collecting short stories and memories that illustrate this connection.
How you can help:
- Attend the public meeting on January 8, 2020, 6:30pm at the Riverside-Albert Rec Centre when we’ll explain the current situation, what we’ve done and plan to do next, the nomination process, and the involvement needed from the community. Minister Holland will be on hand to answer questions. (SNOW DATE Jan 9, Same time/place)
- Send a letter or email of support for the nomination to Mike Holland, or call and tell him yourself. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org; office# 856-4961.
- Sign a petition or download the petition from the WEPAC website, then canvas your neighbours, friends and family. Completed petitions can be dropped off at any signing location BEFORE JANUARY 31, 2020, or brought to our community meeting. Petitions will be placed at the following locations for signing: Crooked Creek Convenience (Riverside-Albert) or Cooke’s Quik Mart or Irving (Hillsborough), or Fundy General Store (Alma).
- Write a short story or memory of Shepody that illustrates your connection to it or experience on it...maybe a special hike, or family memory, a snippet of history or how, when you crest the hill at the Hopewell Rocks and see its forested slopes, it signals that you’re almost home. Leave your story in the comments below, on our website or send your stories to email@example.com
- Talk about this with others who may not have internet access and encourage them to show their support.
- Check our WEPAC website (wepac.ca) or Facebook page for updates on our progress, or contact us to see how you can help or get on our mailing list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Share news on social media and get the conversation going!