Protecting our ‘gems’ for the future

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Forests are precious and deserve to be protected, while supporting the needs of all Nova Scotians.

While the government plays an important role in protecting our rich natural resources, residents are encouraged to leave a legacy for future generations.

Recently a local couple from Valley, Donald and Brenda Theakston, donated 54 acres of land in Askilton, Inverness Co. to the province.

This gift of property was appraised at $24,000 and is part of an important habitat for Atlantic salmon, brook trout and the wood turtle, which was declared a threatened species this year.

The couple said they hope this gift of land will expand the River Inhabitants Nature Reserve and preserve the bog, which has always been important to their family.

This selfless act will benefit countless species of wildlife, as well as provide additional recreation leisure areas for outdoor enthusiasts and we applaud this local couple for their generosity.

Along with this land donation, the Crown also recently acquired three additional properties.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Younger said the purchases were priced fairly and supported by independent evaluations.

They include Bella Island in Mahone Bay, home to the endangered piping plover and common loon and a habitat for migratory birds, for $800,000; more land on McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour, bringing provincial ownership up to 94 per cent, for $111,555; and well-managed forest land in Guysborough County that is needed for fibre in eastern Nova Scotia, for $559,255.

The purchase of Bella Island, one of few remaining privately owned islands in that community in a natural state, was done in conjunction with the Mahone Islands Conservation Association which contributed $250,000 to the initiative, leaving the provincial share at $550,000.

John Meisner, chair of the association said it is “a gem that must be protected.”

In addition, just over 1,100 acres of surplus forest lands were purchased from contractors in Annapolis and Antigonish counties.

We are fortunate in this province to have generous donors and forward-thinking officials throwing support behind land protection and enhancement programs. Let’s hope this trend continues to benefit all Nova Scotians from our recreational users to forestry contractors.

Organizations: Inverness Co., River Inhabitants Nature Reserve, Mahone Islands Conservation Association

Geographic location: Askilton, Mahone Bay, McNabs Island Halifax Harbour Guysborough County Eastern Nova Scotia Annapolis Antigonish

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