The Nova Scotia provincial government has made a commitment to protect 12% of Nova Scotia’s landmass by 2015—see this web site for details. If you have ever hiked the Cape Mabou Trail System, you know how vital it is that this trail system and the lands it crosses be permanently protected. Please consider participating in a letter writing campaign to respectfully request inclusion of the unprotected parts of the Cape Mabou Trail System in the 12% protection program.
The Cape Mabou Trail System crosses a variety of lands on Cape Mabou. Some of these have been given to the Nature Conservancy and similar groups to be held in trust for permanent protection. Others, however, are still private lands; some of the owners have given permission for the trails to cross their lands while others have not formally done so. It is very important that these parts of the trail system become protected.
If you are interested in participating in this campaign, please write to Minister Sterling Belliveau, the Minister of the Environment, at email@example.com. Phrase the letter using your own words; please do not copy the examples below, but use them as a model and detail your own experiences on this gorgeous trail system.
Dear Mr. Belliveau,
As an avid user of the Cape Mabou trail system (in Cape Breton between Mabou and Inverness), I'm writing to ask your office to seriously consider protecting some of the private lands that make up this extraordinary trail system. Since your department is aiming to protect 12% of Nova Scotia by 2015, these lands should be near the top of your list. As you probably know, this is an undeveloped coastal area with no coastal road, so it gives hikers a rare chance to experience nature quietly. A few years ago when I was hiking on the Sight Point Trail I heard pilot whales in the water before seeing them. Many local people enjoy these trails, and they are also incredibly popular with tourists.
If you need any more information about the Cape Mabou trails, the person who designed many of them and who maintains them is Ian Sherman in Inverness. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org (unless he's recently gotten high speed!) and his phone number is listed.
Dear Minister Belliveau:
Since discovering Cape Breton in 2001, I have spent many happy hours on the extraördinary Cape Mabou Trail system (in Cape Breton along the coast between Mabou and Inverness, extending inland across parts of Cape Mabou), the finest trail system I have hiked anywhere and a tribute to the superb engineering and environmental skills of Ian Sherman of Port Ban. I have come to love Cape Breton for its people, traditional music, and gorgeous scenery and now spend a quarter of the year there. Except for last year, when the system was closed due to the danger from fire and falling dead trees, I have, over the years, hiked the entire system and most of its outstanding trails many times. You can find photos of the area on my web site; these photo essays are particularly relevant:
though there are many other photos of Cape Mabou in the various other photo essays and in the hiking section of my web site and I have many more in my collection of photos of Cape Breton’s gorgeous scenery (which now numbers about 50,000 photos), some of which I hope to add to my web site in the future.
As I’m sure you’re aware, this trail system crosses some lands which have been set aside for preservation by groups such as the Nature Conservancy, but it also traverses private lands, some of whose owners have given permission for the trails and others of whom have not formally done so. Since the Nova Scotia government has committed to protecting 12% of Nova Scotia’s land by 2015, I urge you to include those parts of the trail system that are currently unprotected in that 12%; they should be at the very top of your list. If you have not yet had the great privilege of hiking on this system, come spring, please get in touch with Ian Sherman […] and have him give you a tour of this stupendous trail system, one of the most prominent jewels in the crown of Cape Breton’s glorious scenery, and one which attracts hikers to Cape Breton from many parts of the world—I have, during my time on these trails, run into folks from all over the US and Canada, but also some from much further afield—Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, France, Germany, and Switzerland among others. It is imperative that all of this trail system become protected and be preserved for future generations and I therefore respectfully urge you to include it in your preservation efforts.
Victor Maurice Faubert
On 2010 March 19, I received the following letter in the post in response to the e-mail I sent:
Office of the Minister
PO Box 442, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2P8 • www.gov.ns.ca/nse
Mar 12 2010
Mr. Victor Maurice Faubert
549 Frank Applegate Road
Jackson NJ 08527-4222
Dear Mr. Faubert:
Thank you for your February 2, 2010, e-mail expressing your desire to have lands associated with the Cape Mabou Trail system included as part of our government’s commitment to protect 12% of the provincial land base by 2015.
As you know, all of the coastal properties on the west side of the Mabou Highlands are privately owned. In Nova Scotia, most private land conservation is achieved through the efforts of private land conservation organizations such as the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The provincial government is actively supporting the work of these groups by eliminating policy and tax barriers to private land conservation. The province has also established the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, providing $23 million in funding to conservation organizations for the acquisition and protection of ecologically significant private lands through a cost-sharing arrangement. We recognize that protecting important natural areas on privately-owned lands is critical to achieving our 12% land protection goal.
Our government has also embarked on a process to identify opportunities on provincial Crown lands to add ecologically significant parcels of public land to our existing system of legally protected areas. I can tell you that the Crown lands in the Mabou Highlands, including those lands immediately adjacent to the Cape Mabou Trail, are being considered in that ongoing evaluation. Beginning in 2010/2011, government will be conducting an extensive, province-wide information and consultation process to review land protection options and gather public and stakeholder input into the development of a final plan for reaching our 12% objective. We would certainly appreciate your participation in that important public engagement process as well.
For additional information and news items related to the protection of natural areas in Nova Scotia, I encourage you to visit: http://www.gov.ns.ca/nse/protectedareas/.
Thank you again for your shared interest in preserving Nova Scotia’s rich natural and cultural heritage.Sincerely,
/s/ Stanley Belliveau