#SaveTheMainlandMoose - January 2022 On-Location Reports
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Day 61 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: January 31, 2022

XRNS logo

"If you can do it peacefully and honorably, there is nothing more powerful than getting in the way of what damages the Earth - and it works."
Alexandra Morton, Salmon Protector

January 30th marked 60 days of camping out on the South Mountain near Beal's Brook, a few kilometres west of Highway 10, getting in the way of plans to log a forest, a forest Bowater Mersey spared 20 years ago, back when they were the ones clearcutting everything in sight. The Bowater pulp mill went under.

Ten years ago, Nova Scotians bought back these lands. They became "crown" land again, these unceded, unsurrendered lands. Six years ago, the province created WestFor and put them in charge of managing all the "crown" land in western Nova Scotia. Now they want to cut the forest that even Bowater spared.

Stars sharp in the dark, dark sky. Minus 25 outside, minus 5 in the old prospectors' tent at dawn. The fret of firewood; ice collecting on the eaves; the kindness of strangers who broke a path to camp in their big truck when we couldn't find anyone to plow 4km of logging road. The driver gave us the key to his house. Looked around the 10 x 12 tent three of us had been holed up in for days. Grinned.

"Like being kids," he said.
"Yes," we said.
"Don't need much."

He gave us cigarettes and booze, wouldn't take money for gas. Later, when he'd asked around and couldn't find anyone to plow us out, he texted, "Nobody has balls to attempt it except for the filthy few."

We filthy few. What happens when you go and get in the way in the place where damage is about to happen? You meet people. People who come to camp out. People who bring you firewood even though they have never supported a protest until now. People who make you meals. Lend you tents. Come and help put them up. Or simply stop their snowmobiles for a chat.

And people meet you. They see that you too are practical people. What we are doing is profoundly practical. We are camped beside this forest because we learned of the plan to cut it days before the cut was due to start. It was practical to get in ahead of the harvesting equipment. Practical - doable - and also wildly romantic. How will it end? No idea. We'll do what we can. Why? Because we must. Practical - actual - and also symbolic. It is always a story.

We make ourselves vulnerable to the elements, to chance, to strangers, to the government and its powers of enforcement. Who we are, what we care about is revealed. There is much we don't know. Mysterious strangers come to town and leave again.

A couple of days after the first big snow storm, a gray truck guns through camp and on up the unbroken road. Out of sight, it turns around and drives back through, no sign of seeing us. The contractor, checking whether our ally's tracks in the new snow meant we had pulled out? We've been told the contractor is dropping off a bulldozer. Equipment is coming in any day.

Instead, the District Chief of Kespukwitk comes to camp with her infant daughter and her mother, bearing gifts, including a flag, the flag of the seven traditional districts of Mi'kma'ki.

The flag flies over our camp on the spot the lumber company flattened and smoothed to receive the logs they planned to cut. A hundred years ago, on this exact spot, settlers built a hunting camp called Last Hope. Game was already scarce by then, but here the moose were still plentiful. There are still moose here. They need this forest more than WestFor's mills do. So do the endangered wood turtles and the rare lichens that have recently been identified in the proposed harvest block. Our commitment to protecting this forest has only deepened.

This is the comment made by Gary Metallic Sr on our January 22nd post about the District Chief's visit on the Peace and Friendship Alliance Facebook group. He gave us permission to copy it:

"It warms my heart to see the 1st District Kespukwitk District Chief Marilyn Leigh Francis and her family and allies at your protection camp. Their visit is not to only be seen as a symbolic visit within their still Unceded 1st District homelands, but their presence at your protection camp means that you as the non Mi'gmaq allies protectors are there by their invitation which the N.S. Provincial government cannot label you as trespassers.

"Further it is their 1st Districts Original kespukwitk's governing systems recognition of your commitment and sacrifices made for the protection of all the wildlife, fauna and waters in their Unceded Ancestral District territory.

"We the 7th District Gespegawagi Overseers Tribal governing system formed a similar alliance back in 2017 with the Quebec environmentalist who had also setup their Protectors River camp in our Gespégawagi traditional territory to stop an oil and gas company from drilling for oil near a salmon river. The Quebec government tried to charge them for trespassing and dismantle their camp, they asked our 7th District Tribal council to write a letter to the Quebec government that they were there at our invitation within our still Unceded 7th District homelands

"Once that letter was sent to the Quebec government they stopped their threats to dismantle the environmental protectors camp because they didn't want an Aboriginal title case in the Quebec Superior court. Nice to see the Original Seven Districts Nation flag, find a high pole to tie it to, that flag that will fly at that camp affirms that it is on still Unceded Mi'kmaq lands, Welalieg."

The story of our camp continues to unfold amid the big stories of Indigenous peoples re-asserting traditional forms of governance while colonial governments continue to approve the destruction of nature. And all the while CO2 levels are rising again. Along the way there are small gains. Thanks to the discoveries of a lichen enthusiast willing to wade through deep snow, a temporary halt has been placed on the proposed cut. The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables has promised a lichen survey of the whole block. They say it will be done this week, even though another 35cm of snow have fallen with as much again in the forecast for Friday. Presumably they are in a rush to lift that temporary halt they put on the cut. We'll see what happens next. We're not going anywhere.

If you would like to come and camp or otherwise support us, please email xrns[at]riseup.net. The easiest way to donate is by e-transfer to xrannaco[at]gmail.com. Forest Protectors is the name to use.

Links to some recent articles about the camp:

Finally, from this excellent short XR video, two thoughts: "We must go into resistance" and "Everyone is welcome and everyone is needed."

In rebellion,
XRNS / Forest Protectors
#ClimateCrisis #BiodiversityLoss #SaveTheForest

Day 60 snow covered forest

Day 60 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: January 30, 2022

Snowed in and the shoveling continues. It was nice to see the snow finally stop falling today, and the sun even made a small appearance.

In between bouts of shoveling, it's a great comfort to come into a heated tent and have a hot drink in front of the fire. It makes you wonder how any wildlife could survive these storms without the protection of these great trees we are protecting.

And it reminds you why you are here, and that it's not just to shovel snow.

Day 60 at Camp of Last Hope Day 60 Defending the Forest Day 60 so much snow

Day 59 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: January 29, 2022

Respect Existence Expect Resistance

This is the third intense storm in less than a month. We know that weather is not the same as climate, but we also know now that climate change is making severe weather of all sorts more likely. The climate is wobbling. Patterns are changing so fast that plants and animals do not have time to adapt. Cycles are going out of sync. The wheels are coming off the bus.

We know what we have to do. Slash fossil fuel use now. Protect and restore natural systems. Build resilience. But will we do it? This provincial government, like so many other governments, either does not grasp the urgency of the situation or is unwilling to act.

Instead of protecting remaining havens of biodiversity in the province, the government continues to green light cutting down forests as if nothing has changed. As if we don't need the best carbon storage technology we have: intact natural forests. As if forests and soils will tolerate more cycles of abuse. But one thing is clear. Between windstorms and droughts, flooding and fire, invasive pests and soil acidification, the forests that are being cut down now can't be counted on to grow back.

Business as usual is over, if we want a livable planet. That's why we are camped out here through blizzards and frigid temperatures. To save the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor, yes, but also to say enough is enough. We must save what we can so that nature has a chance. So that humanity has a chance.

Day 58 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: January 28, 2022

A still night, stars sharp in the dark sky, -25C at dawn on yesterday, the start of our ninth week here. Then sun all day. We were grateful for two more donations of wood including some very dry hardwood, at a time of year when anyone who relies on wood for heat, whether in a house or a tent, is likely to be eyeing their pile, wondering what February will bring.

The discovery of rare lichens in the forest we are protecting has brought more media attention. The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables seems to be in a hurry to get on with the promised survey of lichens in the rest of the parcel: they told the Chronicle Herald's reporter Francis Campbell that it will be done in the next week.

Respect Existence Expect Resistance Day 58 mug-up
Day 58 mug-up

Not that we are against the government keeping its promises, far from it, but this promptness seems surprising given that there are a couple of feet of snow on the ground and another foot in the forecast for this weekend. These are not, we have been told by an experienced lichen hunter, ideal conditions.

One of the lichens, Anzia colpodes, the Black-foam lichen, grows conveniently at eye-level from the ground, but the other two can occur much lower down the trunk.

This is not to cast doubt at all on the lichenologist tasked with doing the survey, but we do wonder why DNRR is suddenly in such a rush. They have put a hold on the proposed cut so the forest isn't going anywhere.

Nor are we. After eight weeks, our resolve is strong and our support is growing. Three snowmobilers stopped off to thank us for what we are doing yesterday afternoon. And the flag of the seven traditional districts of Mi'kma'ki, a gift from the District Chief of this area, Kespukwitk, flies over our camp to remind us all that this land we are defending is the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Mi'kmaw people.

Day 57 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: January 27, 2022

Good news from January 26! A temporary halt has been put on the plan to cut the forest we are protecting because some rare lichens have been identified here. This does not mean the forest is now protected and we can go home. Far from it. But it is a step in the right direction.

As people have learned about this forest so many are passionate to protect, lichen enthusiasts have expressed an interest in coming to see for themselves. One did so twice last week. In spite of deep snow, he found three kinds of rare and sensitive lichens growing on oak and maple near the swamps. They are each listed as Species At Risk and require "Special Management Practices" meaning, in this case, no cutting within 100m of each of these kinds of lichen.

Lichen temporarily halts cut Lichen temporarily halts cut

He reported his finds to the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre. As a result, the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables is putting a pause on the plan to cut until an expert it chooses can come out and confirm these findings. They are also going to survey the rest of the parcel for rare lichens. Once they have done that, DNRR could allow the cut to go ahead, just requiring the contractor to stay 100m away from each listed lichen.

With luck DNRR's expert will find enough rare lichens in enough spots that the government will realise that this forest really should be protected. Failing that, perhaps their finds will make it unfeasible to harvest this forest. But we won't know that until after the survey, and we don't know when that will happen.

So this is good news, but it does not mean we will let our guard down. We are as committed as ever to protecting this forest and that means no cutting here. So we will keep the camp going but we can relax a little until the survey has been done.

In case you are wondering, DNRR will draw their expert from a very short list of lichenologists, all of them well-respected. So we are not concerned about that aspect.

Next day, national coverage!
Rare lichen puts temporary stop to cutblock in Nova Scotia
By Cloe Logan | News | January 28th 2022
National Observer

We are concerned by how little care our government takes of Crown lands which are the unceded, unsurrendered ancestral lands of the Mi'kmaw people. We know that cutting would already have started in this forest and the lichens' habitat would have been destroyed if we weren't camped out here.

Did DNRR's biologists ever actually come out and visit this site? Or did they "look" at it from their desks? We now know this forest contains a lichen called Frosted Glass Whisker Lichen that only grows in mature or old growth hardwood forest. It is extremely picky about its habitat and extremely vulnerable to disturbance. How many rare and precious life forms are being destroyed while government after government allows the decimation of our forests? We cannot afford this carelessness any more. We must save what we can, while we can.

Here are some specifics about the lichens that were found. All are classified as Species At Risk:

Day 55 Last Hope Camp: January 25, 2022

XRNS defenders on the land Camper stokes woodstove Camper stokes woodstove

There are always projects at camp and people to help out.

The flag representing the seven traditional districts of Mi'kma'ki is flying high and proud now over our forest protection camp. Welalin again to the District Chief of Kespukwitk for this beautiful gift.

One way to help: Wishing you could help the folks at Camp Last Hope in Annapolis County but can't come camping? Then PLEASE consider making a financial donation! Running a camp 24/7 means expenses. Donations are greatly appreciated and will go towards things like: stove pipe, rope and spikes for tents, propane for cooking, first aid supplies and gas money for repeat campers. Every little bit helps! Please send your e-transfer to xrannaco [at] gmail.com which has been setup for automatic deposit - no password is required. Many thanks for your support - we truly appreciate it!

Day 50 Last Hope Camp: January 20, 2022 - Ages 24 - 77 stepping up!

Two activist campers Camper stokes woodstove

We have been camped out since December 2nd - seven full weeks - protesting the proposed cut of a 24 hectare forest here by Beal&s Brook in Annapolis County. Although we have not had any response from our government, more and more people are stepping up to support our action, in practical ways and also by calling and emailing their MLAs, Tory Rushton, the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables and Tim Holman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The MLA for this area, Carman Kerr, says forestry issues are by far the number one topic constituents are contacting him about. But still there is no response from the provincial government besides a form letter some people have received. Do they think we will just go away?

Campers from 77 to 24 are enduring snow storms and frigid temperatures. We are here because we can no longer stand by and watch the destruction of more vital habitat for wildlife. We are not planning on packing up and going home to our beds, much though we might like to.

For more letters, tips, addresses, explore our #SaveTheMainlandMoose Letters Page

Please keep sending the government the message that we are not alone: we need action now to protect our forests and all the life that depends on them. Start by halting the planned cutting of the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor.

Below is a letter one of us just sent to the premier, Tim Houston. Please write to him too.
Premier@novascotia.ca re Harvest ID AP068499

Dear Premier Houston,
Thank you for committing to protecting 20% of Nova Scotia's lands and waters by 2030. You also committed to implementing the recommendations of William Lahey's Forest Practices Report by 2023. Your Department of Environment and Climate Change is working hard to identify areas to protect. This work is essential to meeting both these commitments.

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables needs to work with DECC to determine which areas of crown land are off limits to harvesting (protected), which are available for ecological forestry (the ecological matrix) and which are available for high production forestry.

It makes no sense that cutting is proceeding on crown land as if all of it is available for harvesting when that is patently not the case. In order to meet the 20% goal, a further 330,000 hectares must come under protection. Unless your government plans to spend a great deal of money buying private land, most of those 330,000 hectares will come from crown land.

If you are sincere in the commitments you have made and enshrined in the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, you will ensure that harvests planned for areas that should be protected are halted. Fortunately, your minister, Tory Rushton, has committed to reviewing all unexecuted harvest plans to ensure they adhere to Lahey's guidelines. All that is missing, then, is to make it crystal clear to Mr. Rushton that it is impossible to follow Lahey's recommendations without first identifying the different areas of the triad.

Nova Scotians are sick of promises to end the destruction of our forests. This is particularly true for those of us who live in rural areas. Industry seems to be after the last fragments of good wildlife habitat. Consider the protest against the proposed cutting of 24 hectares of forest near Beal's Brook in Annapolis County. People have been camped out through snow storms and frigid weather for 7 weeks. They are not going away. Local residents are mobilizing in support, delivering meals and firewood.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are upon us. We are frightened and we are angry. We need action. Please, set your government apart from all previous ones. Do what you said you would do. Act now. To show your good faith, begin by halting the harvest of the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor at Beal's Brook (Harvest ID AP068499).
Nina Newington

Day 47 Last Hope Camp: January 16, 2022 - Thankyou!

Waking up to Lots of Snow

THANK YOU to all the many good folks who pitched in with donations to cover the plow fee and allow the forest protectors freedom of movement again!!

We are so grateful.

Being relatively isolated and snowed-in feels fine when you know there are hundreds of people supporting you.

It's an adventure for the spirit out there, so do be sure to contact Debbie (d.giffin[at]bellaliant.net) if you'd like to go visit during the day; it's a great way to find out how you can get involved and it is OH-so-good to connect with like-minded people who care.

Day 46 Last Hope Camp: January 16, 2022 - Rural Nova Scotians are saying "No."

Waking up to Lots of Snow Healthy eating - delicious salad

We earned our sausages yesterday, shovelling, but then so did lots of other people around province. Sounds like we were cozier than many who lost power. Camp life does make you appreciate what you have. Shelter, fire, food and water, but also good company, salad, an ample supply of cookies. And all the work that has kept the camp running. The coordinating and direction sending and email updating. Not to mention the meals and water and firewood and platforms and stoves and stove pipe bits that have been delivered. The tents that have been loaned. The truck that came in to pack the snow down last storm so we had a way to at least get a pickup out.

Nobody is getting paid to do any of this. People are stepping up like this because we are sick to death of the destruction of our natural world at the hands of industrial forestry. Most of us live in southwest Nova Scotia, home to some of the best remaining habitat for wildlife. These older forests are also what the consortium of sawmills known as WestFor has its sights set on.

Rural Nova Scotians are saying no. You can't have the last of what's left. We are sick of promises and no action. Sick of talk and log. Sick of seeing the forests that we regarded as our backyards being clearcut. Places people knew like the back of their hand become unrecognizable moonscapeswith a few pathetic clumps left for wildlife. Then the government has the nerve to claim we consented to this destruction because we failed to make a comment on an obscure, impossible to access with rural internet (another broken promise) website where harvests nobody has been told about are planned.

We do not consent. Stop cutting crown land until a proper process is in place. Forests are worth far more than the logs taken out of them. Decide what areas need to be protected, then work on how to harvest some lumber from other areas less destructively. That's where ecological forestry comes in. If a small proportion of areas are going to allow "high production forestry" then identify those areas at that point.

It's not rocket science. Stop cutting until we decide what areas should not be cut at all. In every corner of rural Nova Scotia, people who have known the woods around them their whole lives could identify areas that are most important to wildlife. That is what has happened here around Beal's Brook in Annapolis County. Local people who have hunted and trapped and fished here their whole lives sounded the alarm when they saw flagging go up. They tried to stop the harvest. Government told them it was too late. But it's not. The forest is still here and so are we.

It is too late for business as usual. It is time to save what we can.

Day 45 Last Hope Camp: January 15, 2022

Waking up to Lots of Snow Shoveling out from the storm

Safe and Fine!

We are safe and fine, eventful night at the Save the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp! Morale is high. Lots of snow, yup, lots of snow!

This is Day 46 of the encampment to protect this forest from logging.

This is public land, known to be a refuge for endangered species in a sea of clear cuts. NS government, stop the cut!

Show your support for the Camp of Last Hope to #SaveTheMainlandMoose!

  • Write letters to government: Addresses, samples, details
  • Donate funds for supplies
    Send etransfers of $ donations to keep the camp running to xrannaco[at]gmail.com
  • Get in touch to come camp or visit during the day! Contact Debbie at d.giffin[at]bellaliant.net to volunteer/camp/visit, or to donate supplies.
  • Explore Our Take Action Page
  • Visit / join our facebook group
Letter writing to Stop Clearcutting

Thanks to Amanda Bostlund for this excellent graphic!

Day 44 Last Hope Camp: January 14, 2022

Day 45 Last Hope Camp

Preparing for another snowstorm followed by frigid temperatures. Many hands make light work, much food makes happy campers.

Environment Canada, 9:11pm AST, Friday January 14 - Winter Storm Warning . . .

It is currently snowing in the Annapolis Valley and northern Nova scotia. The highest snowfall amounts will be over the Annapolis Valley and northern Nova Scotia (up to 50 cms).

Strong northerly winds in conjunction with the fresh snowfall will result in poor visibility in blowing snow and may cause utility outages and road closures. Wind chill minus 23 overnight. Conditions will slowly improve from west to east on Saturday.

Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Utility outages may occur. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays.

Winter storm warnings are issued when multiple types of severe winter weather are expected to occur together.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.

Wellness check by Conservation officers Defending Mainland Moose Corridor Defending Mainland Moose Corridor Defending Mainland Moose Corridor

Day 43 Last Hope Camp: January 13, 2022

Quarters were a little tight for three, sleeping, cooking and eating in the 10x12. But as the Conservation officers saw when they showed up on their 4 wheelers for a Wellness Check (thank you, guys), we were cosy.

Day 42 Last Hope Camp: January 11, 2022 . . .
Ongoing determination despite brutal conditions

Minus 16c this morning. The three of us bunked up in the prospectors tent last night, kept the stove going. Good thing we get along. Good thing we are here.

Monday night two sympathizers rumbled into camp in a couple of trucks, having packed down the snow enough for a pickup with good clearance to get in and out. They wouldn't even take gas money, instead brought gifts.

In the morning we had a rather different visit, if you could call it that. A bronzey grey Ford pickup drove right through camp and on up the hill. Three minutes later it came back through without stopping. This is distinctly odd behaviour in rural Nova Scotia. Our best guess is that someone connected with the logging company drove in to check whether we are still here.

Well, we are. Word is that the PC government is reviewing the way areas are chosen for protection. They have already committed to protecting another 330,000 hectares in addition to places that are on the proposed list. It is time to decide what area of our public land should be protected BEFORE going in and cutting them.

So here we are, shovelling snow and hauling wood, keeping camp going and building support as we go along. The forestry industry tries to claim it is only "Halifax activists" who oppose bad forestry practices but we can tell you that is not true. We all agree there is room for good forestry. That is not the issue. The issue is the wholesale destruction of the natural world that has gone on too long in this province.

There are more good jobs to be had in careful ecological forestry than in clearcutting the last areas of intact forest in Nova Scotia for pulp and chips. But first things first. If we don't protect and restore nature, good jobs are not going to help us. There are some places that should not be cut at all. The Last Hope Wildlife Corridor is one of them.

Day 41 Last Hope Camp: January 10, 2022 . . . All charges dropped from the first season!

2020 Moose Country Camp

Good news from the nine forest protectors who were arrested in December 2020 for refusing to lift the Moose Country Camp. (Two others were already on their way to the clink when this photo was taken.)

The criminal charges we faced for refusing to obey a court order were officially withdrawn today. In the words of our lawyer, "This means that the matter is no longer before the courts." We have no criminal records as a result of these arrests.

January 9, 2022 - Day 40 of dealing with the elements at Last Hope Camp.

save mainland moose habitat

More #SaveMainland Moose:

Day 39 Last Hope Camp: January 8, 2022 . . . Respect Existence or Expect Resistance!

Why Did we choose to go on camping during a major snow storm?

save mainland moose habitat save mainland moose habitat

Why? One answer is that you can't walk away from a bunch of tents with 40 cm of snow in the forecast and expect to find them still standing when you return. As it was, one tent did collapse in the night but it popped back up at 5am when the occupant shovelled it off. Then there was a spot of stove pipe repair. But all in all we came through just fine.

The bigger answer of course is that we can't go on treating the natural world as we have and expect it to pop back up over and over again. We have to recognize the danger we are in, all of us, human and non-human.

Clearcut forests in the area we are protecting are simply not regrowing. The poor, acidic soil loses more fertility each time it is over cut. Wildlife dwindles as more and more habitat is destroyed. Climate change is compounding biodiversity loss and vice versa. Natural systems are collapsing under the sustained pressure of greedy resource extraction.

It is time to save what we can. Remnants of natural forest like the Last Hope Wildlife Corridor need to be protected. Promises don't cut it any more. We need action. That is why we are camped out here, to say no, you don't. Enough is enough. Protect and restore nature. All of our lives depend on it.

Day 38 Last Hope Camp: January 7, 2022 - weather forecast - heavy snowfall warning

save mainland moose habitat save mainland moose habitat

The wind is howling around our tent, snow piling up. Inside in good company, we eat pizza and talk. Amazing delivery service out here, Melodie and Sandra!

"All good so far. 25-30cm of snow. Pretty windy. Oh and the power went out. Just kidding." - Nina N.

Day 36 Last Hope Camp: January 5, 2022

save mainland moose habitat

Mornings at camp are cold but beautiful (mostly). Nothing makes you appreciate the warmth of indoors like living outdoors. But being outdoors so much is good for more than avoiding COVID. You begin to root into the place. Your animal self learns the smells and sounds of forest and brook. At night, leaving the warm prospectors tent for your sleeping tent, you look up at the bare branches of the oaks, their remnant leaves dark against a starlit sky.

And because you are camped in that place, you meet people who are deeply, passionately attached to the land. They are happy we are here to protect the forest and the wildlife. These alliances are precious.

Day 34 Last Hope Camp: January 4, 2022

save mainland moose habitat

The Strange Valentines - Dear Mr Houston - video 2:39
This is happening under our noses - even though a thorough analysis and guideline exists in how we Nova Scotians should do forestry and still maintain enough for animals - they are not being implemented and the destruction continues. Dear Mr. Houston and colleagues, please take a moment to listen to our plea . . .

Visit our Letters Page for ideas, samples, addresses!

Day 33 Last Hope Camp: January 3, 2022

save mainland moose habitat

A welcome visit: Good cheer and conversation accompanied by home-made goodies!

"But the loss of good local news reporting is not a problem that will pass. When Saltwire laid off experienced journalists across the province a couple of years ago, it was a serious blow to democracy. How can government be held accountable when citizens don't know what is going?"

On the second rainy day in a row, a big silver truck pulled up. Three women stepped out into gelatinous mud. On went the kettle. They brought treats and good cheer and good conversation - once we could pull our attention away from Marilyn Cameron's home-made scones and haskap jam.

Marilyn talked about the successful campaign she helped create, No Farms, No Food, to prevent the rezoning of 400 acres of prime agricultural land further up the Annapolis Valley. Persistence and good media coverage were essential ingredients. Jackie and Roz weighed in with their own experiences.

Persistence we have, but media coverage is harder. All Omicron All The Time will presumably give way to better coverage of other critical issues. But the loss of good local news reporting is not a problem that will pass. When Saltwire laid off experienced journalists across the province a couple of years ago, it was a serious blow to democracy. How can government be held accountable when citizens don't know what is going?

Here in Annapolis County we had Lawrence Powell. He would have been out at this camp in a heartbeat, interviewing, photographing, following up with the Department of Natural Resources, getting WestFor's point of view. That's what he did when Extinction Rebellion and teams of naturalists stopped the proposed cut of old forest on the peninsula between Corbett and Dalhousie Lake in 2019. Larry's reporting was so thorough and so accurate we would refer to it when trying to remember the sequence of events.

Now, supposedly, Annapolis County is being covered by a Saltwire journalist based in Kentville, but we have seen neither hide nor hair.

The National Observer has done a better job of covering this story than the Chronicle Herald.

None of this is to dismiss the work of the excellent Halifax Examiner whose journalist, Ethan Lycan-Lang, has been on the ground here, covering this story. But it is not the same as having a local journalist whose turf this is.

On the other hand, Crystal Greene's article in Inca News about this camp was the first with in-depth Indigenous content and perspective. Progress is made in some directions.

In any case, we have to work with the world as it is, however much we would like it to be otherwise.

Emerging later from our nice warm tent we found the rain had turned to snow. Drifting quietly down, it had already covered the muddy ruts. Temperatures are dropping steadily. It is minus 5 right now and headed lower through the day. The road will stiffen back up. Spines too.

Protect Last Hope Wildlife Corridor