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

Day 120 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 31, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Recovery Moose Plan Map of Nova Scotia Recovery Moose Plan Map - detail Map of Nova Scotia

Of maps and moose:
"Basing their decision upon the precautionary principle, the appointed members of the Recovery Team for Mainland moose believe that recovery of the species in Nova Scotia is feasible. However, the Team recognizes that significant challenges exist and that recovery will require changes to forest management practices in Nova Scotia, addressing road density disturbance and other developmental pressures, the designation, protection, and management of Core Habitat, and significant financial resources to address threats and implement actions for recovery."

This quote is from the long awaited report that (finally) identified core habitat for mainland moose. It was published in November 2021.

This is from Minister Rushton's letter of March 18, 2022:
"AP068499 Beals Meadow is not known to involve occurrence records of Mainland Moose or Wood Turtle, Special Management Practices have not been triggered, nor does it involve identified core habitat (which identifies specific habitat that must be managed in particular ways for recovery once regulations or agreements are developed)."

In other words, the forest you are protecting is not part of the core habitat that was identified, and even if it were, it wouldn't make any difference until "regulations or agreements are developed."

The Recovery Report refers to something much stronger than regulations and agreements when it talks of designation and protection. Delaying and watering down protection for endangered species is something DNRR (Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables) has a lot of practice in. Back in May of 2020, in her NS Supreme Court ruling, Justice Brothers noted the department's "chronic and systemic failure" to enforce the Endangered Species Act.

So what about that map of the core habitat? Where are the boundary lines of core habitat and how are they determined?

It's not easy to tell exact boundaries from any map in the Recovery Plan. We asked one of the authors of the plan and they couldn't tell us if the proposed cut block is in or out. They — or we — would have to talk to a GIS specialist. The government has them on staff. Perhaps they could make them available to concerned citizens.

Does it matter where exactly the boundary falls? Moose don't do GIS. But the Minister does.

Nobody is claiming these boundaries are precise. They are an effort to capture as many of the dark green, olive green and green hexagons as possible. The darker the green, the better the habitat for moose, based on two main metrics: roughly speaking, how intact and natural the forest is and how much uninterrupted land there is between roads.

Look at the more detailed map with core habitat outlined in black. Clearly there is not much moose habitat on the North Mountain or in the Valley. Things look up when you get to the South Mountain. Except, see that bite out of the core habitat in the middle of the photograph? All those yellow and beige and grey octagons? Those are the sea of clearcuts we talk about, stretching south and west from the forest we are protecting. (The proposed cut block is outlined in red on the third map.)

Look at the black line identifying the core habitat again. Why doesn't it include that lone green hexagram on the right? As far as we can tell, if it did, it would include the area of intact roadless crown land around that little lake between the Last Hope forest on the west and Highway 10 and the Cloud Lake Wilderness Area to the east.

That little lake is called McEwan Lake. WestFor has plans for that roadless, intact mature forest, plans that will not help the mainland moose recover. More on that and what to do about it in another post.

The point is not so much to challenge the exact choice of boundaries — though you do have to wonder why core habitat narrows to one polygon width when it could stretch to three or four — as to ask whether the government is going to use the Recovery Plan for or against the moose they are supposed to be protecting? Precautionary principle, anyone?

Go to our April 2022 report for More about Maps and Moose

Day 117 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 28, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Man and woman by brook

We had a visit yesterday from two people who are heroes to all of us working to change the way nature and particularly forests are treated in Mi'kma'ki.

Our forests would be in far better shape if the forestry industry had not chosen to spend $100,000 discrediting the work you both put into the Natural Resources Strategy.

You could so easily say, "I'm done. I've done enough. Time to relax." But you keep on going, inspiring those of us newer to the struggle with kind words and humour. We have each other.

Thank you, Bob Bancroft and Donna Crossland, for all the years of honest, devoted effort you have put in on behalf of all our relations. Msit No'koma.

Day 115 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 26, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

In his letter of March 18th, DNRR Minister Rushton states:

"AP068499 Beals Meadow is not known to involve occurrence records of Mainland Moose . . . "

For five generations, Dan Baker's family has had ties to the area. He notes:

"I have seen several moose in that area and fresh signs as recently as last summer I've come to know that area like the back of my hand to cut these proposed sections would be very detrimental to the wildlife that need that area to survive. There are moose signs on the Beals Brook at Snowshoe Lake a lot of sign at Cranberry Lake and EelWeir Lake. The North side of Paradise Lake has always been frequented by moose."

So what about the moose? It isn't all about lichens. The mainland moose are endangered too.

Our camp is named after the historic Last Hope Moose Camp, built on this exact site. By the 1930s, moose numbers were already down in Nova Scotia, due to assorted settler activities, but there were still plenty of moose in this particular area. That's why it was a hunter's last hope for a supply of meat for the winter.

Most likely, the moose found the combination of forests and extensive wetlands in the area around Last Hope to their liking. The 24 hectare forest we are protecting connects Crisp Bog with McEwan Meadow and Beal's Meadow. Moose need wetland areas like these for food and calving, but they need some mature forest nearby. And they need intact areas without a ton of logging roads.

Last November the government finally published a Mainland Moose Recovery Plan that identified Core Habitat. Core habitat is defined by the Endangered Species Act as "specific areas of habitat essential for the long-term survival and recovery of endangered or threatened species." Unfortunately, as it turns out, identifying the habitat does nothing to protect it. Logging has continued as usual. The old, useless "Special Management Plans" are supposed to be getting an upgrade but for now all the moose get by way of special management are a scattering of "moose clumps."

In his letter of March 18th, Minister Rushton states:

"AP068499 Beals Meadow is not known to involve occurrence records of Mainland Moose or Wood Turtle, Special Management Practices have not been triggered, nor does it involve identified core habitat (which identifies specific habitat that must be managed in particular ways for recovery once regulations or agreements are developed).

Moose do move around. That's one of the reasons DNRR seems to find it easier to ignore them than lichens. Also, for some reason, rural Nova Scotians do not associate DNR with care and concern for the needs of wildlife. It is probably true that few people report moose sightings to DNR. But DNR is also dismissive of efforts by citizens to gather and deliver that information. Last year Bob Bancroft and many others worked long and hard to pull together a map of known moose occurrences around the province. DNR, or DLF as it was then, was not interested.

For the area around Beal's Meadow, local resident Dan Baker sent us the map with all the red dots. He writes,

"These are places we have seen moose sign. This has been one of the most beautiful pieces in Nova Scotia for wildlife habitat. There are enough mainland moose in Annapolis county that they have been slowly making a comeback. If they cut these 3 parcels of land they will be responsible for not just the moose becoming extinct but other woodland creatures like the pine marten and otters I've seen sporadically in some of the areas I fish and hunt out there."

In case you are wondering about that reference to the cutting of 3 parcels of land, it turns out the Last Hope forest is not the only one on the chopping block in this immediate area. There are two harvest plans on the books for straight up clearcuts on 30 hectares on the west side of Cranberry Lake, AP068502A and B.

We'll come back to this and another major threat to wildlife and forests in the area surrounding Last Hope in another post, along with a solution. For now, consider whose word counts for more on whether moose are found in the Beal's Meadow area, DNRR's or Dan Baker's?

At our suggestion, Dan did report his many moose sightings to James Churchill at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre. (Wherever you are in Mi'kma'ki, the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre is an excellent place to report sightings of any Species At Risk, and James Churchill a very good person to direct the information to: james.churchill[at]accdc.ca).

This is some of what Dan wrote:

"Good afternoon Mr.Churchill,
I'm writing in regards to the Beals Brook area that is being put in serious jeopardy. I have been traveling that country out there as long as I can remember. I was camping there with my parents from the time I was 2 years old my grandfather Elmer Woodworth and Clyde Geheau built what used to be the Last Hope Camp back in the thirties, we used that camp as teenagers and fished and hunted the Beals Meadow for years until a tree fell over and crushed the camp to the ground. Five generations of my family have ties to this land and have camped out on the Still Waters for the last 49 years.

I have seen several moose in that area and fresh signs as recently as last summer I've come to know that area like the back of my hand to cut these proposed sections would be very detrimental to the wildlife that need that area to survive. There are moose signs on the Beals Brook at Snowshoe Lake a lot of sign at Cranberry Lake and EelWeir Lake. The North side of Paradise Lake has always been frequented by moose."

Stop Clearcutting Our Home sign


There are no doubt good biologists working for DNRR. As a spokesperson recently noted in relation to the department's failure to identify endangered lichens at Last Hope, they have limited staffing. They need help from knowledgeable citizens. It would be nice if they showed any signs of listening to people like Dan Baker, people who know a particular place intimately.

The issue is not with individual scientists, it is with successive governments' devotion to the desires of industrial forestry at the expense of the health of the natural world, which means our health as well as the health of our non-human kin. It's time to go beyond lip-service to Lahey's key recommendation. It is time to make protecting and enhancing ecosystem health — the health of the natural world — the "overarching priority." No more balancing the needs of the moose against the forestry industry. Ecosystem health comes first.

If the moose population recovers, you can be sure the forests and wetlands are recovering. We humans will benefit too. That's how nature works. Care is repaid. So is indifference and brutality.

Day 114 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 25, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

black foam lichen in nova scotia

Lichen Identification session:
Last Hope on Wednesday, 30th March, 10:30am-3pm
10 participants max, donations accepted. Expect to hike the last km to camp and then spend time in the woods. The session will be led by Frances Anderson, co-author of "Common Lichens of Northeast North America."
To sign up and for more information and directions, please email xrns[at]riseup.net.

The Department of Natural Resources has lifted the temporary hold they placed on plans to cut the forest at Beal's Brook, or so we have been told on the grapevine. There has been no official announcement. Presumably this means they have reviewed the harvest plan and imposed the 100m buffers required by law for the Species at Risk lichens. Did they do this for all 7 occurrences the lichenologist they hired discovered, or just the 5 the Minister referred to in the cookie-cutter letter he sent out? We have no way of knowing because the buffers aren't flagged, they are entered in the harvester's GPS.

So DNRR has decided not to do a full survey now the snow is gone but instead to stick with one done on February 13th when there was two and a half feet of snow on the ground. Maybe that's understandable though. They did mention a shortage of experts, noting the opportunity that created to train citizen scientists in recognizing Species at Risk and their habitats.

In the absence of any steps in that direction on DNRR's part, we are offering the first of what we hope will be several Lichen Identification Sessions at the Last Hope camp. These will have a specific focus on Species at Risk found in this forest. We have also made lichen ID cards to help with identifying some of these species, but the experts tell us it is much easier if you can meet these rare lichens in person. Fortunately, that is still possible in this forest, thanks to all the people who have camped out here since December 2nd, and the many more who have visited and shown support in so many ways.

Lichen Identification Session

So please, sign up right away if you are interested in this first Lichen Identification session. It will take place at Last Hope on Wednesday, 30th March, 10:30am-3pm, 10 participants max, donations accepted. Expect to hike the last km to camp and then spend time in the woods. The session will be led by Frances Anderson, co-author of "Common Lichens of Northeast North America." To sign up and for more information and directions, please email xrns[at]riseup.net.

As soon as the weather cooperates, we will offer a weekend session!

Day 112 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 23, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

map showing clearcutting in nova scotia

Background on today's report:
Click for Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables reply to a letter from Sandy Martin. And Ms Martin's reply back.

Yesterday we posted Sandy Martin's response to Minister Rushton's reply to a letter she sent him in January. (See letters here.) Sandy covered a lot of bases but there is still a little more to say about this letter from the Minister for Natural Resources and Renewables.

Returning to Minister Rushton's reply to one of the many concerned citizens who wrote asking that he cancel the proposed cutting of this forest, in addition to the failure to add 5 + 2 and come up with 7 required buffer zones, there is another inconsistency in this letter.

On the one hand he claims that "A Uniform Shelterwood prescription aligns with the new Silviculture Guide for the Ecological Matrix (SGEM) and Lahey recommendations..." But then a few paragraphs later, he states, "This proposed harvest plan will be amended to an SGEM prescription..."

Suffice to say that the Uniform Shelterwood cut currently prescribed for this forest is uniformly regarded by experts other than DNRR's as a two-stage clearcut. The second stage is called "Overstory Removal." The Minister claims they won't necessarily come back for stage two, the one where they make a profit, but I can think of a few other promises I don't believe either.

If the proposed harvest plan is changed to an "SGEM prescription," what would that mean? Well, this government should get some credit for finally implementing some of Lahey's recommendations on the ground. The latest Harvest Plan Map Viewer list of proposed cuts to comment on includes no "Variable Retention" clear cuts and no straight up "Uniform Shelterwoods." Instead it includes a number of less damaging cuts such as "Single Tree Selection" and "Medium Retention Continuous Cover Irregular Shelterwood." The less ecologically sound "Strip" and "Uniform Shelterwood" cuts now have "Reserves." These reserves are trees that will be (should be?) left not just for this round of Shelterwood cutting but permanently. Trees that would be allowed to grow old. The "Overstory Removals" have become "Partial Overstory Removals."

Apart from the complete lack of trust most of us feel towards Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, there is another big obstacle in the way of giving the government much credit for finally implementing some of Lahey's recommendations. It is all very well to improve how some cutting is done on "crown" land but the footwork has not been done to identify forests that should be placed in the protected leg of the triad. Instead the assumption seems to be that all "crown" land is available for cutting. This is odd from a government that campaigned on the pledge to protect 20% of Nova Scotia by 2030. They were serious enough to put that commitment into legislation.

The trouble is that the landscape-level planning that Lahey called for has not happened. The result is that we are seeing improved harvest proposals for areas that ought not to be cut at all. Far from getting credit for the progress they have made, people across the province are erupting in outrage at the pure boneheadedness of some of these new proposals.

The plan to cut right down to the shores of Lake Minamkeak in Lunenburg county takes the biscuit. Whether or not the prescription for LU099960C is a "Gap Shelterwood with Reserves," the fact remains it is criminal to propose cutting next to the last home of the globally endangered Atlantic whitefish.

Then there are all those cuts — 340 ha — proposed for Annapolis county, all but one planned for the Goldsmith Lake area. (AP021015 to AP 021213) A quick glance at the Global Forest Watch satellite map of forest cover loss in the last 20 years reveals that this is one of the last areas of intact forest on the South Mountain. There are patches of identified old growth forest there, along with areas of the mixed species, mixed age Wabanaki-Acadian forest we most desperately need to protect. What insanity to plan any cutting in a gem like this.

We need to make it crystal clear to the government that waiting to identify land for protection until after it has been cut is not going to fly. We take seriously their pledge to add 330,000 more hectares of Mi'kma'ki to the 14% that has already been protected or is in the queue for protection. We need to start now. The Last Hope forest is 24 hectares. It is home to several species at risk. Citizens care about it enough to camp out through a rigorous winter to protect it.
If the government can't start here, where are they going to start? And more to the point, when are they going to start?

Day 110 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 21, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

map showing clearcutting in nova scotia

Photo top: Black-foam lichen, Anzia colpodes, first identified on Last Hope Camp site by a lichen enthusiast, January 24, 2022. List of rare lichens identified and confirmed in the Last Hope forest by the lichenologist hired by DNRR to conduct a survey of the forest.

Background on today's report: Click for Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables reply to a letter from Sandy Martin. And Ms Martin's reply back.

Yesterday we posted Sandy Martin's response to Minister Rushton's reply to a letter she sent him in January. (See letters here.) Sandy covered a lot of bases but there is still a little more to say about this letter from the Minister for Natural Resources and Renewables.

The last paragraph reads: "On January 21, 2022, the department was alerted to potential occurrences of rare lichen near this site and placed a temporary hold on the harvest plan until a lichenologist could conduct a survey in the area. The lichen survey was conducted on February 13, 2022, and five occurrences of three different SAR lichen species were confirmed (2 of the species are listed both provincially and federally, and one species just federally) were identified in a portion of the block. This proposed harvest plan will be amended to an SGEM prescription and will include buffer zones to protect the rare lichen species, in accordance with Special Management Practices for this species, prior to the temporary hold on harvest approval being released. The department is taking necessary steps to protect and conserve species at risk."

Unfortunately, someone in the Minister's office can't count. The lichenologist hired by DNRR, Chris Pepper, confirmed the visiting lichen enthusiast's discovery of 5 occurrences of 3 different Species At Risk (SAR) lichen species, then went on to discover 2 more occurrences of one of those species. 5+2 = 7.

You can check this out for yourself on the official documentation by the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute shown in the photo. The first 5 items were discovered by the visiting enthusiast over 2 afternoons in January. The rest of the list is made up of rare lichens the lichenologist found throughout the block. Those include 2 more of the SAR Black-foam lichen.

So will that amended proposed harvest plan include buffer zones for all 7 documented occurrences of SAR lichens, or will bad math rule? And how will anyone be able to verify if all the lichens are receiving their legally required 100m buffers? It turns out nobody comes to the site and flags those buffer zones, they are just entered in the logging equipment's GPS.

It would be lovely to believe that "the department is taking necessary steps to protect and conserve species at risk" but the evidence is not looking good so far.

Earlier in the letter we are assured, "Department of Natural Resources and Renewables resource management professionals review every proposed harvest plan as part of the Integrated Resource Management review process (...) This harvest plan was approved on August 19th, 2021 and was followed by a review in November 2021."

Lucky Last Hope forest, it got not one but two reviews, the second in response to citizen concerns about the proposed cut. Surely that means that one of those resource management professionals came out and took a look at the site?

Michael Gorman, in his report for CBC on Feb 18, 2022, notes that DNRR spokesperson Ryan "McIntyre said every plan submitted to the department is reviewed by a biologist, forester, surveyor and forest technician. In this case he said the lichens in question didn't show up in predictive modelling, which means more work needs to be done to bolster data and consider other improvements to the assessment process."

What this actually means is that, no, no biologist set foot in the real, live forest. All this reviewing was done from their desks. What happened when experts came to the actual site? They found 7 occurrences of not one, not two, but three endangered species of lichens that would, in all probability have perished if citizens who care had not gotten in the way of the harvest.

That's enough for today. We'll save DNRR's approach to protecting other species at risk such as the wood turtle and the mainland moose for another day.

Day 105 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 16, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

map showing clearcutting in nova scotia

Global Forest Watch map of this section of Nova Scotia's South Mountain west of Highway 10. The red patches show forest cover lost between 2000 and 2020. Clearcutting has ravaged this landscape.

For better and worse, those of us with data get emails at camp. The latest list of proposed cuts on "crown" land showed up in our mailboxes a couple of days ago. These lists are sent out by the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables every 10 days.

There's a sense of dread as you open up the PDF. Which parts of Mi'kma'ki are up for destruction next? The list is broken down by county. This time Annapolis County is taking the biggest hit. 340 hectares. To find out where exactly they are, you have to open up the Harvest Plan Map Viewer.

For those who don't know, the Harvest Plan Map Viewer is a provincial website. It shows the most recent proposed cuts on "crown" land, that is to say, cuts you can still comment on. Generally the comment period lasts 40 days. So the cut off for commenting on these newest cuts is April 23rd.

Isn't that nice, that the province is asking us for our opinion on cuts proposed for public lands? You can only submit your comments through this portal but hey, some of us have good enough internet to use this site.

So there you are, ready to comment. But wait. The intent of the Harvest Plans Map Viewer is to seek information currently not known to the department at a site level that is being proposed for harvest. If your comment provides information about the proposed harvest plan that is specific to the site, the department may contact you for further detail.

In other words, if your concerns are about the impact of the proposed cut on wildlife, climate change, biodiversity, downstream flood damage or indeed anything that pays no attention to arbitrary site boundaries, well, we don't want to hear it.

Of those 340 hectares up for the chop in Annapolis County, 238 ha are on the west side of Goldsmith Lake. Goldsmith Lake is one of the few areas on the South Mountain that still has intact areas of old forest. Another such area is around McEwan Lake, just to the northeast of camp.

To get an idea of how precious these areas are, are a look at the Global Forest Watch map of his section of the South Mountain west of Highway 10. The red patches show forest cover lost between 2000 and 2020. Clearcutting has ravaged this landscape. The few areas of solid green including those around Goldsmith and McEwan Lake must be protected. Like our little Last Hope forest, they should never have been made available for harvesting. The province doesn't want to hear that.

What should be cause for celebration, a shift finally from the gobbledygook "Interim Retention Guidelines" to cuts based on the new "Silvicultural Guide to the Ecological Matrix," is not. Why? Because the landscape level planning recommended by the Lahey report is not happening.

Some of the proposed cuts on the newest list are, refreshingly, compatible with ecological forestry. Individual tree harvests and irregular Shelterwood cuts are a definite improvement (if properly carried out), but only if they are conducted in forests that belong in the Ecological Matrix in the first place. If the forest should be in the Protected area where no cutting is allowed, well then no cut is a good cut.

This is not rocket science. If the province is not open to reasonable comment from concerned citizens, then some of those citizens will find other peaceful, non-violent ways to protect what should be protected. Many more citizens will support them in a myriad ways. It's been 15 weeks. We are still here. Hey? Because enough is enough.

Day 103 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 14, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Visitors from near and far made it through the last muddy kilometre to visit us yesterday. Some were curious why we were here, others knew all too well. At Last Hope we are protecting an 80 year old forest in a sea of clearcuts because our government is not doing its job.

Nobody wants to see the last remaining older forests cut. Nobody except industrial forestry interests and their buddies in government. Industry and government working hand in hand for decades have brought us to the brink of ecological catastrophe, here in Nova Scotia. Our forests are younger and poorer and less able to regrow than they have ever been.

In 1958, a quarter of all the forests in Nova Scotia were 80 years old or older. 25%. Now how many of our forests are 80 or older? Between 1% and 5%.

Here we are in a climate crisis and a nature crisis. We are losing the diversity of life at a rate that is threatening all of our survival.

Older forests store more carbon, support more forms of life and are more resilient. We need to rebuild the stock of older forests. And how do we do that? Well, maybe we should stop cutting them down.

We are part of nature. We must put protecting and restoring the health of nature's systems ahead of everything else. Why? Because everything else depends on healthy natural systems.

Isn't it a good thing, then, that this government has committed to making ecosystem health "the overarching priority?" That is what accepting the recommendations of the Lahey report means. Restoring our natural systems to health must come first.

Another good thing: this government has committed to protecting 20% of Nova Scotias lands and forests by 2030.

Maybe, instead of marching on with plans to cut more and more of our forests, our government should take a look at what we have left. Now is the time to decide what forests need protecting in order to meet that 20% goal.

Together we could do this. Citizens and government could decide to do what needs to be done. Change is coming, like it or not. The slower we are to act, the more devastating the consequences of our delay.

2 walkers back-to on a logging road Nina and two visitors 2 women and an offroad vehicle

Day 101 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 12, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Settler Education Workshop participants

A beautiful day at camp for our Settler Education Workshop. The sun warmed our faces and thawed the road. Participants hiked in the last muddy kilometre.

All of us were there to learn, and learn we did. In a simple, graphic way, Carolyn Campbell helped us see how common myths settlers grew up with, such as the myths of Innocence (we didn't know) and Good Intentions (we meant well), serve to hide the larceny and relentless racism that underpin the Canadian state. Most of us were deeply ignorant, but willing to lose our illusions.

Perhaps the most disturbing segment of the workshop came after lunch when we sat in the early spring sunshine listening to recordings of actors speaking the actual words of assorted historic Canadian men in power. Words that made explicit the genocidal intentions of the laws and practices of our government. And no, it is not all in the past.

"One effect of the workshop was to make all of us more grateful than ever for the support and care this camp has received from Mi'kmaw Grandmothers and from the District Chief of Kespukwitk. It is an honour to have been invited to be on their territory and to have our efforts to protect this forest and its inhabitants acknowledged. It is humbling to be treated with such kindness, given the past and present wrongs L'nu have suffered at the hands of settlers."

Day 100 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 11, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Day 100 Last Hope Camp graphic

DAY100 @XRNovaScotia Forest Defenders Last Hope Camp
Persisting through frigid temperatures, fierce winds, snow heaps dropped by blizzards, days/nights of rain + freezing rain. DAY 100 of saying "No" to #CorporateCaptured politics by @NS_DNRR + @ns_environment. Continue enabling unsustainable practices at our/your peril. Stop Resource Plunder — #SustainableForestry lets us All breathe easier.
#NSPoli you Can do something about #ClimateCrisis + #BiodiversityLoss.
What are you waiting for?

Day 97 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 08, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Women at the Last Hope Camp

". . . the forestry industry tells the government
we are Halifax activists and it simply isn't true. "

International Women's Day — a good day to celebrate the incredible array of women who have come to our camp in the last 97 days. All but a handful are from rural Nova Scotia. Nothing against our city sisters, but the forestry industry tells the government we are Halifax activists and it simply isn't true. The PCs count on the rural vote. We vote and we care about the devastation industrial forestry has inflicted on Mi'kma'ki.

Enough is enough. We are standing up for the earth.

Women at the Last Hope Camp
Woman at the Last Hope Camp with gift of food Women at the Last Hope Camp Woman at the Last Hope Camp warming her feet Women at the Last Hope Camp, Mi'kmaq flag

Day 96 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 07, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Day 96 We Are On Unceded Mi'kmaw Land sign

Announcing the first in a series of workshops we plan to offer at the Last Hope camp: Settler Education. Settlers, join us if you can for half a day of Settler Education on Saturday, March 12th from 11am to 3pm. Free.

Space is very limited and, depending on road conditions, you may have to hike the last km to camp. Message us or email d.giffin[at]bellaliant.net

Extinction Rebellion and the Forest Protectors acknowledge that we live, work, and play in Mi'kma'ki. But what does that mean for those of us who are non-Indigenous and living in this place? Join us for a 4-hour facilitated discussion as we explore what it means to be a "Settler" living in a "Settler Nation." What might we need to learn and unlearn to help us live here with integrity and respect?

We will share a meal during the session so bring something for yourself and/or to share with others.

Our conversation will be facilitated by Carolyn Campbell, a Settler Canadian who designs and facilitates Settler Education events and courses. (For further information go to www.horizonscda.ca

"Although we are looking forward to putting on a series of workshops here, it would be quite nice to be able to go home. But we won't while this forest is under threat."

Future workshops will include one on lichen identification with special attention to Lichens classified as Species at Risk. Today the snow in the woods is finally shrinking. Soon we might be able to see whole tree trunks. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, it appears that DNRR has not yet applied the required buffer zones to the harvest plan for the Last Hope forest. Until they do, the freeze on the proposed harvest is still in place.

Wouldn't it be heartening if Minister Rushton announced that, in light of the evidence that this forest is home to specimens of three rare and sensitive lichens classified as Species at Risk, not to mention three other rare lichens found by the surveyor that are not yet classed as SAR, the Department has decided to ask that this forest be added to the protected areas leg of Lahey's triad? Although we are looking forward to putting on a series of workshops here, it would be quite nice to be able to go home. But we won't while this forest is under threat.

Day 94 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 05, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Day 94 at XRNS Last Hope Camp Two visitors bring firewood

Sometimes you get a message that says it all, like this one from Erin Todd:

Hello, I hope things are going well at Last Hope Camp, despite the very cold temperatures this morning! Please let me know if there is anything you require and I may be able to help. I have been spending a lot of time in clearcuts this winter, kick sledding through places not far from your camp where my family members have hunted, fished and worked in the forest for over 100 years .

Satellite maps of the backcountry of Annapolis County break my heart. When I paddle through the lake systems, it's impossible to travel without crossing a clearcut.

I have sent letters to all the politicians I can think of and continue to be a witness and share with others what I have seen. My family are stewards of 400 acres that has been selectively cut for the past 150 years. It's an island in a sea of clear cutting. Thank you so much for all you are doing. - Erin

Erin and her daughter, Sunna, brought dry wood to camp today and stayed for a cup of tea. It was their first time at a protest camp. They plan to visit again. I hope our government understands how widespread the opposition is in rural Nova Scotia to the devastation of these beautiful lands. We need action not promises. We can't afford to see any more intact natural forests destroyed.

Day 92 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 03, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Day 92 XRNS Forest Defending graphic

When we set up camp there was no snow on the ground. That seems a long time ago - because it is. We have been camped out on the site of the old Last Hope Moose camp for three months now, asking the government to stop the proposed harvest of this 24 hectare forest.

This morning, thanks to the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, Extinction Rebellion took part in a virtual meeting with Tim Halman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. He seems like a nice guy. He says he gets it that we are in a climate and biodiversity crisis. He has kids. He read the most recent IPCC report and found it "sobering."

But when it came to helping us protect this forest from the most immediate threat it faces — a government-sanctioned cut — he passed the buck to Tory Rushton, the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. "We need to stay in our lanes," he said. The truth is, in their mandate letters, both ministers are charged with implementing Lahey AND with protecting 20% of Nova Scotia by 2030. They are supposed to be working together. Staying in your lane is good until there is a massive pile up in front of you. Then you do what you have to do to avoid it.

The latest IPCC report on the climate crisis minced no words: "Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future." When the equivalent report is issued on the catastrophic loss of biodiversity around the world, it will, apparently, make this one look cheerful.

So get out of your lanes, Ministers. Start working with citizens, not against us. We must save what we can.

Here's a link to a template based on a letter I just wrote to the Premier. Use as much or as little as you want but try to put at least some of it in your own words. And please send your letter as an attachment with a brief cover note.

Day 91 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: March 02, 2022 - South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Ukraine flag bright yellow and royal blue

Comfortable at camp, the hour before dawn, this made me cry.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on Facebook this morning:

"Another night of Russia's full-scale war against us, against the people, has passed. Hard night. Someone spent that night in the subway — in a shelter. Someone spent it in the basement. Someone was luckier and slept at home. Others were sheltered by friends and relatives. We've hardly slept for seven nights."

Still, he said, Ukraine would fight on. "Today you, Ukrainians, are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on earth at any moment."

Courage inspires.

Protect Last Hope Wildlife Corridor