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DNR backs away from Gully Lake clear cuts

The Department of Natural Resources have proposed two clearcuts on the boundary of the Gully Lake Wilderness Area.
The Department of Natural Resources have proposed two clearcuts on the boundary of the Gully Lake Wilderness Area.

TRURO, N.S. – The Department of Natural Resources has backed away from clearcutting the forests beside the Gully Lake Wilderness Area.

[An earlier version of this story indicated that the harvest plan for clearcuts in Cape Breton had changed but those harvest always were and still are planned to be partial cuts near the boundary of the Ruisse Noir Wilderness Area. Changed 10 p.m. The Truro Daily News regrets the error.]

The Truro Daily News published a story May 23 revealing that DNR was proposing to clearcut 13 hectares of forest along the northeastern boundary of the wilderness area near Dalhousie in the Cobequid Mountains of Pictou County. DNR was also proposing another 4-hectare clearcut about 300 metres from the boundary in the same area.

[DNR proposes clearcuts on boundary of Gully Lake Wilderness Area, May 23]

DNR staff changed the plan for all three blocks, labelled PI173495 A, B and C, May 24 from proposed clear cuts to proposed partial cuts.

DNR did admit earlier this month that they were in talks with the Department of Environment about policies regarding forest harvests near protected spaces.

No one was available at the Department of Natural Resources to discuss the changes Wednesday night when the changes were first noticed but the Truro Daily News will follow up on this story tomorrow.

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The public can make comments on the proposed Gully Lake clear cuts until May 31.

To comment on the harvest plans, the public should visit the map viewer and click on the unlabelled icon of an envelope with a green arrow, and then click on the harvest site about which you wish to comment.

The cuts near Gully Lake are referenced with the Block ID number of PI173495.

To view the Nova Scotia Harvest Plan Map viewer and comment on the proposed cuts, go to https://nsgi.novascotia.ca/hpmv/.

To see Nova Scotia’s protected spaces (which are not included on the Harvest Viewer Map) go to https://novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/plan/interactive-map/.

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Ruiss Noir Wilderness Area occupies the upper slopes between the Cheticamp coastal plain and the Cape Breton boreal plateau. It is characterized by yellow birch - balsam fir transition forests, as well as several kilometres of hardwood ravines in the Margaree River watershed. Habitat is suitable for endangered American marten and lynx. Protection of this area will significantly improve representation of Squirrel Mountain Foothills Natural Landscape in the protected areas network.

This area offers opportunities for wilderness travel, hunting and trapping.

Boundaries have been adjusted to avoid adjacent, connecting forest access roads.

 - SOURCE: Nova Scotia Department of Environment (https://novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/wa_ruissnoir.asp)

Gully Lake Wilderness Area protects a large patch of north-central Nova Scotia native forest. Hardwood and mixed forest hills rise more than 300 metres above sea level, and drain through tributary streams into Truro’s Salmon River. Small flood plains host a rich association of plants and some rarities. Wetlands and small lakes add to habitat and scenic variety.

The 3,810-hectare forest of mature sugar maple, yellow birch and spruce also supports beech, red maple, balsam fir, and some ironwood and hemlock. Plants and animals which prefer large patches of older forest can thrive here. The area offers a chance to restore some old-growth forest to this region of Nova Scotia.

The open woodlands and a network of cart tracks and old woods roads are suitable for hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, and other low-impact recreation. Winter snow cover in this region is among the best in mainland Nova Scotia, allowing for excellent winter recreation.

Located just north of Mt. Thom, off Highway 104, Gully Lake Wilderness Area is a very accessible provincial wilderness area; the boundary extends to the Upper Kemptown Road, which is an all-season route, maintained throughout the year.

Gully Lake, in the heart of the wilderness area, was home to the renowned “Hermit of Gully Lake,” Willard Kitchener MacDonald. For nearly 50 years, until his recent death, the area was a refuge to Mr. MacDonald. Gully Lake Wilderness Area is now a refuge for all.

- SOURCE: Nova Scotia Department of Environment (https://novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/wa_gullylake.asp)

 

 

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