Land use trust under fire

Josh
Josh Pennell
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One man’s protected forest is a splinter in another man’s side it seems.

Submitted photo
An angler fishes along the Salmonier River.

Despite reassurances from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) that the public’s right to land use won’t change after it purchase the property, some people on the Salmonier Line and beyond are still wary.

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“No they don’t believe it. Nobody believes it,” says Richard Didham.

The Telegram spoke with Didham last week. H expressed concerns about the NCC purchasing properties in the Mount Carmel-Mitchell’s Brook-St. Catherines area as part of its Salmonier River Conservation Project. The NCC acquires lands private owners give to them or wish to sell to them. The non-profit charity is near raising the money to purchase lands on the Salmonier Line that will add 278 acres to the 158 acres of land already protected by the NCC in the area.

Andrew Holland with the NCC has been actively speaking with the media to alleviate concerns locals have and to ensure them that all legal activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping are fully allowed on any of the properties it owns and protects. He says the purpose of its land ownership is to encourage public use in outdoor and nature activities.

Didham held a meeting Saturday in his community that attracted more than 40 people. Their main concern?

“It was the woodcutting,” Didham says.

Chopping wood is one activity not allowed on the land owned by the NCC and the promise of hiking, kayaking, hunting, fishing and trapping being allowed isn’t doing much to cut down on the aggravation of some people in the area who say they won’t be able to cut wood on the property anymore.

No one actually  had permits to cut on the land before, but the owners allowed local people to cut there. For those who rely on all-terrain vehicles to get their moose out of the country, there’s further concerns.

“You can’t dig up a dead tree and move it out of the way to go in and get a moose,” Didham says.

The NCC is mailing out information and hopes to clarify and calm concerns over its intention to purchase the land. It currently owns and protects more than 13,000 acres in the province.

Organizations: NCC

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Ron
    January 11, 2016 - 17:43

    Every time someone tries to do something to help save some of nature some self appointed survivalist comes along and starts to complain. People will be able to do everything they can do now except cut wood and light fires. If I owned the land I would stop those trigger happy hunters from using the land also. Its so bad now that you take your life in your hands to venture in the woods with guns going off every few seconds. Its enough to turn your stomach when you see those lazy overweight beer guzzlers driving along the sides of the Trans Canada highway looking for a moose close enough to the road that they do not have to walk to shoot or recover it. I have been robbed of the pleasure of going in the woods as it does not feel safe anymore since the government gave in to the hunters lobby and allowed every day to be a free for all for those so called great white hunters trying to kill the vicious rabbit or the mighty partridge. That same crown now want to give guns to their teenagers and allow them to hunt in the woods with them. Based on the record of the fathers I can only imagine what the kids will be like after the fathers teach them all that they know.

  • jack
    January 11, 2016 - 17:26

    it is quite clear that there will be no cutting allowed. I understand why as well as how could they control or manage such activities if it was open to cutting. Seems like people have traditionally cut on this land when they felt like it even though they did not own the land. Sounds like a nightmare to manage if you ask me. People should be happy that NCC is putting this aside for the people of Newfoundland and for future generations to enjoy. I am familiar with their work and if they say they will allow certain activities I have no doubt they are telling the truth. This organization has been around since the 60's and is one of the most respected and successful conservation organizations in the country. This would not be the case if they lied to folks.

  • Ed
    January 11, 2016 - 13:11

    The land was privately owned and the owner allowed you to cut on it for years, now there are new owners and they do not want you cutting there. They are entitled to do that, they own the land. I wonder how you would feel if somone came along and cut some trees on your property, in your garden. If you wanted access to the trees you should have purchased the land.

  • Jeff Barnes
    January 11, 2016 - 08:43

    Typically Newfoundlanders, wanting to cut wood on other people's land. It doesn't matter if it is owned by a non-profit, a golf course or a housing development. They don't want you cutting the trees down. Go get your free wood somewhere else.

    • Dolf
      January 11, 2016 - 12:02

      Id'git!

    • Thomas
      January 11, 2016 - 13:17

      I cut a minimal number of cords of firewood per year on my own land. It is either dead or dying trees. Nothing healthy. I can guarantee you I plant more than I take. This in not the case in the area they are disputing. Come on our land - do the things you used to do except cut wood. Bring out a moose like your forefather's did - if you can't carry it out on your back you have gone in too far. Quads destroy the woods and marshes. It's no birthright - you will be on private property!!

  • John
    January 11, 2016 - 07:47

    This property has apparently been used as a source of firewood for years. It seems the woods have been well taken care of over the years by the people who are using them. If the NCC is willing to sign a legal document stating that as long as the woods are kept in the same state as it presently is or even designate a limit of "x" number of cords of wood.