Opposition to land purchase near Salmonier River based on 'misinformation,' says NCC

A national conservation group says backlash over its decision to purchase land on the Avalon Peninsula is misguided and not rooted in fact.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada's Salmonier River Conservation Project aims to protect not only the Salmonier River, but also freshwater wetlands and boreal forest habitats in the region. (NCC)

A national conservation group says backlash over its decision to purchase land on the Avalon Peninsula is misguided and rooted in misinformation.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) plans to add 278 acres of land to an already protected area near the Salmonier River, as part of the Salmonier River Conservation Project.

The NCC is a non-profit group that raises money to buy important natural areas for the purpose of conservation. 

Spokesperson Andrew Holland says some people have recently called into radio programs to complain that they will no longer be able to hunt or fish in the areas.

Holland said he wants to clear up any misguided information about the planned acquisition.

"People are allowed walk, hike, bird, canoe, kayak, photography and play hide and go seek with your kids if you want — but also we allow legal hunting, fishing and trapping."

"As long as those activities are legal, then they're allowed — and they're also allowed on our existing Salmonier River property."

Holland said it's frustrating to hear some of the false information that's been spread.

Another misconception he often hears is that the NCC is buying the land near Salmonier from the government, or that the NCC somehow represents government taking over private lands.

Holland said the land is actually being sold by private owners who want to see it protected.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says people will still be able to legally hunt, fish and hike in the area the group is purchasing in the Salmonier River area. (NCC)

To clear up any misconceptions, the NCC's St. John's office will be sending a mail out to homes in the Salmonier communities, explaining its plans and ways the public can ‎use the lands.

Holland says activities like hunting and fishing are exactly why the group wants to protect the areas — to ensure that development doesn't ruin them, and people can continue to enjoy the area for years to come.

"The suggestion that it won't be allowed on these other lands is silly, it just doesn't make any sense," he said.

"We connect Canadians to nature, that's our whole mandate. We want to get people outside and on our lands, and the suggestion that we don't want people to use the land is false and it's wrong, and it's misinformation."

About the Author

Geoff Bartlett

CBC News

Geoff Bartlett is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.

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