Nova Scotia

Halifax naturalist unhappy after Long Lake parkland chopped down

A Halifax naturalist says he was "horrified" to discover at least eight hectares of protected park were levelled within the last week.

Martin Willison is calling for better oversight and regulations after more than 8 hectares cut down

Martin Willison expects it will take about 10 to 20 years for trees to grow back in an area of protected parkland that was levelled in the last week. (Allison Devereaux/CBC)

A Halifax naturalist says he was "horrified" to discover at least eight hectares of protected park were levelled within the last week.

Martin Willison, a retired biology and environmental studies professor from Dalhousie University, believes a wood harvesting machine was used.

The area is just behind a strip of trees along Old Sambro Road, which runs right through the 2,095-hectare Long Lake Provincial Park.

"If I were to pick a flower here, technically speaking, I would be breaking the law. Yet somebody's come in and they've destroyed many acres of natural forest," said Willison.

He says the levelled area was dense with softwood and hardwood, primarily black spruce. He expects it will take about 10 to 20 years for the trees to grow back.

"It's utterly careless and it's really very distressing for somebody like me," said Willison. "The damage is devastating to owls and other birds that lost their habitat."

"Whoever did this, and whoever authorized it, has to get a very hard knock."

The MLA for the area, Brendan Maguire, says the investigation is looking at a private company that trespassed on park land.

Willison says better oversight and regulations are needed.

"It's a difficult thing to do, the province can't be watching absolutely everywhere — but this kind of thing shouldn't happen," he said.

The provincial Environment Department says conservation officers are investigating.

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