By now, hopefully, you have heard about the ongoing struggle to protect the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area. Hopefully, you have written a letter to the HRM and contacted your local councillor. The Nova Scotia Public Lands Coalition, supported by the Ecology Action Centre, Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia, Halifax Field Naturalists, CPAWS NS, Halifax North West Trails Association, Sierra Club Canada, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, Friends Of Nature Conservation Society and CARP Nova Scotia held a great public meeting at the end of which, attendees pledged to keep on top of this cause by becoming an honorary “Birch Cove Ranger”.
This idea of being a ranger of an as yet non-existent park was the creation of local artist Jennifer MacLatchy. Back in 2013, she began the blog “Birch Cove Ranger” which is a great educational and entertaining exploration of the area. I first became aware of her work as I visited one of my favourite spots in Halifax, the Susies Lake look off, or “flagpole hill” as it’s otherwise known. Nearby the look off is a huge old White Pine tree that used to have a swing attached to it and was a great spot for a lunch break with kids. On one occasion I saw that the swing was gone and someone had spray painted some obscene graffiti on the tree. Next to this graffiti, to my surprise, was an artist statement like you would see in an art gallery. Turning my dismay into laughter was the highlight of that hike and I liked it so much I had to share it in a previous blog post. I had no idea who wrote it at the time and it wasn’t until I attended the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove meeting that I discovered it was Ms. MacLatchy.
Along with Jennifer MacLatchy, there are many groups and individuals involved in spearheading the effort to protect and promote this priceless wilderness area. It’s been great to see so many people join forces to protect land that I previously thought not many even knew existed. Be sure to keep up to date with the status of this issue, and don’t forget that your voice matters. Next time you head in, take someone who has never been. It’s always great to see the reaction of first time visitors, and even some local councillors have recently visited for the first time and been thoroughly impressed. Who knew that an urban Kejimkujik existed? We did, and everyone should. Let’s make sure it’s saved in its entirety so we can proudly brag about North America’s largest urban park when we tell people about how great Halifax is. Follow and use the tags #SaveBirchCoveLakes and #BirchCoveRanger on social media and take the Birch Cove Ranger pledge!
Congratulations, you are now a Birch Cove Ranger!
Read my Open Letter To HRM Council with my thoughts on protecting this area.