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Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve needs Interpretation restored.

Budget 2013 saw the ax fall on Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh with the Minister of Environment & Conservation showing no remorse for not ensuring both the protection and education of the Province’s newest ecological reserve. The loss of two interpretation positions, left the site without any staff to provide educational tours and be visible on site daily. It is quite a contradiction to the Government sign posted en route to the site, as they clearly do not see the importance of protection, preserving and educating others about our natural treasures:

Burnt Cape is one of the most important botanical sites in the Province. Its unique landscape, cold climatic conditions, and calcium rich soil allow northern plant species to grow in a rich and rare variety. The reserve is home to more than 300 species of plants, over 30 of which are rare.

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The Department of Environment & Conservation is failing to live up to ensuring the protection, preservation and education of this site, evident from lack of maintenance on the gravel road, no signage directing to the Reserve once in the Town of Raleigh, lack of restroom facilities and refuge containers. I have been actively reaching out to groups, organizations and individuals to help this cause and press Government to reverse this decision.

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NDP Leader Lorraine Michael and I (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) visited the site. It is with regret that interpretative tours were not restored, as this was not deemed a priority from the Minister of Environment & Conservation. Despite a barrage of emails with compelling arguments that were sent to him, the Premier, Minister of Tourism and myself calling for the reinstatement of these knowledgeable guides. They have ignored the call from Nature Conservancies, Environmental Awareness Groups, Ph. D holders, experts and concerned citizens from Newfoundland & Labrador, other parts of Canada and the United States of America. This only tarnishes our reputation of preservation, protection and education with the international community.

There has been much irreparable damage done already to the site, with vehicles unknowingly parked on rare plants like the Longs and Fernalds  braya, to more direct movements of rocks and tire tracks that clearly illustrate a vehicle has driven over a protected area. In addition, visitors to the region are losing out on the experience of what Burnt Cape offers and some are opting not to even bother. The lack of interpretative tours leaves very important details and information of such a provincial treasure. Unless you are an expert in botany, this reserve has lost much of its meaning to the general populace with an interest to explore, learn and understand the uniqueness of this protected area on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Minister noted about 500 people visited the site annually. It is clear there are many vehicles and people visiting the site on this Sunday afternoon. I believe the stat of visitors to the site is likely understated. Nevertheless, these well-trained guides should never have seen their jobs eliminated.

The Raleigh Historical Society Inc. has applied for permits to have its staff and vehicle bring people to the site during the season. They have stepped up, although it will be a reduced service without the knowledge of trained guides.

Government must also step up. I encourage you to email: Minister Tom Hedderson, Environment & Conservation (thedderson@gov.nl.ca) and myself, Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca). We must continue to voice our discontent of this decision that is leading to the destruction of a geological, botanical and pale-ontological treasure.

Thank you for any support you can provide.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Why We Need Rural Integrity For a Healthy World

–Philip J Reed on behalf of Exede, a rural internet provider.

In the natural world, diversity matters.  An ecosystem needs a variety of both plant and animal species in order to thrive.  On a larger scale, a healthy planet is home to a variety of landscapes, from rain forest to tundra, that contribute to a balanced earth.

In the human world created by civilization, another kind of diversity is important to our overall health in the present and to our future as a species. That diversity is found in the variety of settings in which we live, from the most densely populated cities to the most isolated rural outposts.

We tend to think of cities as the most important of those settings, and that tendency is reinforced by the growing cultural influence and political clout of urban areas, qualities that are themselves functions of vast demographic change. In 1800, some three percent of the world’s people lived in urban areas. According to a 2011 estimate by the United Nations, in 2008 the number of people living in cities reached 3.3 billion, for the first time amounting to more than half of the total world population.

That trend is likely to continue. Between 2011 and 2050, the United Nations expects world population to grow by 2.3 billion and the urban population to grow by 2.6 billion. This projection can mean only one thing: Cities will grow while rural population shrinks.

Perhaps it’s natural, then to focus our attention on cities, but rural areas and the small towns and villages they encompass are absolutely necessary to a healthy world. We neglect them at our peril. The fact is that the very existence of cities depends on the integrity of the rural areas on which we all depend.

Agriculture is obviously essential to our survival, and farming is of course a rural enterprise. Fisheries occupy a similar position. Natural resources are another product of the rural environment. Some are renewable, such as forest products and wind- and water-powered energy. Others are non-renewable, including sources of energy like oil and natural gas, and sources of industrial materials generated by mining. Regardless of category, all are critical to our survival and all originate in rural areas.

A healthy ecosystem also depends on the non-urban environment. Clean air and water are hardly urban contributions to the human condition. For those necessities, we need rural areas.

However, the rural contribution is not limited to practical matters, important as those are. We derive physical and psychological benefit from the countryside in ways that are quite real, though hard to quantify.  We get pleasure from sports and outdoor activities, and from visiting an area where we can enjoy natural beauty and abundant wildlife.  If nothing else, our psyches often need the refreshment of the rural perspective.

Beyond the vision of rolling green hills and amber waves of grain that symbolize “the country,” the small towns that punctuate rural areas also fill critical needs. First, they provide a nexus for distribution of those vital rural products, including food, lumber and minerals. Second, they perform important functions for the rural population, providing small-scale government, along with commercial and personal services, that would not be available in a truly isolated area. Third, they offer community, a necessity for the inherently social beings that we are. Without small towns, the rural population’s decline would likely be even more precipitous than is now predicted.

Our tendency to discount rural value is nothing new. It found a notably clear expression in the debate over the original terms of the U.S. Constitution, when less populous states feared that they would have no say in a legislature apportioned according to population. The convention stalled over the question, and it took the “Great Compromise” to move things forward. That compromise added a legislative body, the Senate, in which each state had equal power regardless of population.

The Great Compromise recognized the importance of rural America. The need to respect the value and integrity of all non-urban areas around the world is certainly no less important today than it was in the 18th century. If anything, the need becomes more urgent as the cities grow in the foreseeable future.

Water – A Necessity in My Life

Every morning when I awake from my bed, if the shade is up the first sight I see is the towering mounds of land we call Labrador. I get incredible views of Mainland Canada, as Labrador is within a short distance of 14 miles away.  I commute each day to work viewing the scenic Strait of Belle Isle on Route 430. As a proud islander, there is something rejuvenating of seeing the water and the economic value that drives our economy as the fishers work peacefully on the water.

A few days ago, I slowed my car and decided to pull over as the little boat had caught my attention. How wonderful it would feel to be on the water that day versus sitting at my desk in an enclosed office. Although I have a window, it can not compare to the open space and a sense of freedom you have while spending your day in  a boat. One can go wherever the waves take you.

For recreation purposes I enjoy canoeing and rowing. I remember fond memories with father during a few weeks when I spent fishing with him. I was only 13 when he passed, just getting a taste of the open water and being able to work with him. Although I am not a fisherman, the profession is very dear to my heart and runs quite deep in my family line to when the first Mitchelmore’s came from Devon County England in the 1800’s and prior. After living in Alberta for a few months, I found myself planning vacations near the ocean and frequented lakes. There is a yearning to be next to this substance that brings me much happiness. It is good for the body, mind and soul…

The Great Northern Peninsula has so much to offer as we live Rural NL.

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Transition Towns?…the future for Rural Newfoundland

Reasonables....it's all about the name.

Kinsale, the town of just over 2,200 people is the first Transition Town in Ireland. A community-based group, supported by Kinsale town council looks to manage local resources and find sustainable solutions to the challenges of peak oil and climate change. Public meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month. They take a number of guides from an energy plan, which has led to the creation of  Transition Towns worldwide, even as far-reaching as Canada.

I first heard of Transition Towns from my friend Emanuele, at the time a member of the Emerging Leaders Committee of cCEDnet. She had spoken of Guelph, Canada as one of the transition towns that is looking at environmental and social issues, and aims to limit the dependency on oil.

We can  transition to a future beyond fossil fuels, one that is more vibrant and resilient; ultimately one that is preferable to the present. Our current Provincial Government stresses that we must wean ourselves from our over dependency on oil. These revenues may be filling the public purse in the short-term; however, we need longer term strategies. The government wishes to create Hydro-electricity from the Muskrat Falls project and displace Bunker C oil burned to create electricity from the Holyrood Generating Station. The Town of St. Anthony is exploring wind energy as a means to become more competitive to attract industry and lower energy costs.

Community Garden

Community gardens have become an initiative of transition towns. Food security has always been an issue for residents of Newfoundland & Labrador. My grandparents generation practised sustainable living, by growing their own produce and raising farm animals. We are experiencing a trend in rural regions, where more people are exploring gardening. The concept of a community garden would help address food security issues. We should produce and grow more locally.

The community-groups are accomplishing their goals by inspiring, encouraging and supporting others to  transition the community.

Rural areas are no exception. Let’s ensure that 2011 is the year you garden, grow more local and work with others to create a community garden. This is a very reasonable suggestion to ensure brighter futures for the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

Mushroom Foray – St. Anthony this weekend

The Mushroom Foray of Newfoundland & Labrador will be at the St. Anthony Campus of the College of the North Atlantic this weekend, September 10-12, 2010.

Scholars and environmentalists from all over the world will be at the campus starting this afternoon according to Campus Administrator, Mr. Fred Russell. They will be collecting mushrooms native to the area. They will be studying, categorizing, displaying and cooking them at the campus this weekend.

There is a public session for the local people who are interested in viewing demonstrations on Sunday from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM. There are more than 70 people from all over the world registered for this event.

If you are interested please contact:

Fred Russell, Campus Administrator by Tel: 709-454-2884 or email: frederick.russell@cna.nl.ca.

There are potential business opportunities from cultivating mushrooms. “In China, more than 20 million people engage in the cultivation process and generate more than $20 billion per annum. As far as Nigeria is concerned, the country has a favorable environment and clement weather for their easy cultivation. One estimate says that about one million people in the country work to generate over $3 billion per year from the process.”
Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/business-opportunities-articles/how-to-make-money-from-mushroom-cultivation-1540447.html#ixzz0z9IM65li

Exciting things happen in Rural NL  – CCM

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