Public consultation on snowmobile development at Mount Carleton


Fredericton – Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter (CPAWS NB) is encouraging New Brunswickers to get involved in a public consultation on the provincial government’s proposed construction of snowmobile trails and hub in Mount Carleton Provincial Park. The provincial Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture has released an environmental assessment report on the proposal, and has invited members of the public to submit comments before November 21.

“CPAWS NB is very concerned about the impact of this project on the wilderness and wildlife of our iconic and wildest provincial park,” says Roberta Clowater, CPAWS NB Executive Director.  “Unfortunately, the environmental assessment report does not do a good job of identifying the potential environmental impacts of such a trail. We encourage all New Brunswickers to share their views on this proposed project with our provincial government.”

CPAWS New Brunswick has reviewed the Environmental Assessment report, and developed a summary of comments that it hopes will contribute to the public discussion around this proposed development at Mount Carleton Provincial Park.

The summary can be downloaded at: http://cpawsnb.org/images/upload/key_messages_EIA.pdf

Our review found that:
• The provincial government has apparently not done surveys to determine if there are habitats for species at risk, such as bald eagles, Canada lynx, or Gaspé shrews along the proposed development route, especially the new snowmobile trail up the side of Mount Carleton.
• The report dismisses the potential impacts of snowmobile noise and compaction of snow on wildlife, ignoring a significant body of research that indicates snowmobiling can negatively impact moose, bald eagles, hibernating bears and small mammals over the long term.
• The report also ignores evidence that snowmobiles and groomers can reduce winter survival for small mammals by compacting snow or collapsing the tunnels they use to search for food, which could affect food sources for owls, hawks, Canada lynx, foxes, and American marten – resulting in impacts up the food chain.

“Mount Carleton Provincial Park is one of our most treasured landscapes and the provincial government is supposed to protect it as a beautiful wild place for all New Brunswickers to enjoy, now and in the future. The significant gaps in the assessment report reinforce CPAWS NB’s belief that the proposed new snowmobile trail up the side of Mount Carleton should not move forward. It is difficult to see how the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture can undertake this part of the project in a way that avoids or mitigates the potential impacts on wildlife and trail erosion. We hope the environmental assessment process gives serious consideration to all of the missing information related to this project, especially given the public expectation for higher scrutiny of development proposals in a provincial park,” Clowater noted.

The public can submit comments on or before November 21 to: lynn.white@gnb.ca or mailed to Lynn White, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1.

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For interviews, contact: Roberta Clowater, rclowater@cpaws.org; phone: 506-452-9902
Founded in 1963, CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. CPAWS is the only nationwide charity dedicated solely to protecting our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within. For more information: www.cpawsnb.org