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FREDERICTON – A survey of 300 New Brunswickers conducted by Oraclepoll Research on behalf of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter, and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick shows overwhelming support for new protected areas in the province.
In 2019, New Brunswick leaders promised to add 400,000 hectares of new protected area in the province by the end of 2020. More than a year since that deadline, no new areas have received formal protection.
The survey shows 90 per cent of New Brunswickers want provincial leaders to fulfill their commitment in 2022, and then go further. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) people polled want New Brunswick to match Canada’s commitment of 25 per cent protected land by 2025. This figure has increased 10 per cent compared to results from a similar poll conducted in 2019.
“Protecting forests and freshwater is a solution to climate change and habitat loss. It is the most meaningful thing we can do to ensure that New Brunswickers 100 years from now can enjoy wild places in this province,” said Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
The survey also asked New Brunswickers what their greatest concerns were about the state of provincial forests. The top three unaided answers were logging/forestry, clear cutting, and lack of protection.
“We are one of the most rural provinces in Canada and New Brunswickers are confronted everyday with the reality of our current industrial forest practices,” said Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “It’s clear that people love nature and want it protected.”
Part of New Brunswick’s Nature Legacy initiative is the creation of a new park along the Restigouche River, a project that has been discussed since 2010. The survey shows 82 per cent of respondents want the park to happen.
“There’s no doubt that broad public support exists to protect our nature, our rivers, and to strengthen the connection people have with wild places. The time has come to go from nominated places to actual protection,” said Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s New Brunswick chapter.
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