Fredericton – A document from the 1970s appears to contradict Tourism, Culture, and Heritage Bill Fraser’s statement about changes his department proposes for Mount Carleton Provincial Park.
Minister Fraser stated earlier that a new snowmobile ‘hub’ did not contravene zoning in the park since such zoning did not exist.
In fact, the park was assigned five zones in a 1972 study done for the province by consultants Marshall Macklin Monaghan Ltd. Jean Louis Deveau, former Mount Carleton manager, has reviewed the 1972 study and finds it relevant to the current situation.
“The report clearly shows the area where snowmobiling is being proposed is suitable only for passive activities like hiking and snowshoeing. Another reason why this project is bad for the park is that the report also shows that the snowmobiles will pass through an active moose yard,” says Deveau.
“Researchers have found that snowmobiles often displace ungulates like moose, sometimes into poor quality habitat thus reducing their survivorship. This project is incompatible with the province’s only designated wilderness park,” Deveau said.
In 2014, a new Parks Act was passed which requires management plans to be written prior to park developments being approved. However the Act has no timing restrictions, meaning that the park could be fully developed before such a management plan is in place.
The Province wants to create a snowmobile hub centred in the park by upgrading existing pathways and creating new ones to standards required by snowmobiles.
At the end of September, Aboriginal groups met at the park with allies from the Peace and Friendship Alliance, to review their options for addressing the developments at Mount Carleton. They believe these go against the Peace and Friendship Treaties and ignore government’s requirement to consult with them.
Alma Brooks of the Maliseet Grand Council and a participant at this meeting said, “The Maliseet Grand Council has sent a letter to Minister Fraser officially requesting that all activities pertaining to this project in our traditional territory be ceased until conditions for justified infringements of our indigenous and treaty rights have been met.”