Outdoor resources committee releases final report
Beaton Tulk, Minister of Development and Rural Renewal and Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Rural Revitalization, today released "Protecting the Legacy", the two-volume report of the Committee of Ministers and MHAs on the Use of Outdoor Resources.
Volume one summarizes submissions to the committee during last fall's consultation process, while volume two contains the committee's recommendations.
In conjunction with the release of the committee's final report, Minister Tulk also released government's response to the committee's recommendations.
"Our Smiling Land: Government's Vision for the Protection and Use of Newfoundland and Labrador's Outdoor Resources" sets out government's policy as it relates to the use and management of outdoor resources.
Minister Tulk, who chairs the Committee on the Use of Outdoor Resources, said all views expressed during the public consultation were considered in formulating the committee's final report and recommendations.
"The 24 recommendations detailed in our final report reflect government's commitment to preserving and protecting the province's outdoor resources for the use and benefit of all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Tulk.
Mr. Tulk noted that two areas of concern raised during the consultation have already been addressed. In October 1998, government reversed its decision to extend the winter hunt for big game and, in May of this year, government announced the two-year pilot allowing river-specific licenses to be issued on the Gander River would not be extended.
"The committee is recommending action be taken on a number of issues of public concern such as community watershed management, salmon and trout management, big game hunting, provincial parks, snowmobile regulations, and a natural areas systems plan," said the minister.
Mr. Tulk added that the committee is recommending that further review be undertaken around such issues as the approval process for outfitting lodges, a conservation stamp, the role of the Inland Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council, and land use planning. A Declaration of Rights of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to the Use of the Outdoors was also released.
Minister Tulk said the declaration is a policy framework that affirms government's commitment to ensuring that the common property nature of much of the province's land will be preserved, and that the use of the outdoors will remain an essential part of our heritage and lifestyle.
Minister Tulk reiterated that it is not and never will be government's policy to privatize the outdoors. "The outdoors is a public resource to which all citizens are entitled to access, keeping in mind that the outdoors has to be protected for the use of future generations."
The committee held public meetings in 18 locations across the island and in Labrador and received more than 90 written submissions.
A variety of special interest groups and stakeholders ranging from rod and gun clubs to salmon protection associations and environmental groups made presentations to the committee on issues such as access to rivers and ponds, community watershed management, river specific licences, big game hunting, habitat conservation, enforcement, and economic development through the use of outdoor resources.
Committee members include Mr. Tulk; Government Services and Lands Minister Ernie McLean; Forest Resources and Agrifoods Minister Kevin Aylward; Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Charles Furey; Environment and Labour Minister Oliver Langdon; Humber East MHA Bob Mercer; Topsail MHA Ralph Wiseman; and, Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair MHA Yvonne Jones.
Copies of "Our Smiling Land: Government's Vision for the Protection and Use of Newfoundland and Labrador's Outdoor Resources" and "Protecting the Legacy: Report of the Committee on the Use of Outdoor Resources" are available on the government's web site at /whatsnew.htm or by writing to Minister Tulk, c/o Committee on Use of Outdoor Resources, 2nd Floor, Confederation Building, West Block, P.O. Box 8700, St. John's, NF, A1B 4J6.
Media contact: Lynn Barter, Communications, (709) 729-0084.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador declares and affirms that it holds the wildlife, fish, game, wildfoods and other natural resources of this province in trust for all citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador to enjoy, and that it will ensure that the legacy of these resources will remain for subsequent generations.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby declares and affirms the traditional privileges and freedoms of hunting, angling and the gathering of wild foods by the citizens of this province. Government further recognizes that citizens have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the privileges and freedoms of equal and common access to wildlife, fish game, wildfoods and other outdoor resources, subject to proper resource management.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby declares and affirms access to public lands and water bodies for recreational use including hunting, angling and the gathering of wild foods and that for these purposes the province's citizens will have clear and open access to a buffer zone around lakes, ponds and rivers.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby declares and affirms that lakes, rivers, and ponds are public resources.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby declares and affirms that the management of the province's outdoor resources will be a fair and open process.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby declares and affirms that the privileges and freedoms contained in this declaration are subject to the laws of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada and to laws for the purpose of conservation and proper management of all wildlife, fish, game, wildfoods and other natural resources.
(Publicly-owned land represents 95.6% of the total area of Newfoundland and Labrador, more than any other province.)
Smiling Land: Governmentís Vision for the Protection and Use of
Newfoundland and Labradorís Outdoor Resources
1999 07 06 9:30 a.m.