This newsletter is produced by the Friends of Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Society. It is all about the Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area and the planned regional park for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Friends of Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes - Mission Statement:
To support and promote the creation and development of the Blue mountain Birch Cove Lakes regional park, and to ensure the stewardship and appropriate use of the area.
SPREAD THE WORD - WEBSITE
GOES LIVE!

While we may take websites for granted, there's still a lot of time that goes into bringing it to a live state with information that's on point and timely. We've strived to produce our site, bluemountainfriends.ca, with a tone that reflects our collaborative message in working together with stakeholders to bring the planned park closer to reality.

Watch for more of Hear the quiet! , our principal theme that will be used on printed materials and presentations. We think this sums up a lot about the BMBCL, and hope that you will share this and our website with your contacts. If you haven't been on the site yet, we hope you will take the time to have a look and, while you're there...

JOIN the Friends of Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Society

There's no charge for membership, and it's easy to sign up on the web site. Just visit the JOIN page and, with some basic info and a click, you're on your way. Numbers matter and we're looking to build a solid base of influence. Of course, if you can make a donation as well, that would be very much appreciated.
ANNAPOLIS LAWSUIT UPDATE

The $119M lawsuit filed by the Annapolis Group Inc. against the City (HRM) in February, 2017 claiming de facto expropriation of lands within the proposed Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park, is now two years old. After Annapolis filed its claim and the City its defence, (both later amended), the case moved on to the next stage, the exchange of documents.
Photo:Hobson Lake Outflow, Jeremy Van Den Eynden

The documents are extensive with Annapolis having already provided in excess of 45,000 documents and HRM more than 70,000 documents. And they are not finished yet. There have been a number of court appearances regarding the filing of documents with the most recent resulting in a decision on December 4th, 2018 by Nova Scotia Supreme Justice Frank Edwards dealing, among other things, with a request by the City that Annapolis provide documents regarding the development of Glenbourne Estates, Glen Arbor, Belle St. Extension, and Hamshaw Subdivision.

The result - Justice Edwards ordered the production of both Glenbourne and Hamshaw Subdivision documents based on both their proximity, and that they are prior, unserviced developments - but not Belle St. Extension nor Glen Arbor. Annapolis and the City are scheduled to return to court on March 26, 2019 to resolve any then outstanding document production issues and dates for the start of discoveries.

Ed: Of interest, last year the municipality of Digby expropriated a 31 hectare property known to be of significant ecological value. While the word "expropriation" may not be popular in local political jargon, this process does present another option for the acquisition of lands for the public good. You can read about the story here .
EAC LEADS HIKE
TO FOX LAKE

Thanks goes out to Karen McKendry and Ecology Action Centre for organizing and leading a successful and enlightening hike to Fox Lake this past January. The focus was on some of the natural history associated with the area, and, with more than 20 participants, it was a resounding success. Friends participated as a partner and many of the participants are now members of our society.
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!

Friends is pleased to pass along this notice of an upcoming bioblitz sponsored by iNaturalist. Halifax is one of three, Canadian cities (also Calgary & Richmond, BC), and one of more than 115 cities world-wide
looking to record as many species as possible in the April 26-29, 2019 time period. Participation is EASY and FREE! Download the iNaturalist app to your mobile device, and, during the above dates, use the app to upload photos of local flora/fauna to iNaturalist.ca. If needed, the iNaturalist community will help you identify them. What better place to take part in this challenge than the BMBCL?
AND THE MEETINGS CONTINUE...

The BMBCL Planning Committee co-chair recently met with Lee Millett, Conservation Program Specialist, Ducks Unlimited Canada as part of the Society's outreach efforts. Ducks Unlimited Canada believes that "collaboration is key to our success", and that "Preserving existing natural wetlands is the ideal conservation measure". Both concepts align well with the approach of the Friends of BMBCL. Ducks Unlimited Canada has started to look at investing in urban wetlands and, to that end, have established a new office at 6080 Young St., Halifax. This follows on the heels of a very successful investment in the heart of St. John's Nfld at Lundrigan's Marsh, creating a supportive wildlife environment in the heart of the city.
CROSS CANADA 'TOUR' - SPEAKER'S NIGHT

On February 11, Michael Haynes took more than 65 guests on a virtual, cross-Canada tour of the Great Trail as Friends presented our first event for 2019. The presentation, held at the Keshen Goodman Library, showcased multiple legs of the trail from 13 provinces and territories of what is often commonly referred to as the ‘Cross Canada Trail’, built and maintained by multiple provincial and private citizen initiatives. More than 65 people attended the event which was also served as the platform for the launch of our new website.

Michael has written ten guides on hiking and biking trails in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Ontario, and he has been a regular contributor to CBC Radio. His books are available in local bookstores and Halifax libraries.
Photos: Heather Leslie
HISTORICAL NOTE -
CRANE LAKE CAMP

All that is left now is a concrete chimney, but someone went to a lot of work to build whatever it was at this site near Crane Lake. The site remains a popular destination for many hikers, even in the winter. Can any of our readers shed some light on the history of this site? Was it just a summer camp or did someone really try to make a go of it back in the day?
Photo: Dusan Soudek
MEET A BLUE MOUNTAIN ARTIST!

As an ongoing feature of the NEWS, we continue with a profile of one of the painters who contributed to the Blue Mountain art exhibit, September 2018. In this edition, meet
Ron Kuwahara. Before Ron became a professional artist, he enjoyed a rewarding career as a physicist. After retiring, Ron attended NSCAD University to complete a B.Fine Arts in painting in 2011.

"As a physicist, I am always highly respectful of the forces of nature. I am compelled to learn about the geophysical, chemical, biological and evolutionary processes that have interacted over eons to create the planet earth, the continents and the biodiversity of the world we live in. I am reminded that I am only one of many species entitled to life of this planet." According to Ron, "...visits to a nature preserve allowed me to re-discover first hand how balanced, complex and harmonious ecosystems have evolved without human or divine intervention".

"Such beauty, created by patterns of light and shadow, inspires my paintings. I mix and splash paint into abstracted colour patches that form recognizable images from afar. I am grateful to be living in Nova Scotia where nature is close at hand." Beyond the technical training, NSCAD has taught Ron that artistic intention, meaningful communication, and contribution to society are the larger motivations for creating art. Ron, thank you for your many, thought-provoking works and for your support of the BMBCL. We look forward to seeing more of your paintings in the future.

To see more of Rons' works please visit his website.
"If we view a great mountain soaring into the sky, it may excite us, evoke an uplifted feeling within us. There is an interplay of something we see outside of us with our inner response. The artist takes that response and its feelings and shapes it on canvas with paint so that when finished it contains the experience."
Lawren Harris, Group of Seven
PACK IT IN - PACK IT OUT!
In our travelings, we continue to find evidence of past visitors to the BMBCL. To all of you that make the effort to carry out your own and other's waste - well done! As more and more visitors discover the BMBCL, waste left behind will likely continue to be an issue. Let's all keep working to leave our favorite places in a natural state - the way we like to find it on our next 'arrival'.
Photo: Dusan Soudek, Crane Lake campsite this winter
KEY LINKS FOR BMBCL INFORMATION:

> Ecology Action Centre: Historical Timeline
> Halifax Regional Municipality: Proposed Park
> Halifaxtrails.ca: Blue Mountain
> Our HRM Alliance: Call to Action
> N.S. Dept. of Environment: BMBCL Wilderness Area Description
NOTE: We have an active Facebook page with 900 followers, plus Friends is now on Instagram and Twitter. Have a look there too for more news!
CONTACT US : If you have requests, ideas, comments, concerns… please let us know c/o our website or email: bluemountainbirchcovelakes@gmail.com

NEWS Ed: Richard Vinson
Photo: RVinson, Late Winter Sun ...on the trail to Charlies Lake