The province added a large chunk of land to their crown assets last month, with the purchase of the Resolute assets in Nova Scotia. Now they are figuring out how best to manage it.
Officially the province took over the land on Dec. 21. Charlie Parker, minister of natural resources, says planning is already underway to find the best uses.
While they are working on a plan though, the lands still need to be managed. That role falls to the Department of Natural Resources, with help from former Resolute employees.
"We're fortunate to still have some of the expertise from the woodland staff that worked with Bowater," he says.
The land has been incorporated with the rest of the crown land in Nova Scotia, however because it is so much land the province wants to make sure it is put to good use.
"With a strong emphasis on sustainable forestry management," Parker says. "We have lots of demand on fibre needs in Nova Scotia, so we are looking at the options available to us."
A vast amount of land gives them a vast amount of options. Some of the land will go towards their conservation goals. The province wants to have 12 per cent of the land protected by 2015.
Parker says they also want to use the land as an economic driver as well. The province started a consultation process on creating community forests, a concept that has been pushed for since Resolute announced they were selling off their assets.
In Canada there are over 100 community forests already in place, though none in Nova Scotia. They are used for local benefits with most of the profits going back into the community, and promote long-term sustainability of the forest.
"Community benefits and sustainable management are important criteria in that process," Parker says of the consultation.
The public will have its say as well. Parker says he isn't sure how they will consult with the public, but when ready they will announce how they can give feedback.
"We're excited for the prospect of community planning and community engagement. We want to make sure we do this right," he says.