Lichen Camp GLWA 2024

“Camp” has started again, this time at Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area.
Related posts on the Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area Facebook page are copied here with permission as a single record//to help make them more widely available. They are posted in reverse chronological order (most recent at top). Go to the first one as an intro.

Also view: Ashlea Hegedus-Viola on Stubble Lichens (Apr 9, 2024)


Lichen Camp Day 45
Nina Newington, Apr 15, 2024
Guess what?! An article by citizen scientists working to protect Goldsmith Lake is being published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. ‘Bursting the stubble bubble: citizen scientists measure ecological continuity near
Goldsmith Lake, Nova Scotia using calicioid lichens and fungi’ by Ashlea Viola, Nina Newington, Jonathan Riley, Steven Selva and Lisa Proulx will appear this spring in Evansia, vol. 41, issue 1.
Frosted Glass Whiskers is just one of the Calicioid (stubble) lichens we have found at Goldsmith. It is the only one that is granted the protection of a 100m buffer. There are

Abstract of article that will appear in Evansia

others that only show up in ‘late successional’ (old) forests as well. They tend to be rarer than ones that can live in younger forests, for obvious reasons. Without going into detail, North America’s Calicioid lichen expert, Dr. Steven Selva, proposes that finding more than 20 different species of stubble lichens in a forest indicates that that forest has the ecological continuity typical of very old forest and is therefore of high conservation value. We identified 27 different species in mixed forest west of Goldsmith Lake! That includes one species never before reported in Nova Scotia.


Lichen Camp Day 42
Nina Newington, Apr 12, 2024
Well, the sunshine was welcome while it lasted. There’s a special quality to the light in a canvas tent when the sun is out. But, whatever the weather, it feels good to be at Lichen Camp, looking around at forest that would by now be logged if it weren’t for your dedication.
The wind blasting up the road again is a reminder of how much worse it would be for all the inhabitants of the forest if the cuts approved by DNRR had gone ahead — cuts which claim to be ‘ecological’ even though they would remove at least 50% of the trees.
Thanks to the campers and lichen hunters, the dancers, painters, musicians, soup makers and bakers, email senders and schedulers, letter writers and poster makers, the forests around Goldsmith Lake are still standing. One day they will have permanent protection as the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area. For now, they depend on us. Contact lichencamp@gmail.com if you want to help.


Lichen Camp Day 40
Nina Newington, Apr 10, 2024
Monday’s foray into a part of the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area we hadn’t visited before took us into more beautiful old forest with big yellow Birch and — unusually — Red Spruce with diameters at breast height of 58cm and 66cm.
We found at least two species of late successional stubble lichens, including two Sclerophora. Whether these were the Frosted Glass Whiskers or her unprotected but if anything even rarer cousin we won’t know for a few days.
What we do know is that this whole area continues to surprise and delight us. Even though parts of it have been ravaged by past forestry practices, it has what it needs to heal if it is allowed to do so.


Lichen Camp Day 38
Nina Newington, Apr 8, 2024
After the wind dropped and the snow melted off, it was time to go back to putting up the second, smaller prospectors tent. This one has an exterior frame made of poles and rope. The first effort failed in another windstorm a couple of weeks ago. Lessons were learned, new strategies developed. It’s a good testing ground, the head of this logging road. So we shall see. One thing we have in abundance is tenacity. Some might have other words for it.
Today looks like a great day to go lichen hunting in another enticing spot in the amazing Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area (proposed Wilderness Area, that is.) To be followed by some partial eclipse watching. Life is good.


Lichen Camp Day 35
Nina Newington on Apr 5, 2024


The yellow patches on this map [at right] have been identified by DNRR as potential sites for clearcutting and spraying.

Lichen Camp Day 33
Nina Newington on Apr 3, 2024
Goldsmith Lake is a rare, unspoiled lake where speckled trout still thrive. Here’s what DNRR has in mind for it, if we don’t get this area protected. The yellow patches on this map [at right] have been identified by DNRR as potential sites for clearcutting and spraying. The green patches have already been approved for ‘ecological’ forestry, meaning the removal of 50% of the trees.
Just look at where DNRR thinks it would be appropriate to clearcut. Right down to the boat landing at the north end of the lake. On the peninsula where we identified old-growth. Those green dots are big old hemlocks. DNRR have since scaled the clearcut sites back very slightly around the now officially recognized old-growth but these supposedly ‘High Production Forestry’ sites still reach from lake shore to lake shore across the peninsula. They leave a buffer of 20 whole meters between the clearcut and lake edge.
Then there are all the little streams that meander through the proposed clearcuts into the lake. Listen again to what long-time resident Richard Fox has to say in our Day 31 post about the effects of any future logging around Goldsmith Lake on the trout that still thrive there.
Thanks to the citizen scientists who identified all the species at risk occurrences shown with their buffer zones, DNRR quietly reduced the green ‘ecological’ harvest areas by 40% in November. That was good. But also misleading. The Minister’s PR team assures the public there will be no clearcutting around Goldsmith Lake. They fail to add one critical word. Yet.
Protect the Goldsmiths Lake Wilderness Area!


Lichen Camp Day 31
Richard Fox stopped by camp the other day. He has lived most of his 70+ years on the Morse Rd. As a teenager he fished in Corbett and Goldsmith Lakes. ‘The streams that flowed from those lakes, the trout seemed boundless to my innocent eyes.’ But then Bloody Creek was dammed and a canal was cut from Corbett to the newly created Dalhousie Lake. The last trout was caught in Corbett Lake in 1988. Fortunately Goldsmith Lake is different…


Lichen Camp Day 29
Nina Newington, Mar 30, 2024
Marilynn-Leigh Francis, District Chief of the 1st Original District Kespukwitk Overseer’s Tribal Council, presented this flag to the Last Hope camp on January 21st, 2022. It flew there until the camp declared a win six months later. The District Chief has given permission for the flag to be flown at Lichen Camp and was planning to visit but the roads turned to soup. We are looking forward to welcoming her to our forest protection and education camp.

The flag design is taken from a petroglyph. It represents the seven traditional districts of Mi’kma’ki, of which Kespukwitk is the first. It is an honour and a reminder, to see this flag flying over camp.

Gary Metallic Sr, the District Chief of 7th District Gespegawagi (Gaspe peninsula) of Mi’kma’ki commented on our January 22nd, 2022, post about the District Chief’s visit to the Last Hope Camp on the Peace and Friendship Alliance Facebook group. He gave us permission to copy his comment:

It warms my heart to see the 1st District Kespukwitk District Chief Marilyn Leigh Francis and her family and allies at your protection camp. Their visit is not to only be seen as a symbolic visit within their still Unceded 1st District homelands, but their presence at your protection camp means that you as the non Mi’gmaq allies protectors are there by their invitation which the N.S. Provincial government cannot label you as trespassers.

Further it is their 1st Districts Original kespukwitk’s governing systems recognition of your commitment and sacrifices made for the protection of all the wildlife, fauna and waters in their Unceded Ancestral District territory.

We the 7th District Gespegawagi Overseers Tribal governing system formed a similar alliance back in 2017 with the Quebec environmentalist who had also setup their Protectors River camp in our Gespégawagi traditional territory to stop an oil and gas company from drilling for oil near a salmon river. The Quebec govt tried to charge them for trespassing and dismantle their camp, they asked our 7th District Tribal council to write a letter to the Quebec govt that they were there at our invitation within our still Unceded 7th District homelands.

Once that letter was sent to the Quebec govt they stopped their threats to dismantle the environmental protectors camp because they didn’t want an Aboriginal title case in the Quebec Superior court. Nice to see the Original Seven Districts Nation flag, find a high pole to tie it to, that flag that will fly at that camp affirms that it is on still Unceded Mi’kmaq lands, Welalieg.


Mar 25, 2024
🎂Happy Birthday to SOOF!🎂
The Save Our Old Forests (SOOF) campaign turns one year old today! SOOF officially launched the campaign at the Bridgetown Legion on March 25, 2023. From the beginning we wanted to get people involved to help Save Our Old Forests by doing things they love to do- whether that is making art, crafting, baking cookies, singing, dancing or playing music. Having fun, building community and working together is all part of SOOF!
In the last year SOOF has:
🌿launched petitions in Annapolis, Kings, Lunenburg, Hants, Colchester, Cumberland, Halifax, Pictou, Digby, Yarmouth and Antigonish counties
🌿collected over 4700 signatures (to date)
🌿hosted the art and citizen science show “For The Love of Lichens and Old Forests” art show (ArtsPlace)
🌿held workshops at the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area teaching folks how to use iNaturalist and Tree Identification
🌿hosted presentations featuring Dr. Cindy Staicer and Frances Anderson
🌿participated at RiverFest, Forest Markets, and several Christmas markets
🌿hosted a poetry reading featuring shalan joudry and Basma Kavanagh
🌿collaborated with Blooming Ludus and Untitled Road on a Nova Scotia version of “Moving a Forest” (interactive theatre game)
🌿presented the SOOF campaign to the Town of Annapolis Royal, the Town of Middleton, the Municipality of Annapolis County, NS Wild Flora Society, and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons
🌿hosted an Old Time Music & Country Dance at the Round Hill Hall
🌿hosted SOOF Soup Sundays at the Centrelea Community Hall, and
🌿held our first ever music festival SOOFSTOCK at the West Dalhousie Community Hall featuring 14 performances from local musicians!
It was a full year of fun events and we are looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring!
Shout out to all the amazing and generous supporters and volunteers – we couldn’t have done any of this without you! Thank you


Lichen Camp Day 23
Nina Newington, Mar 24, 2024
Lichen learning yesterday when citizen scientists take some campers to see Frosted Glass Whiskers and Coral Lichen, two of the amazing array of calicioid (stubble) lichens found in the forests around Goldsmith Lake….Comments Lisa Proux: Lisa Proulx: What happens when a group of concerned Citizen Scientists go out in the woods to look for Species at Risk lichens to try to save and protect some of the last of Annapolis County’s Old Forests on Crown (public) lands? We attract more concerned Citizen Scientists who want to help! We have a mycologist, an entomologist, a lichenologist (or two!), a PhD candidate researching the relationship between humans and fungi, an experienced woodsman among many others all willing to share their knowledge to help #saveouroldforests
It is heartbreaking to see our old forests disappear but heartwarming to know so many folks care enough to come out, even on cold winter days, to share their time and expertise to help us in our quest.
And guess what? We found more Frosted Glass Whiskers, a protected Species at Risk lichen! #soof #citizenscience #citizenscientists #friendsofgoldsmithlake


Lichen Camp Day 22
Nina Newington, Mar 23, 2024
When you clearcut a 30m wide swathe through forest to make a 6m wide logging road, what do you think happens to conditions in the surrounding forest?

Lichen camp is at the north end of this 2km
long road. We call it the ‘abominable new road.’ We can tell you from experience after several windstorms (and another in the forecast for tonight) that a roadway this wide creates an incredible wind tunnel. The humid, sheltered conditions found in the interiors of old forests, the sort the species at risk lichens we have been finding require, are destroyed when a road like this slices through a rare area of relatively intact forest.
It’s not just lichens that are affected, it is all the life forms that evolved to live in the shelter of old forests. It is the endangered mainland moose who require habitat that is not chopped up by roads. Very few areas of Nova Scotia’s forests are without roads. Putting the new road in west of Goldsmith Lake was an act of ecological vandalism sanctioned by DNRR.

DNRR chose not to listen to comments from the public in the spring of 2022 about the ecological importance of the area. They failed to identify a single species at risk in any of the cutblocks they approved for the area. Instead they approved the harvest plans in the early summer. WestFor must have constructed the road pretty promptly. Citizen Scientists first came upon it from the south in October 2022. It was a sickening discovery, to step out of the shady forest into the glare of the huge area clearcut at the end of the road. The stumps of large yellow birch and pines were visible to either side of the road.

The forest removed in the 6 hectares WestFor clearcut to make the road is not counted in calculating how much forest is removed from each of the three harvest plan areas the road passes through. Why not? DNRR explained it wouldn’t be fair to the contractors logging those harvest plan areas. Why? Well, the contractor who made the road got all that wood. The total amount removed from the harvest plan areas apparently doesn’t matter even though any claim to doing ecological forestry requires careful accounting of exactly what percentage of the forest is taken.

Instead, it looks as if the contractor who makes the road gets to take the wood as part of the payment for the roadbuilding. That creates quite an incentive for WestFor to keep its road building costs down by allowing the cutting of such a wide strip. DNRR, when we complained about the width of the road, said they preferred to see a 20m strip and they would bring it up with WestFor. Was WestFor fined for this wood grab? Well no.
What happens when the government decides, in the face of the sheer mountain of evidence citizen scientists are amassing, and the ever-growing public support for the idea, that they should in fact protect the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area?

It’s going to take a long time to heal the wound inflicted by this road on the forests to the west side of Goldsmith Lake. WestFor is going to grouse about having wasted money building a road they aren’t going to get to use. Environment and Climate Change may need to step in to decommission the road. If DNRR had a better process for identifying areas that should be protected before they approve plans to log them, all this damage could have been avoided.

In the absence of the personnel and expertise to identify species at risk habitats, how about listening to Save Our Old Forests? Put a pause on approving logging, road building and other industrial activities in forests over 80 years old on crown lands until the 20% of our province to be protected has been identified.




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Lichen Camp Day 21
Has it really been three weeks since we set up our forest protection and education camp? We’ve had amazing visitors; civil conversations with WestFor, the local DNRR and the logging contractor; lots of successful forays searching for species at risk. The forest where logging was imminent is still standing. Support for protecting the Goldsmith Lake and Beal’s Brook Wilderness Areas is growing by the day.
Yesterday municipal councillor Brad Redden and his son stopped in for a visit. Conversation included the impact that logging this area would have on the watershed. The spot where camp
is set up is not just in an area approved for Commercial Thinning which would remove 50% of the forest, it is also an area identified by DNRR as a potential site for clearcutting and spraying (optimistically known as ‘High Production Forestry.’) We need to protect forests on the South Mountain for biodiversity and carbon storage, yes, but also because they soak up water, hold it, gently release it. A heavy rainstorm when it hits clearcuts and extraction trails pours off the mountain, silting streams, flooding driveways and washing out culverts. Who pays for that damage? Not WestFor.
While conversation followed these lines, the ginger cookies donated to camp after the last SOOF Soup Sunday were greatly enjoyed by the younger generation…
Chilly days call for soup and carbs and we had both.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 21, 2024
Lichen Camp Day 20
Yesterday was another great day for lichen hunters. Our numbers are growing — both the number of hunters and the number of species at risk lichen occurrences.

We added four more (pending confirmation) Frosted Glass Whiskers yesterday in a part of a cutblock we hadn’t visited before!

The survey we carried out last year of all sorts of species of stubble lichens in the area west of Goldsmith Lake indicated that this is an area of remarkable ecological continuity. We found other very rare species of stubble lichens beside the Frosted Glass Whiskers, species typically found in late successional (aka very old) forests, including one never found before in Nova Scotia. DNRR has read the scientific paper some of the citizen scientists wrote about that survey. The paper has been reviewed and recommended for publication by Troy McMullin, lichenologist at the Canadian Museum of Science.

What is it going to take to convince DNRR that they should put a hold on all the harvest plans approved for Goldsmith Lake West and Harris Brook (their name for the cutblocks on the east side of Goldsmith)? We are not going to stop looking and it seems likely we will keep finding. Isn’t this getting silly? Surely DNRR is embarrassed enough that they did not identify a single species at risk in any of the cutblocks they approved for logging around Goldsmith Lake?

We need interim protection for areas proposed for protection. Log first, protect later is not acceptable.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 20, 2024
Lichen Camp Day 19
There is joy in working together to protect somewhere and something you care about. Whether it is eating delicious lasagna in a warm tent with friends or hiking through swamps in search of species at risk, the shared goal adds to the pleasure. Put another way, it helps with the despair and outrage many of us feel as violence, greed, indifference tear our beautiful world apart.
So we add another black ash to the map and three more Frosted Glass Whiskers (pending confirmation), plan another foray today, discuss what it will take to convince DNRR they really should let go of the idea of logging here. How much evidence do they need that this is a unique and ecologically valuable area that should be protected? You just don’t find this kind of concentration of Frosted Glass Whiskers. We only ever found one at Last Hope/Beals Brook for example. These lichens are quite specific as to habitat.
By the same token the Lichen that saved the cutblock by Beal’s Brook from logging, the Black Foam lichen (Anzia colpodes), has not showed up at all in our lichen searches around Goldsmith Lake


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 18, 2024
Lichen Camp Day 17
Some campers came down from the mountain for soup and learning — green learning that is for St. Pattie’s day. Beef vegetable soup (thank you Rob Bright) and Thai peanut (thanks Crystal Veinot) plus delicious brown bread donated by Bee’s Knees. The sweet treats table groaned with goodies people brought. Camping is good for the appetite but there was more than enough to go around for all the people who piled into the Centerlea Community Hall.
And then there were fungi. Retired professor Keith Eggers’ talk took us below the forest floor into the amazing interdependent world of trees and fungi. Some of the figures are staggering. Fossils from 420 million years ago show threads of fungi present inside the root cells of plants. Plants as they moved from ocean to land were already relying on fungi, fungi helping plants to gather nutrients from the soil while benefiting from the carbohydrates the plants photosynthesize. 92% of all plants depend on partnerships with assorted fungi. 75% of all plants rely on just 250 species of fungi, including our beloved chanterelles. (Oh, back to food again…)
There are a few freeloaders (here’s looking at you Ghost Pipes) but mostly cooperation and mutual benefit rule the day.
Thank you SOOF for the third great Soupy Sunday.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 17, 2024
Nina Newington
Lichen Camp Day 16
Research and education, conversation and companionship, all are improved by shelter and warmth. Many thanks to the tent raising crew and some background help from YouTube. It’s an amazing old-timey structure and makes perfect sense in a windy spot like the head of this logging road. But it has to be said that viewing “How to raise a tent for elk and mule deer hunting” saved a lot of experimentation.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 16, 2024:
Lichen Camp Day 15
There’s so much to learn about the diversity of life in our forests. Here’s @LisaProulx talking about the glow in the dark fungus she spotted growing on a stick while we were lichen hunting. The Latin name is Panellus stipticus — Luminescent Panellus or Bitter Oyster are common names on iNaturalist.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 15, 2024:

Lichen Camp Day 14
A great day, yesterday. The sun shone, snow melted, we found another Frosted Glass Whiskers lichen (pending confirmation) in the forest near camp as well as all manner of other wonders. Glow in the dark fungus anyone? More from Lisa Proulx on bioluminescence in another post.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 14, 2024:

Lichen Camp Day 13

Should be nice weather for a little light lichen hunting today. Nothing like the foray on March 2nd which yielded 3 new possible species at risk Frosted Glass Whiskers lichens in and around a cutblock where neither we nor the lichenologist WestFor hired had found any.

It generally takes a lot of person hours in the woods to find just one cluster of these pin-sized lichens, if you find them at all. They need a long time in old undisturbed forest to establish themselves. And then, if you do find some, because you can’t tell with just a hand lense whether you have found the protected Sclerophora peronella or her unprotected cousin S. amabilis, you take a very small sample, get it to an expert and wait for microscopic confirmation.

Occasionally, because you only take a tiny sample, the sample is insufficient and you need to go back and collect a better one. That’s what happened with one occurrence first identified in 2023. We collected a new sample on March 3rd.

It’s a careful, time consuming process. You want to have the least possible impact on the lichens and at the same time, this is the work that will protect them from the feller buncher crunching through the forest where they live.

The ‘harvest prescriptions’ approved by DNRR for the cutblocks where we continue to find the Frosted Glass Whiskers all involve removing at least 50% of the forest. Without our work, this amazing habitat would already have suffered far worse disturbance than the 30m wide clearcut WestFor made through these forests in the summer of 2022 to put in their new logging road.

So – drum roll please — all four of the March 2nd and 3rd specimens have been confirmed as the species at risk Frosted Glass Whiskers. With two out of three finds from February 25th also confirmed, that puts the total number of species at risk occurrences identified in the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area at 40! Plus one still awaiting confirmation…

This is truly extraordinary, especially when you learn that the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables is still peddling WestFor’s line that the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area has already been cut over and is not worth protecting.

Forty SAR occurrences, 33 of them an old growth forest indicator species, are not enough, it seems, to convince DNRR to give the whole area interim protection while final decisions are made about areas that will be given permanent protection to meet the 20% goal. Individual buffers are not enough when you find this many occurrences in one area. You need to protect the whole habitat. Guess we’ll just have to keep looking…


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area Mar 13, 2024

Lichen Camp Day 12 — Drinking that first wonderful cup of coffee, wild geese flew over the big tent, calling. However often I hear it, it stirs me. The calls keep the flock connected. Not unlike these little posts on Facebook?! There’s an analogy I never thought I’d make. But out at camp in unexpected snow, the little likes and hearts and hugs and comments do connect us all. Attention might be the scarcest resource and we choose to spend some of it on each other, the people who care for the forests and all our relations, human and nonhuman. Welalin.


From Post on Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area Mar 12, 2024
So this is what is happening out at the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area (proposed) A small group of Citizen Scientists have been diligently looking since early 2022 for this tiny stubble lichen that is so special it is supposed to be protected. And we are finding it! This document says Frosted glass Whiskers is difficult to find and that is right.
But if you understand their habitat needs you know where to look in the nooks and crannies of big old Red Maple or Yellow Birch trees’ exposed heartwood. We have found 6 new locations in the last couple of weeks alone.
And yet, DNRR has lifted the holds that had been placed on these cutblocks about a year ago, so that contractors can start logging. They are only required to leave a 100 meter buffer around each lichen, instead of protecting the entire habitat.
Check out the provincial regulations here: https://novascotia.ca/natr/wildlife/habitats/terrestrial/pdf/SMP_BFL_At-Risk-Lichens.pdf


Lichen Camp Day 11. (Mar 11, 2024)
Spirits are good on a snowy day on the South Mountain. No snow in the Valley, we hear. Warm tent, interesting conversation reading the Province’s ‘At-Risk Lichens — Special Management Practices’ document (2018). The « Rare and sensitive » lichen we have found in several different parts of the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, the Frosted Glass-whiskers or Sclerophora peronella, « is very habitat specific, associated with very old forest.» When one of us gets home we’ll post the whole entry. It makes the case perfectly for why a place where this lichen has been found in unusual numbers should be protected.
Instead DNRR appears to have decided to ignore its own document and lift the holds on logging around Goldsmith. Rather than protecting the whole habitat, they want to chop it up, leaving only individual buffers around each of the occurrences of this species at risk.
Which part of their own statement don’t they get: « Many of the rare species of lichen in Nova Scotia require stable, moist conditions, combined with air quality that is relatively free of contaminants. Consequently, any land use activity that significantly alters the micro climate surrounding a forest lichen can pose a threat to that lichen’s long-term survival.”
Such as removing 50% or more of the forest — which is what every single one of the supposedly ecological harvest prescriptions approved for the area calls for? Does DNRR seriously believe this is the way to « prioritize biodiversity on crown land »?


From Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 7, 2024


From Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, Mar 5, 2024


Join Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area to keep an eye on the happenings at Goldsmith Lake, NS…. a beautiful forest full of biodiversity and species at risk.

Lisa ProulxFriends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area
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What is Lichen Camp ?
Lichen Camp is a forest protection and education camp dedicated to educating the public and the government about biodiversity and the importance of protecting it. The specific focus is protecting the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area. The camp came together when it became clear that the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables had removed the holds on extensive harvest plans in the area and that logging was imminent.
In 2022, Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova proposed this 3900 hectare area of forests, wetlands and lakes to the Minister of Environment for protection as the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area. They have been exploring the area ever since, discovering old growth forests and species at risk. By March 2023 they had identified 17 species at risk occurrences, almost all lichens and almost all in cutblocks previously approved for harvesting. To their credit, DNRR put holds on all the cutblocks touched by species at risk occurrences. By the beginning of March 2024, the citizen scientists had doubled the number of species at risk occurrences they had identified within the proposed wilderness area. They also discovered that the holds had been lifted and that DNRR was allowing logging to proceed in all but “portions” of the cutblocks.
Lichen Camp is asking the government to extend immediate interim protection to the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area while final decisions are made as to which 300,000 hectares will be conserved in order to meet the target of protecting 20% of Nova Scotia by 2030.
In the meantime, Lichen Camp will serve as a base for workshops and guided hikes, teaching people about lichens, species at risk and the importance of old forests. With a pristine lake and old growth forest nearby, Lichen Camp is a great starting point for people to see for themselves why the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area needs to be protected in perpetuity, for humans and for all our non-human kin.