Environment Media release

News release: Group urges Premier Rankin to save Owls Head Provincial Park

The grassroots group Save Little Harbour/Owls Head Provincial Park From Becoming Golf Courses is calling on Premier Rankin to immediately discontinue the sale of Owls Head Provincial Park.

The McNeil administration’s decision to secretly delist and offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park sparked province-wide opposition when the story broke in December 2019. Sydnee McKay, who grew up in Little Harbour, founded the Facebook group that is now approaching 4,000 concerned citizens. McKay noted that the fundamental issues are transparency, environmental protection, and government accountability. “Premier Rankin can show that his administration will be open and transparent in all its decision-making by withdrawing from the Letter of Offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park,” McKay said. 

McKay explained that the secret delisting and offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park set a dangerous precedent, threatening nearly 200 other nature reserves, provincial park reserves, and wilderness areas. She points out that they all have the same vulnerable status that Owls Head Provincial Park had before it was secretly delisted. “If it could happen here, it could happen anywhere in Nova Scotia,” McKay said. “That’s why thousands of Nova Scotians have joined the ‘Save Owls Head’ movement. They’re concerned about the park, the process, and the precedent.” 

Chris Trider, a co-administrator of the Facebook group, said that Premier Rankin needs to start over with an emphasis on the available scientific data. “We all know how hard it can be for politicians to re-evaluate past decisions,” Trider said. “But look at how well using the best scientific research has worked for us in dealing with Covid-19. We believe an impartial review, with full public participation, would clearly show Premier Rankin that he should save Owls Head Provincial Park.”





Nova Scotia Supreme Court will hold a judicial review hearing of the government’s decisions on April 1, 2021.



  1. I hope Premier-elect will find the courage to save Owls head. It can be difficult to change a decision that has been so public but it is the right thing.

  2. Owls Head Provincial Park will be the true litmus test of Iain Rankin’s tenure as premier.

    Even an assessment commissioned by the would-be developer determined that the “highest and best use” of the land is “conservation and recreation” (such as hiking and kayaking). Thousands of citizens across the province care deeply about this cause – and that number continues to grow.

    Protecting Owls Head Provincial Park would show that Premier-elect Rankin is committed to his campaign platform, namely:

    • Moving towards a carbon-neutral future (the offshore eelgrass meadows can actually absorb up to 35x more carbon than rainforests)
    • Protecting significant ecosystems (globally rare coastal broom crowberry ecosystem)
    • Safeguarding biodiversity
    • Promoting sustainable tourism
    • And listening to Nova Scotians

  3. It is of the utmost importance to avoid the selling of our precious resources to people from outside Canada. Owls Head is ours and we wish to keep it for what it was intended a beautiful park,not a golf course for a few rich people.

  4. Thanks for posting this press release item for Save Owls Head. I am the founder of the Save Owls Head web site, thanks as well for linking to our site and content. Lindsay Lee, our site content creator and managing editor, and I, and the rest of our volunteers, are grateful for your support in publicizing this important cause.

    (FYI, I am also thrilled that you used one of my personal photos for the thumbnail on the homepage. I do need to say that it is not within the Owls Head Provincial Park boundaries but those are inshore wetlands in Clam Bay, where the Owls Heads peninsula forms the Eastern horn. No credit necessary. Just thrilled you chose it.)

  5. I am pleased that the Premier-elect, Ian Rankin, has stated that he will be abandoning the secrecy of the previous government, show a willingness to accept public input and work toward addressing the climate crisis by acting forcefully. Saving Owls Head Provincial Park will be a test of these public commitments. I hope he follows through on his first public statements and makes a decision concerning Owls Head, a decision that will protect other parks from being secretly delisted and offered at rock bottom prices for “development”.

  6. Our new Premier says he is committed to protecting Nova Scotia’s environment. Protecting Owls Head is a chance for him to prove he’s serious about that.

  7. Nova Scotia stands at a fork in the road. Premier Rankin has the power to choose the business-as-usual, climate-crisis-fueling highway of enabling and rewarding industry to continue running roughshod over our province . . . or . . . to choose the path of protection.

    This opportunity, to relist Owl’s Head and stop the sale of this rare and biodiverse, coastal property, is an early and defining moment in his premiership. This one act will clearly demonstrate – and celebrate – that the tide has changed in Nova Scotia.

  8. I’m having mixed feelings about commenting on this, but I hope the Premier-elect will re-think his stance and his previous actions as it concerns the Owls Head Provincial Park, the Lahey Report, the cozy relationship with Wes For, the unthinkable attitude towards biodiversity, forestry in general, clear-cutting thousands of hectares of wilderness, mainland moose habitat, bird nestings, fish and all the wildlife in the lakes, rivers, swamps and meadows, etc., etc..! Injunctions when it comes to the Crown lands all over Nova Scotia. He said last night he was premier for “all” nova Scotians! I hope he remembers that when he sees extraordinary people in NS standing up for the fragile ecosystem, going to court because of him and “that attitude”. People willing to go to jail or pay a fine for trying to protect the very land we need to sustain us. I live in a very rural part of Lunenburg County. I’ve benefited from the forestry industry being employed by a large mill for 30 + yrs. The wood supplied to that mill came from all over this end of the province, some may be very near where I live. Wes For controls 13 mills or sawmills in this province. I understand people need jobs, many people are in some way connected to the forestry industry in providing the wood for the mills. Is there no way to do it more sustainably? Is profit in monetary terms the only benefit that people see in the forests and wilderness areas of our lands? Do people not believe what many scientists and researchers are telling us about climate change, and the effects our human activities are having on this biosphere? Covid might be teaching us all a very “hard lesson”, Mr. Rankin, please do the “right things” as Premier.

  9. Please protect our greenspaces we have left. Owls head is definitely one of many that should be fully protected.

    I really hope that it is decided to save this beautiful place.

  10. Thanks for posting this excellent letter NS Advocate. I want to see Owl’s Head relisted and protected.

  11. The people should know the sale to the developer for all that prime endangered ecosystem will be the cost of one average home for $250k, Someone’s pockets are being lined. Just think of it, would the government sell you the average person 600 and some acres Of prime ocean front land for $250k. The golf course is a front so the developer can build condos and homes where the greed of money is that he and his family will never spend in a life time. It’s greed over nature . The government of Nova Scotia should be ashamed of itself for even considering selling an endangered ecosystem system. 😢😢😢

  12. Premier Rankin, you were the Minister of the Environment when this ill-conceived give away of the Owls Head land that was designated for parkland. Stand up, be a man and admit you made a mistake and reverse this decision. You will earn the respect of many Nova Scotians. If you don’t, it will signal a continuation of the McNeil closed shop governance which kowtows to big money and ignores its constituents.

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