Giving the forest a chance to recover
A moose feeding on the thorns of a conifer

Last fall, Parks Canada worked closely with Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) to complete the third moose harvest on North Mountain. A total of 35 moose were harvested according to traditional Mi’kmaq values and current practices. All harvests have taken place in the same 20 km2 area on North Mountain and the area is being monitored closely for signs of forest recovery.

A fourth harvest is planned for this fall. This will be the last moose harvest as part of the Bring Back the Boreal pilot project. A comprehensive moose population survey of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, is also planned for this winter. This will provide an up-to-date picture of the moose population in the park.

Monitoring forest recovery

Research is a big part of this project. We are monitoring the growth of newly planted seedlings on the Skyline trail as well as measuring the impact of moose on tree growth on North and French Mountains.

Although tree planting is now complete, monitoring will be ongoing for some time. What we already know is that about 84% of balsam fir (planted inside the exclosure to protect from moose) and 94% of white spruce (planted outside the exclosure) survived their first year after being planted. Did you know that although conifer trees are winter food sources for moose, they strongly prefer balsam fir over spruce? That’s why the fir seedlings required an exclosure, to keep moose from eating them, giving them a chance to grow.

While it is too early to tell if the reduction in moose population has had a lasting impact on vegetation on North Mountain, preliminary results show a decrease in browse impacts since the project started. We will keep monitoring to see if this positive response continues.

Meet the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office

Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO), also known in English as the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative, supports the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs with their various initiatives focused on the implementation of Mi’kmaq Rights and Title. KMKNO oversaw distribution of over 15,000 lbs of meat from last fall’s moose harvest to Mi’kmaq communities throughout the province as well as the North of Smokey Food Bank. Hides and other materials were used by Mi’kmaw to make clothing and other traditional items.

For more on KMKNO, check out mikmaqrights.com

The boreal forest in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is struggling. The Bring Back the Boreal project is a first step in restoring the health of this important ecosystem by planting tree seedlings, reducing the moose population, and building fences to prevent moose from overeating young trees from overeating young trees. A healthy boreal forest provides shelter to animals who depend on that forest for survival, including moose, snowshoe hares, birds, squirrels, lynx and American marten.

For more information visit parkscanada.gc.ca/bringbacktheboreal

What a view!
Sunset on the Boreal Forest of Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Check out the Skyline trail webcam on novascotiawebcams.com

It was installed on the viewing platform on the Skyline trail in October and there’s already been over 15,000 views!

This screen grab was taken Oct 23, 2017.