Blomidon Provincial Park will be home to a younger, stronger forest after unhealthy white spruce trees are cut down to make room for more diverse and longer-living trees. Nearly five acres of dead or dying white spruce will be cut as part of an ecological restoration project that begins the end of this month. In total, there are about 32 acres potentially affected. Downing the trees is a necessary first step to restore some of the area’s natural beauty and establish a more natural mix of trees. The project will also help reduce the immediate risk of forest fires and falling limbs or trees resulting from the breakdown of older white spruce. “This project will help restore the ecological balance and ensure public safety,” said Minister of Natural Resources Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “We may not see the benefits of this work for several years but, in the end, it will provide a more diversified, healthy forest for the camping area of the park.” The white spruce live for a short time and, as they age, are more subject to infestations by bark beetles. At Blomidon, the white spruce developed on abandoned pasture land and did not develop into a natural forest. Not all of the trees will be removed from the site. Where possible, felled white spruce trees will be left on the forest floor where they will decompose, providing nutrients to the soil and habitat for wildlife. To help ensure the new forest is more diverse, and better represents the naturally occurring vegetation, the Department of Natural Resources will help natural regeneration by planting trees and shrubs. Much of the restoration work is expected to take place before the provincial park opens for the season on May 15, and will be completed after the park closes in the fall.