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No picking: Point Pleasant Park proposal targets people who pick plants

Popular plucked plants include Lady's Slippers, Mayflowers, Irises

3 min read
caption Point Pleasant Park with the By-Law
Sixian Zuo

A campaign with the slogan “Leave nothing, take nothing” is being proposed to stop people from picking plants from Point Pleasant Park.

At a meeting Thursday, the Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee agreed to push for a public awareness campaign. It’s asking the Halifax and West Community Council to request municipal staff to look into the matter.

No one is supposed to pick the plants. The penalty for violating this Municipal Parks Bylaw is a fine between $100 and $10,000.

But people still pick plants, said Paula Minnikin, the president of the advisory committee, at the meeting.

caption Paula Minnikin, right, the president of the committee, talks during the meeting.
Sixian Zuo

“I have personally spoken to people with Sobeys bags and said ‘hi, you can’t really take that bag full of plants out of the park,’” Minnikin said.

She described one area, near Sailors Memorial Way, where people tend to pick a lot of plants, usually in the early morning during the spring and summer months.

“If you go down there in spring, what you take a picture of one week, the next week there are half as many and there’s holes,” said Minnikin. “It is pretty obvious.”

caption Plants are disappearing from Sailors Memorial Way, in particular.

Lady’s Slippers, Mayflowers, Irises, various orchids and some of the tubers existed in Point Pleasant Park when it was used as a residential area when Halifax was first settled. But they are the plants that easily become targeted by plant pickers.

“Those are obviously things that we would not replant. So when we lose them, we lose them for forever,” said Minnikin. “It is really difficult to regenerate the actual seeds, tubers and roots of the plants.”

Stephen Rice, supervisor of major parks in the Halifax Regional Municipality, said most of the complaints or calls through 311 about plant picking are about Point Pleasant Park.

Minnikin said some people may forage plants for their medicinal or edible properties, however, she reminds them that “it is against the law to take plants out of the park.”

As for berries, they are allowed to be taken from Point Pleasant since they fall from the tree and can regrow, said Coun. Waye Mason.

caption Berries can be removed because they fall to the ground. This photo was taken in Point Pleasant Park in fall 2016.
Sixian Zuo

There are more than 700 public parks in the HRM. Rice said the no-picking campaign would apply to all parks, not just Point Pleasant.  

If approved, people could see “Do Not Pick the Plants” signs sprouting up.

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  1. J

    Judy Houlihan

    Many are not aware that some plants are rare or protected and need to be left where they grow. Many plants do not adjust to their new location. This would be an opportunity to promote awareness of the damage that can be done and teach and remind the public of the rarity of certain plants in their natural habitat. Pitcher plants and Lady's slippers are rare to find. Unfortunately signs that are not well secured into the ground may become extinct, too. I have taught my children and grandchildren to identify plants nad appreciate them in hteir natural environment and preserve them for others to enjoy.
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