The Department of Natural Resources wants the public to refrainfrom cutting and removing trees in provincial parks damaged byHurricane Juan. “While we appreciate that people want to help, this is a serioushealth and safety issue for the public and for our staff andcontractors who are in the parks working on the clean up,” saidRichard Hurlburt, Minister of Natural Resources. “Our contractorsare qualified and experienced at removing felled trees and debrissafely. We must leave them to it.” There are also ecological objectives for not removing all of thedebris in the parks — objectives that go beyond aesthetics.Downed vegetation is an important source of nutrients for thesoil and provides habitat for numerous types of wildlife. “Downed trees may not always look attractive, but they play animportant role in the reforestation of our parks and help protectsensitive ecosystems,” said the minister. “Often an untouchedtree is left as is deliberately by departmental staff to helprejuvenate the area.” The actions of a well-intended helper may in fact put that personand others at risk and may unintentionally damage a sensitivenatural environment.