Main River Becomes Waterway Provincial Park
On August 28 Newfoundland and Labrador Environment and Conservation Minister Charlene Johnson announced the establishment of the Main River Waterway Provincial Park. According to Minister Johnson, by being designated the province's newest park, Main River will be able to remain a tourist destination, while being protected and maintained for future generations.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce the establishment of our province's first waterway provincial park," Johnson said. "Designation of Main River Waterway Provincial Park under the Provincial Parks Act provides the necessary legislative mechanism to protect areas which exhibit exceptional natural and recreation characteristics while, at the same time, accommodating recreational activities and acting as stimulus for economic opportunities."
Located at the base of the Great Northern Peninsula, the Main River flows in a southeastern direction for 57 kilometers from the tundra-like barrens of the Long Range Mountains through old growth forests, a unique aquatic system known as the Big Steady, and a 23-kilometer white-water canyon before entering into the Atlantic Ocean near Sop's Arm.
Four Ponds on the Main River
In 2001 Main River was designated the province's first Canaduian Heritage River. This National River Conservation program promotes, protects, and enhances Canada's river heritage, and ensures Canada's featured rivers are managed in a sustainable manner. As part of its nomination document to the Canadian Heritage Rivers' board, the provincial government committed to protecting and managing the river in perpetuity.
To accomplish this, government proposed that the river comprise a 152 square kilometer waterway provincial park with an additional 49 square kilometer Special Management Area. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited, Kruger Inc, the major timber holder in the Main River watershed, contributed to the park's establishment by donating all timber rights in the park and agreeing to carry out only selective harvesting in the adjacent Special Management Area.
To assist in managing the new park, the provincial government established a multi-stakeholder committee. Stakeholders include municipal councils, local groups, development boards, tourism operators, conservation organizations, and resource management agencies.
As the IATNL has a permit to develop over 15 kilometers of trail within the park's boundaries, one can only wonder why it wasn't asked to sit on the committee.