I grew up on the Upper Salmonier River chasing salmon, it was a family tradition. In the 1930s my grandfather had a cabin and smokehouse at Murphy’s Falls.
When my father returned from the Second World War he (and some friends) purchased another cabin there.
And we still have a cabin there, so I have been enjoying the river all my life.
This will be my 58th year. But I am more concerned now than ever about the future of the river and its salmon.
And that is because the proposed 11-kilometre Big Triangle Pond Access Road makes no mention of its possible impacts on the salmon.
I guess the authors of the proposal don’t know the real meaning of the word “access.”
This proposed road will easily open up access to the salmon's spawning grounds to everyone.
And this is not good for the salmon as the best single predictor of healthy salmon runs in rivers in this province today is the ease of access to the salmon’s spawning grounds.
Rivers whose spawning grounds are easily accessed are in trouble. Just look at what the forest access roads did to the rivers in Bay St. George.
Why do you think Harry’s River is in trouble?
My God, the salmon conservation groups even opened up previously inaccessible spawning habitat to the Gander and Exploits River salmon to improve the runs.
And there are many more examples.
Yet the tiny Salmonier River, with its thousands of anglers, smack in the middle of fully half of this province’s population, remains quite healthy.
And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why.
As a minimum, it’s a two-hour trek or a 12-kilometre canoe trip to the salmon’s spawning grounds.
Yes, even here on the Avalon — with all of our oil riches and expanding population — we have some true wilderness left.
But that will all change if this road goes through.
If there is anywhere in this province that we need to preserve a little true wilderness, its on the overpopulated Avalon.
Are you listening Premier Tom Marshall, Minister Joan Shea?
But access is not the only problem with this proposal for that 11-kilometre road.
In reality, this entire proposal is ass-backwards. You don't need a road to do mineral exploration.
Above all, Albert Chislett knows this.
Sure this road will make it easier for him, but at what cost?
What ever happened to helicopters and winter access? Or the
use of the major highway (the Salmonier Line) that is very closely parallel to the entire proposed road?
What's wrong with using this highway and a few spur roads?
And furthermore, this proposal itself makes it clear that this exploration is unlikely to result in the establishment of a commercial mine.
Most explorations produce nothing.
So what are we likely to be left with — an 11-km-road to nowhere?
Or will it be to nowhere?
Currently, the Government is selling cabin lots in the Salmonier Line area for $50,000 each. Could this be the government’s hidden agenda for this road?
Why am I so suspicious of this Government?
If Premier Marshall and Minister Shea are sincere about a truly “Open Government,” they should say to Mr. Chislett and his proposal: “Bring it back in six years if you plan to build a mine there!”