Nature Conservancy of Canada closes in on Crabbes River goal

Christmas fundraiser gives boost to land-protection project

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Published on February 19, 2014
The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s program manager in Newfoundland and Labrador, Lanna Campbell, at the Crabbes River property in the Bay St. George area. The non-profit group is looking to raise enough money to preserve the property from development. — Submitted photo courtesy of Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is closing in on a fundraising goal for the protection of 606 acres of property at Crabbes River, near the town of St. Fintan’s in Bay St. George South.

The project is a favourite of Rob Crosbie, chairman of the board of Crosbie Group and chairman of Marine Atlantic, who fished in the area years ago and now volunteers on a Nature Conservancy of Canada advisory board.

The Telegram asked Crosbie about the non-profit group’s latest project Friday, at the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council (NLEC) Employers of Distinction awards in St. John’s, where Marine Atlantic was being recognized.

“It’s not often you get 600 acres of land come free that encompasses two banks of a salmon river, that’s one of the best salmon rivers on the west coast,” he said of the Crabbes River site.

“I think when those opportunities come up, if the land is not needed for economic development, then I think it’s a good idea to have it put away and conserved.”

In December, the Nature Conservancy of Canada was promoting the property’s preservation to people in Newfoundland and Labrador, calling for the purchase of a special Christmas gift from the non-profit, in contribution to the cause — a symbolic acre of land, protected in the name of a friend or loved one.

Each acre was priced at $40 and donations were met with a charitable tax receipt and Nature Conservancy of Canada calendar.

“The campaign has gone very well and we’ve come very close to crossing the finish line,” said Lanna Campbell, program manager in Newfoundland and Labrador.

She could not say Tuesday exactly where the fundraising stands, but said she expects a successful ending to be announced in 2014.

“We don’t make an official announcement on the project until all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted,” she said.

Information provided to The Telegram notes the total cost of the Nature Conservancy project is about $475,685.

The area is often referred to as the Van Horne property, given it was sold to Sir William C. Van Horne in 1900 and has bben held by his family since. Van Horne was a railway builder and president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, helping to oversee its construction.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has stated the area is notably home to white pine, black bear, caribou and Newfoundland marten.

Meanwhile, the non-profit has begun poking around the Salmonier River area for its next fundraising project.

“The Salmonier area is an area that we’ve identified as a priority for conservation because it has a lot of intact boreal forest and its got really important habitat for wildlife,” Campbell said.

There have been a few conversations with two or three private landowners, she said.

None of the properties drawing interest to date are in the developed cottage and residential area at Salmonier Line.