N.L. government broke its own rules in allowing ATV trail in protected waterway

Conservationists upset about potential damage to Main River watershed

Lindsay Bird · CBC News · Posted: Apr 22, 2021 6:00 AM NT | Last Updated: 6 hours ago6 comments

The Main River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 2001 for its pristine watershed and old-growth forest. In 2009, it became a provincial park. (Submitted by Lem Mayo)

Gary Gale has known the Main River his whole life — and how special the Northern Peninsula waterway, and the land surrounding it, is.

“I’ve fished and hiked the Main, God — since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I suppose,” he told CBC from his home in Hampden.

The Main River is about as remote as it gets in Newfoundland. You can see the mouth of it, where it spills into White Bay between the two communities of Sop’s Arm and Pollard’s Point, but there was no road access into its watershed whatsoever until the mid-1980s, and even then, nothing beyond rough woods roads.

Its pristine waters and old-growth forest led to it being designated a Canadian Heritage River in 2001 — the first one in the province — for what that organization deemed “its outstanding natural and recreational values.” In 2009, an extra layer of protection was added, when the province established the Main River Waterway Provincial Park.

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