Roberta Clowater, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Protected
Natural Areas Coalition, spoke to Restigouche Naturalists' Club members
during their regular monthly meeting in February. Ms. Clowater was a
member of the Protected Areas Strategy Council that was instrumental in
setting up that program for the province a few years ago. You will recall
that one of the direct results of that program was the setting aside from
future development of twelve of the most important ecological regions in
the province. The Jacquet River Gorge was the area from our part of the
province that has benefited from that designation.
Since that time, the Protected Natural Areas Coalition has been piecing
together a strategy to identify ecologically important areas of the
province that fell outside the main plan. One of the largest and most
important of those areas is the Restigouche River Watershed.
The approach that this coalition has taken in advocating long-term
protection within a significant area is one of consultation and
involvement with all of those who have an interest in the area, whether
that interest be economic, recreational, environmental, or aesthetic.This
is an approach with which I can live, and which I have been advocating
myself for some time, in this space and elsewhere. I really believe that a
policy of consultation and compromise, rather than one of confrontation,
is the one that promises the best opportunity to arrive at an agreement
that addresses all of those interests.
In her presentation to the Naturalists' Club, Ms. Clowater made several
crucial points. One of them is that the Restigouche Watershed, as huge and
widespread as it is, must be considered as an entity. No one part is more
important than another if all parts are going to continue to function as
an ecosystem. That means that the group that operates a salmon fishing
lodge on the main river, the sub-contracting company that is harvesting
hardwood on the high country ridges, the fellow who is running a fur
trapping line, those who lease land for cabins, as well as the various
snowmobile, canoeing and other recreational groups
all have to recognize common responsibility as well as common rights in
the usage of the whole area.
Recognizing the essential integrity of the whole area also means that
I, who live on the Restigouche Estuary, have a vested interest in, and a
responsibility for, what is happening up in the head waters just as much
as those who live right on the banks of the Little Main, the South Branch
of the Kedgwick, or along the Upsalquitch. It is all "our river system"
and we all have to assume some interest and responsibility for it. On this
point, I quote from the pamphlet that Ms. Clowater distributed at that
"We depend on this natural environment for clean air and water, natural
resources, wildlife habitat and valued outdoor recreation, so we need to
make land use decisions that ensure we will continue to receive those
benefits. We also have a responsibility to leave future generations a
Restigouche region that is as good as, or better than, the one we
Next week, I will discuss a second of those crucial points from that
This article appeared in the Campbellton Tribune, in Mike's "Grains of Sand" column.
It is reproduced with Mike's permission.