Mr. Dufour is the co-ordinator of the Restigouche Recreational Project.
A strech of about 50 miles on the beautiful Restigouche River is now cleaner and safer for salmon and everyone who dares to "run the river".
In the summers preceding 1990, 250 to 300 people a day were 'running the river" in their canoes. Unfortunately, many were there to party, their canoes loaded with food, beer, and liquor. When it was time to pitch tent, cook meals and do some partying, there were no boundaries. The wild open spaces were used to their fullest, much to the detriment of the environment. Salmon pools and the banks of the river became littered with garbage.
This very much concerned the Restigouche Salmon Club. In 1990, with the help of the Province of New Brunswick, steps were taken to correct the situation. A project was organized to enhance and restore the beauty of the river. The first responsibility of the five employees was to clean the river from its mouth up to the Patapedia Campsite, about a mile above the "Million Dollar Pool". Step number two was to put up camping facilities, including garbage barrels and bathrooms, for canoeists.
To give an idea of the extent of the problem, five haft-ton pickup truckloads of garbage were removed from a single camp site in just one weekend! The next problem was education of the canoeists. Most people were very co-operative and responded positively, but a few were reluctant to change their ways, and some still will not use the toilet facilities.
Fortunately, five years later, people seem to be much more respectful of the river. There are two patrol teams that monitor about 25 miles of river daily. The fact that the rangers and the RCMP have also been patrolling by canoe has helped tremendously.
When the project was begun in 1990, it was difficult to find suitable workers, but now it is going great. We hope that it will continue so that the breathtaking beauty of the Restigouche can be maintained and enjoyed for years to come.
This interview was conducted in 1995