My Restigouche River Run part 5
by: Irene Doyle
Leaving the Cross Point Island area, after a good night's sleep on the island, going past England's Flats or the Glen Eden lodge, Pine Island and Tom's Brook went uneventful but as always with a scenery that would warm any naturalist's heart.
Another sunny day, quite cool to start with but keeps the flies away. A mother Goldeneye swimming with her babies, and keeping a close eye on them caught my attention, they're almost bigger than she is by now though and I didn't expect to see those ducks all the way up here. A few Mergansers float down the river in a row, one behind the other. Oh yeah and a little black otter was laying on the beach sunning him/herself when we passed and slithered into the water when it saw us approaching. That was a treat also as it was only the second time in my life I ever saw one of those little critters.
At Gilmore, I can see "the boys", as Pat calls them, have done extensive work here. They are the boys of the clean-up crew who worked hard to get these camping sites as nice as they are today, they also work at educating people who use them and at keeping them clean. Here there is Gilmore Island (seen above left), Upper Gilmore and Lower Gilmore (above on the right, I don't remember which one), probably all named after some rich American who's ancestors owned the Gilmore Gas company in the USA, in the early 1900's.
In order to get some of the sites as they are today, those boys had to clear the land, remove all large rocks, and apparently there were quite a few in places. Loads of soil was brought in for some sites so they could be leveled. Picnic tables, toilets and wood was brought in, signs put up, garbage cans were added to the sites and open pits for fires were put in place. As we can see above all looks neat but its a quiet time of year. On the right we see a picture Pat acquired from a friend, (one of those boys) as we see them at work on site improvement which gives us a before and after look at the Gilmore site.
Below, we see another photograph, this one is of the Cross Point Island campsite after some of those brainless "Yahoos" have spent a weekend here. This picture was taken last summer and I guess you might say, it's the exception but you would apparently be very surprised to see for yourself how many times this happens. Even after all the facilities have been put in place, even after all the coaching, even after all the talk about the environment, it still happens.
At one of the sites today, I witnessed a freshly created mess, which was just as bad. Someone, very likely the night before, had broken down three large trees, broken gawd knows how many branches and put them all together to create a shelter. Many other trees were damaged with an axe and the toilet door is broken right off the hinges. After inquiring with the wardens, they told us the only people they had seen travelling on the river in the last two days was a canoe with an Acadian flag. I guess you can judge for yourself as to what kind of people would leave such a mess in such a beautiful environment.
A photo of one of the damaged trees, (below) makes a person wonder how many brainless people run the river? Or were these damages all caused by the same one/s? A perfectly good tree chopped at a few feet from the ground and left to die. Am I ever glad my parents taught me to respect nature.
At Upper and Lower Gilmore today all is quiet however, everything is clean, no garbage in sight, there is lots of wood and even toilet paper in the toilets so I take a guess that no one stayed here this weekend. Gilmore is apparently owned by the Toad Brook Lodge owners, which is situated down past Chamberlain's Shoals.
To be continued....