St. Peters Harbour
Garry MacEwen, National Revenue Minister Gail Shea, Jim MacEwen and NCC Program Manager Diane Griffin unveil Errol A. MacEwen Nature Reserve, PEI (Photo by NCC)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the guardian of a beautiful property on the north shore of Prince Edward Island thanks to a generous land donation by a family in 2012.
The 34-acre (14-hectare) site was a gift to NCC by a PEI family in memory of their late brother, Errol A. MacEwen.
A family's natural legacy
Wishing to see the property kept unspoiled and as pristine as possible, the MacEwen family donated the area as a tribute to their brother, who loved the area that borders the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The family appreciates NCC's mission to care for natural areas in perpetuity.
“We know that erosion and coastline problems, as well as the problems with (species at risk) that live in areas like this, it is an ongoing concern. So it is just natural to think that there was this piece of land that could be put to good use,” said Todd MacEwen.
St. Peters Harbour is a safe nesting site for the endangered piping plover. It is also home to osprey, bald eagles, black-bellied plovers and sanderlings. Other bird species found here include semipalmated plover, greater yellowlegs, ruddy turnstone and semipalmated sandpiper.
In addition to protecting habitat for species at risk (including migratory birds) and supporting thriving ecosystems, NCC is allowing the Errol A. MacEwen Nature Reserve to be accessible to the public for recreational activities such as walking on the splendid beach and photography.
Adjacent to St. Peters Harbour are the Greenwich Dunes. The Nature Conservancy of Canada was pleased to play a role in the protection of this natural area — assisting efforts by partners, along with the Government of Prince Edward Island and now current owner Parks Canada.
In 1997, the Nature Conservancy of Canada made a funding contribution towards this 914-acre (370-hectare) project.
The peninsula that separates St. Peters Bay from the Gulf of St. Lawrence became part of Prince Edward Island National Park in 1998 to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources found in the area.
The property is located on the north side of St. Peters Bay. It contains an extensive and fragile coastal dune system, wetlands and various natural habitats in which numerous rare plant species are found.
Prince Edward Island National Park measures approximately 60 kilometres in length and ranges from several hundred metres to several kilometres in width. The park consists of many beautiful beaches, sand dunes, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes.
- The park is designated an Important Bird Area and provides nesting habitat for the endangered piping plover.
- The area has three large ponds, which are used as a key stopover by migrating waterfowl.
- Greenwich Peninsula’s most significant and sensitive feature is the collection of the rare and relatively undisturbed parabolic dunes (u-shaped), which lie at the western end of the peninsula.
- Greenwich Dunes provide one of the best examples on the continent of slowly recovering exhumed forestland.
- The combination of sand dune grasses and sedges, marsh rushes, weeds and forest understory species, in the dune slack area where glacial till is exposed, does not occur elsewhere.