From the Blog

Miramichi River National Park !

Considering the fact that fresh clean water is on the minds of every human worldwide these days , what if all the remaining forest land in the Miramichi watershed was back to the way it was in 1800. Of course leaving in place all the present day communities and services etc.etc. How many years would it take to do this , 25, 50 or maybe 100 years ? On a physical basis this could be achieved , politically it might be another story. As we all know there has been millions of dollars spent to buy out commercial fishermen in Miramichi Bay , NFLD and even as far away as Greenland so that we can have just a few more wild salmon here. There are commercial fishermen being paid not to kill Atlantic Salmon anymore . There are millions of dollars being put into growing trees faster and faster just to have them all cut down again and build more and more roads , all at the expense of the general health of the environment . So, considering the fact that the lumber industry appears to be in the ditch these days , it is conceivable to think that we could shut the forest industry completely down over the entire Miramichi watershed , all 820 km’s of river , north, south , east & west , as long as there was a generous compensation system in place for some and an alternative industry for others . Reallocate the millions of dollars that go into the forest industry here locally into a new and very bold adventure . If you were to ask any logging processor operator today that if he had a choice to work as a guide , field biologist or the like compared to what he is doing 60-70 hours a week now cramped up in the cab of a machine , to me the choice is obvious . Let the forest grow and die at it’s own pace without human interference. Only residential firewood cutting be allowed and under strict guidelines . Private woodlot owners are not making money anyway these days so maybe there is a better use of their land too .As for lumber to build our homes , no problem, bring it in from somewhere else , oh I forgot that is where most of it comes from now . Of all the miles of forest roads we will only maintain the major arterial routes and established access roads and trails to pools and camps , which would employ dozens . Plant the remaining thousands of acres of woods roads with nutritional wildlife feed and of course with ongoing maintenance . Block most of these areas off from all vehicle traffic allowing access to only people on foot or horseback for hunting or other recreation. The Miramichi forest industry could be replaced with a thriving and healthy national park type refuge/ camp grounds/ outfitters / biologists / organic farming ,even snowmobiling & ATV trail systems and numerous service business’s . We all still live here but with a different mind set .This would employ hundreds of science types alone to study the natural forest and waterways reclamation process . This type of industry would employ hundreds of local residents and attract thousands of wildlife enthusiast’s from around the world, not just a few fishermen . As for our fishing waters ,place every single fishing pool into a ZEC type access system . We would still maintain our present ownership for clubs, outfitters and private use but everyone , NB residents first of course , would have a reasonable chance to access every pool in the system whether it be Wilson’s Home pool or Rocky Brook or Black Brook . It would be great if on “New Brunswick Day” each year every square inch of the Miramichi was free to NB residents for that one special day .There are enough pools in this vast system to satisfy clubs, corporations , outfitters , guides and NB residents . There would have to be very strict development regulations in place to protect our world renowned Miramichi River National Park , the largest and most unique found anywhere . It would be kind of weird for a few years but can you imagine what the place would be like 50 years from now , one thing for sure is that we would have a cleaner healthier river with more fresh cold water for humans and animals to drink and more fish and wildlife for all to enjoy . If the Irving family and the provincial government were to buy in to this idea they would be viewed around the world as heroes. I would love to see someone with intelligence put this idea to pen and paper and crunch the numbers , you never know it may be more conceivable than most of you first think . Sincerely , Keith Wilson , Outfitter. blog at www.wilsonscamps.nb.ca

Comments

  1. John Farnham says:

    This idea has my vote!

  2. Chris Leger says:

    I feel, having just read this post, like I have just watched an episode of “The Nature of Things”, however, the narrator was not David Suzuki, but yourself Keith. This idea is not far fetched at all and would be revolutionnary. The paradox here is that this novel idea is not pitched from some ideological tree hugger from the big city, it comes from grassroot locals like yourself (the key people to bringing these ideas to life. Biodiversity, sustainability, ecosystem, watershed and the environment must not just be catch words we hear and read in the news, but must be put into action using a logical approach. Thinking outside the box, there’s another novel idea! I love your opinions, keep’um comming!

  3. Dave MacDonald says:

    ” Miramichi National Park”, wow that sounds like a great place! I wonder how many names one could get if a petition for such a place was put out to the local shops, internet etc. . hunters, fishermen, sleders/atvers,hikers/campers and plain ole tree huggers….probably not many of them in this province? Maybe enough to get the message across wouldnt you think? You can count me in! Great idea! Keith

  4. In 2008 I retired after 40 years in the newspaper business. It, too, is “in the ditch.” It never will return to its glory days, nor will pulp and paper production. Both industries are very likely to remain in the ditch. Your idea makes sense, and I’ll bet the Irvings might love to get rid of their woodlands at a fair price.

  5. Now we just need someone with some backbone to step up to the plate and run in the next provincial election with this idea being their number one platform . And I too would bet the Irving family would actually love the concept . If anyone could pull this off it would be them . What a legacy for a family that has operated some of the most successful business’ in the history of this province .
    Regards, Keith

  6. I like the idea but my gut tells me that the economics of closing the timber industry
    (and related businesses) and replacing it with the national park just won’t wash. Hope I am wrong.

    Before enlisting top level businessmen and politicians to buy into the concept, please do some number crunching to see if the concept is economically feasible.

    • Thanks Tom, closing the timber industry and related businesses sounds wild I agree but if these same jobs and businesses were replaced with another it would be great .Same owners and operators as now only providing a different service to a different clientele . We would still need garages , mechanics , restaurants, hair salons etc. I hope someone will come forward to seriously crunch the numbers . Point: DNR is downsizing all over the province , fewer wardens , fewer staff in general . Just last week I spoke with one warden who was covering 30 miles of the river with just one other guy , impossible right ? In the new park system with enhanced fishing/ hunting/ RV’ers/ camp grounds / trail users etc . etc. etc., thus more opportunities for all people , more users , more revenue , then we would need and could afford dozens of wardens and other conservation officers . Maybe we could even set up the wardening system where they all work during the busy summer season and take their vacations in the off season .

  7. Keith, how do you think camp owners and clubs would feel about relinquishing their riparian rights? Opening up the river would be a natural prerequisite for National Park status.

    • Steve-
      Interesting point , although I am not sure it is an automatic assumption that riparian rights would need to be relinquished . I feel that it would be nice to go into this with the mindset that our rivers and forests are here for New Brunswick residents first and foremost . What if we could set up a pool registry system that has all pools listed , both private and public . Ownership remain the same , clubs and camps etc. continue operating , but all users ( res anglers, guides , outfitters , clubs and corporations ) have access to the entire system . For example : (1.)on a given day in July my home pool has been allocated to be open to the general public , and my guests have scheduled a pool elsewhere . (2) john doe and his son wake up on a Saturday morning and feel they want to spend a few bucks to fish somewhere that day so they go on line and find that Black Brook Pool is selling two rods that day to NB residents at one price and two rods to an independent guide for a different price , then the Black Brook guests are off to the Sevogle for the day at a different rate , so John Doe goes on line and buys it (3) maybe it is New Brunswick Day and the entire Miramichi system ( hundreds of pools ) are open free to all NBers for that one special day . There are hundreds of different scenarios that could be used to maintain all the clubs , outfitters , guides and locals wishing to fish . But we share the entire system . And if you think scheduling this would be a problem then give any grade ten high school student an hour on a computer and it is done for you . We have to realize that there is an actual limit to how many rods or canoes etc. can use a particular body of water , or trail system for that matter . Some places would be free for the day , others would cost you minimal or extreme , all depending on the location . Maybe Big Hole Brook is selling today for $25.00 per rod and next week for $400.00 per rod , or maybe not available at all for one reason or another . ( 4) Maybe all of my pools are scheduled public or for other outfitters today while my camp and another are scheduled for Quarryville pool to ourself , while the Quarryville regulars are spread out through the system . (5.) maybe Joe from Boston that owns his little cabin and one pool in Blackville wake up this morning to a raise of water and decides he would like to fish elsewhere , simple goes online and finds a place (6.) Dave and wife and two kids show up to go camping up in the headwaters of the Dungarven next week with ATV’s in tow and fishing rods ready , they obviously need a guide so they go into the system at the gate and find a man that works the upper part of that river and schedules several pools or just takes their chances on an open pool that day , while the wife and daughter get another guide to take them on a 75 mile ATV tour . So the possibility’s are endless .

  8. Keith:
    If a park is for “New Brunswick residents first and foremost,” it would and should be a Provincial Park, certainly not a national park.
    I agree. There has to be a system to allocate water. As convoluted as it is, Quebec has a good system for allocating water, limiting daily rods to what pools can support, and raising money to fund wardens, etc. Non-residents, either from other provinces or from outside Canada pay higher daily rod fees that Quebecois.
    Finally, if the Miramichi were restricted to New Brunswick residents, the jobs for guides would disappear.

    • Steve-
      I have confused things just a bit. I mean NBers first but not exclusive . I would be the last one to promote doing away with our outfitting business’s . The province of Nb needs the millions of dollars that non resident users will bring to the park for what ever reason they might be here , be it fishing , hunting , sight seeing , camping , ATVing or sleding . For one there are not enough Nb residents willing to pay the kind of money that would be needed to support such a National Park . The PQ ZEC system could a model to look at but with much needed improvements . It would be great if 50 years from now you never hear a Nb resident say “I would go fishing but there is no where to go” , I hear that way too often . With a river system this big there has to be room for both the guiding industry and the NB recreational angler .
      Keith

  9. Brad Burns says:

    It may be that the forestry industry in NB will never be what it was, but I really doubt that the Province or timberland owner4s are willing to give it up at this point, though maybe down the road. I would also doubt that there is any apetitite for the kind of debt the government would need to take on to buy up all these timberlands. It would seem, though, like a great time to try for the greatly expanded water shed buffers you mentioned last week, and perhaps some greater regulations against clear cutting than currently exist.

  10. Wow what a thought…although i,m on board with the idea,i think you hinted correctly when you said “political will” after this goverment just had its ass handed back to them for trying to make a big change ( NB Power )for better or for worse..who knows?? I don,t think we will see another goverment willing to try this or anything remotely large in decision making for many years to come..
    That is unfortunite because this idea and many other forward ideas are exactly what are needed to move this province ( of rural populations ) forward into this millenium!!!!!

  11. Walter N.Morrison says:

    Keith, A great idea. And it should not be impossible. In the States both the Adirondack Park in NY and The National Seashore in MA show the way. Both enclosed much private land, homes and activity. Always contentious, and still is here in the Seashore where I live and work to preserve the good stuff, but both efforts ultimately successful. So congratulations from your US guest, a one time logger, 26 year Salmon fisher, and admirerer of your visionary imagination and writing skill.

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