Top News

Isle Haute to receive federal wilderness preserve designation on Tuesday

Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey wants Isle Haute, off Cape Chignecto in the Bay of Fundy, designated as a National Wildlife Area.
Isle Haute, in the Bay of Fundy, eight kilometres off Advocate Harbour in Cumberland County will be designated as a National Wildlife Area on Tuesday - Darrell Cole

Announcement to come Tuesday in Advocate Harbour

AMHERST, N.S. —

AMHERST – Bill Casey has always been fascinated by the sheer size of what appears as a tiny speck of land just eight kilometres from Cape Chignecto near Advocate Harbour.

The Cumberland-Colchester MP has flown over the island, has taken his boat out to the island and sailed around it and last year, as part of a TV documentary, he got to spend the night on it.

It seems years of work and preparation are about to come to fruition.

Casey said federal officials will gather in Advocate on Tuesday to announce Isle Haute will be designated as a wilderness preserve by the Department of Environment and Climate Change.

The announcement is at 11 a.m.

“Back in 2001 I was reading an edition of Canadian Geographic and I saw an item that said ‘For sale, one island,’” Casey said. “I started then to get this island protected and that’s exactly what will happen next week. It’s something I’ve been working on for 18 years and I’m so happy to see it come together.”

Pirates, treasure and shipwrecks among the mysteries of this disappearing island in the Bay of Fundy

MP Bill Casey: Isle Haute should be national wildlife area

Casey pushing for wildlife designation for Isle Haute

Casey said the minister, Catherine McKenna, has personally been involved in the process to ensure the island gets added protection. The MP said the minister was “enthralled” the moment she saw photos of the island and told him it had to be protected.

“When I was elected in 2015 I met with her, took her all the information I had and showed her the pictures and she said yes,” Casey said. “Others have opposed it and thrown up roadblocks, but she has supported it.”

Once designated, the pristine island, located eight kilometres from the shores of Cape Chignecto in Cumberland County, will be preserved as habitat for several species including the great cormorant, the great blue heron and the leach’s storm petrel.

The island is about three kilometres long and half a kilometre wide. Its soaring cliffs are nearly 100 metres high.

Peregrine falcons are also known to nest at Isle Haute. Evidence of tool-making by Mi’kmaw ancestors has been discovered there.

The island was referenced by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604.

The island boasted a manned lighthouse until it was destroyed by fire in the 1950s. An unmanned beacon remains.

After being declared surplus by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the 1990s, the island was nearly sold. But the intervention of Casey and David Anderson, former minister of the environment, helped ensure it would stay out of private hands.

“David Anderson told me back then that he told his pilot to go find that island Bill Casey keeps talking to me about. He said he flew around it and couldn’t believe what he was seeing,” Casey said.

Casey said Tuesday’s announcement and subsequent designation comes at a perfect time as there is an application before UNESCO for the creation of the Cliffs of Fundy Aspiring Geopark.

Recent Stories