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1997 FOMIS Annual Report

Given April 29, 1998 at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax

The Friends of McNabs Island had many ongoing projects throughout 1997. Among them were on site island projects such as large scale beach sweeps, summer waste management, trail maintenance, cemetery upkeep, Fort Ives fence painting and island tours. Off island, the Friends continued with outdoor education and island awareness workshJuly 14, 2011wsletter and brochure publications, and meetings with government politicians and bureaucrats regarding the park status of McNabs and Lawlor islands.


Beach Sweeps

Two large scale cleanups of McNabs and Lawlor Islands' beaches and shoreline were held in June and September of 1997. Both events were highly successful, cleaning up ocean debris that had littered the shores of in a news conference on marine pollution and beach sweep activities held by Clean Nova Scotia Foundation on July 23, 1997. The press conference was well covered in the local papers and on the CBC television and radio news bringing much needed attention to ocean pollution.

In July, the Friends and McNabs Island were featured in an educational video on littering produced by Clean Nova Scotia Foundation and Access Communications. The video, part of a series called The Traveling Enviro Show, is available to schools and the public and has been shown on the cable channels.

Waste Management

In addition to the beach sweeps, the Friends conducted a waste management and recovery project for McNabs Island during the summer of 1997. Through an agreement with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Parks Canada, the Friends collected and transported 150 bags of garbage and 60 bags of recyclables from 21 garbage cans located on the island from June to September. New lids had to be purchased since many were vandalized or lost during Hurricane Hortensets visit to Nova Scotia in September of 1996. Volunteers scrapped and painted the cans and chained and bolted on the lids. In total volunteers for the waste management project logged 300 hours in volunteer time.

In 1997, an additional outhouse was installed at Back Cove on the island. Maintenance and repairs were made to the roofs, screens and doors of the other five outhouses on the island.

Trail, Fort and Cemetery Maintenance

The Friends continued with the trail maintenance project for McNabs Island, clearing away underbrush and windfalls from approved trails, and marking the trails with flags. The trail at Green Hill Cove in the south end of the island was refurbished with available driftwood. All but two of the trail signs that were put up in 1995, have been destroyed by vandals Spending any money on replacement signs was seen as fruitless. The Friends also took on a commitment to paint the formidable fence at Fort Ives. Parks Canada supplied the paint and the Friends organized several work parties during the summer months. The job is not yet complete and will continue in 1998. Mowing the grass at the two Parks Canada forts was not necessary due to the dry weather. A brush saw donated by Parks Canada, was used to clear out saplings and brush from the McNabs family cemetery.

Other McNabs Island Events

Our members continue to volunteer as guides for school and youth field trips to McNabs Island. Field trips to McNabs were organized by members in the winter months, as part of the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists on June 14th, the Dartmouth Horticultural Society on July 5th, and our popular Fall Foliage tours held on October 19th with 170 people in attendance.



As in previous years, the Friends have responded to the numerous requests for information about McNabs Island from universities, schools, youth groups, tourist operators and the general public. Board members have presented several slide presentations at local heritage and garden clubs, the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists annual meeting June 13-14, and at several local schools.

In February, Victor Dingle and Mike Tilley of the Trails Committee were honoured at Parks Canada's Volunteer Appreciation Day at Citadel Hill.

Our 1996 Annual General Meeting was held on April 24th in Dartmouth. Over 60 members attended and listened to a prersentation on the McNabs Island Forts by historian Dr. R.H. McDonald of Parks Canada.

The Friends participated in the Atlantic Earth Festival July 12-13th 1997.

Rochell Owen, formerly with Clean Nova Scotia Foundation, is our new representative on Harbour Cleanup issues

Dave Phelps is our new webmaster and can be reached through our website at

The Friends wrote letters of support to have the Jim Campbell's Barren re-instated as one of the 31 candidate protected areas in the province.

In 1997, our popular brochure and map McNabs Island: Park in the Making was reprinted. Our membership brochure was also reproduced. As an additional fundraiser, McNabs Island buttons were made. The society published four newsletters in Dec 96, April 97, July 97 and Dec 97.

Membership in our society continues to grow. As of March 31 1998, we have 70 adult, 37 family, 2 supporting and 1 sustaining members.

Outdoor Education Committee

Representatives of the Friends along with Natural Resources and Public Works staff inspected the derelict Fort Hugonin on February 14th. The building, abandoned by National Defense in 1992, was thought to be a candidate site for an outdoor education center. Sadly, the roof has been allowed to leak making the building in need of expensive repairs.

The Outdoor Education Committee held a workshop on island outdoor education possibilities for McNabs Island on March 1st at Dalhousie University. Attended by academics, students and members of Friends, the workshop brought together many good ideas on the direction of an outdoor education center and programming. For several years, the Friends have been requesting a lease from Natural Resources for the former McNabs Island Tea House which would be used as an outdoor education center. Negotiations with DNR for a lease have stalled.

Park Planning for McNabs and Lawlor Islands

In spite of a federal election in June and the departure of MP Ron MacDonald who was opposed to a provincial park for the islands, the draft land-use strategy on the future of McNabs and Lawlor Islands has never been released. The optimism that the land-use strategy, written in the spirit of the November 1995 public hearings, would form the basis of a management plan for the island parks has dwindled. The Friends have written numerous letters to Minsiter Sheila Copps (Canadian Heritage) and met with Natural Resource Minister Ken MacAskill on September 16th and MP Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) on September 18th asking for the release of the Land Use Strategy Report.

Each level of the government blames the aother for the lack of any agreement on the land transfer or management plan. To add to the delays, the park planning division of Natural Resources was transferred to the Department of the Environment in November 1997. Who knows when, if ever, the island will become official parks.

Submitted by:

Catherine McCarthy
Friends of McNabs Island Society
April 29, 1998