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1998 FOMIS Annual Report

The Friends of McNabs Island had many ongoing projects throughout 1998. Among them were on site island projects such as large scale beach sweeps, summer waste management, trail maintenance, cemetery upkeep, and island tours. Off island, the Friends continued with outdoor education, presentations, answering public inquiries, newsletter publications, and meetings with government politicians and bureaucrats regarding the park status of McNabs and Lawlor islands.

On Island Projects:

Beach Sweeps

Two large scale cleanups of McNabs and Lawlor Islands' beaches and shoreline were held in June and September of 1997. The June cleanup was very successful with 220 volunteers collecting 405 bags of ocean debris that had littered the shores of McNabs. On June 20th a Paddle and Cleanup co-sponsored by Canoe Nova Scotia was held. The September cleanup was less successful due to poor weather. Only 40 volunteers managed to collect 50 bags of trash before heavy rain cancelled the cleanup. The Friends have been cleaning up the beaches on McNabs Island since 1991. By the end of 1998, we had collected over 5000 bags of trash. Still, many of the more remote and difficult to access areas of the islands are littered with trash. The majority of the trash collected at the cleanups were plastics, such as broken fish crates and other fishing gear, motor oil containers, and sewage related tampon applicators. Volunteers for the cleanups logged more than 1500 hours in donated time to make the cleanups a success. Again last year, the Friends decided to forego the traditional beach barbecue following the cleanups. The cleanup on McNabs was assisted by Department of Natural Resources' McNabs Island caretaker, Dave Seaboyer. Eastern Passage fishers transported the trash back to the BFI donated dumpster in Eastern Passage.

Catherine McCarthy attended a news conference on marine pollution and beach sweep activities held by Clean Nova Scotia Foundation on August 11, 1998.

Waste Management

In addition to the beach sweeps, the Friends conducted a waste management project for McNabs Island during the summer of 1998. Through an agreement with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Parks Canada, the Friends collected and transported 170 bags of garbage and 60 bags of recyclables from 20 garbage cans located on the island from June to September. 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 1998, the old metal outhouses behind Maugers Beach were refurbished. There are now six functional 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. Work continued on the Green Hill Cove, Cliff , Pond, and Brow Hill Trails in the south end of the island. The Friends commitment to paint the formidable fence at Fort Ives is ongoing. Maintenance continued at the McNabs Family Cemetery with new barbed wire added to the top of the fence. Gravel and sod were placed under the gate to prevent people from crawling under.

Other McNabs Island Events

Our popular Fall Foliage tour which featured a tour of the houses and lighthouse was held on October 18th with 80 people in attendance.

Off Island Activities:

In February, Catherine McCarthy and Dusan Soudek met with Peter Underwood, then Deputy Minister of Environment, in anticipation that the Environment Department would be taking over responsibility for parks. It was later decided that Environment would only take over the responsibility for the 31 protected areas and not existing or designated parks.

In April, Catherine McCarthy and Dusan Soudek met with Kevin Deveaux, the newly elected MLA representing Eastern Passage and McNabs Island, to discuss the stalled land use strategy.

As in previous years, the Friends have responded to numerous requests for information about McNabs Island from universities, schools, youth groups, tourist operators and the general public. Board member Nancy Simovic gave a slide presentation at the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs in May. In July, the Friends assisted the RCMP Ventures with the planning of their annual Jamboree held in Halifax.

In March, Victor Dingle, Mike Tilley, Catherine McCarthy and Dusan Soudek were honoured at Parks Canada's Volunteer Appreciation Day at Citadel Hill.

Our 1996 Annual General Meeting was held on April 24th in Halifax. Over 60 members attended and listened to a presentation on The Natural History of McNabs Island by Dr. Bill Freedman, an ecologist from Dalhousie University.

On April 24-25, Friends Board Member Dusan Soudek presented a lecture on McNabs at the Future of Halifax's Green and Blue Natural Areas conference organized by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

In 1998, the society published three newsletters in Mar/98, July/98 and Sept/98.

Outdoor Education Committee

Board Member, Nancy Simovic and Barb Meuller, both Dalhousie University Biology Graduates, prepared a McNabs Island Kit for the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History which is now included in the museum's school loans program. Nancy and Barb also visited many schools presenting slide shows and information about McNabs Island to over 600 school children.

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 information and education centre. Finally in November, we received a letter of offer for the building from DNR. The letter of offer sets out the terms of a proposed 10 year lease. The terms require the society to pay for a costly survey of the property, as well as an appraisal and insurance on the building. The society would be responsible for renovating the building and well and sewer system, and maintaining the right of way to the site After seeking legal advise, kindly provided to us in kind by Fraser MacFayden, the board has asked for an extension on the letter of offer in order to raise the money for such an expensive project.

Park Planning for McNabs and Lawlor Islands

On September 19th, the Friends organized a guided tour of McNabs for local politicians so that they could become more familiar with the island. MP Gordon Earle, MLAs Don Chard, Kevin Deveaux, Darrell Dexter, and municipal councillors Bill Stone, Sheila Fougere, Harry McInroy, and Bob Harvey enjoyed a great day on the island.

On November 13th, three years after public hearings were held, a land-use strategy on the future of McNabs and Lawlor Islands was finally released. Parks Canada has agreed to transfer all of the federal lands on Lawlor and their federal land on McNabs, except for Fort McNab Nationally Historic Site, to the province for the creation of a provincial park. McNabs and Lawlor Islands will become a Natural Environment Park with Lawlor given special protection status because of the diversity of bird species on the island. An outdoor education centre is recommended for McNabs Island. Natural Resources and Parks Canada will consider partnering with the private sector, organized groups and individuals for the management and provision of facilities and services on McNabs Island.

Submitted by:

Catherine McCarthy
Friends of McNabs Island Society
April 27, 1999