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March 24, 2000
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Premier and minister announce a new permanent ecological reserve at Burnt Cape

Premier Brian Tobin and Charles Furey, Minister of Tourism Culture and Recreation, today announced that a decision has been made to convert the Burnt Cape Provisional Reserve into a permanent ecological reserve.

Burnt Cape is a small peninsula approximately 3.5 km sq., located north of the community of Raleigh. In 1996 the Wilderness Ecological Reserves Advisory Council (WERAC) and government held public meetings to discuss the possibility of making the site into a reserve. In July 1997 the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation submitted a proposal to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to provide financial and logistical support for projects at the Burnt Cape site that would build upon community involvement and help in resource management of the site.

"In January 1998, the Burnt Cape site was formally declared a provisional reserve under the WER Act, and we are pleased to announce today that government recognizes the environmental significance of this site and therefore is establishing Burnt Cape as a permanent ecological reserve," said Premier Tobin. "We are committed as a province to preserving and protecting our natural areas for future generations to inherit and enjoy. As was stated in the Speech from the Throne on March 14, 2000, ‘Our [province’s] natural beauty and pristine environment are essential to our tourism product. To that end, my government will issue a natural areas system plan that protects sensitive and representative ecological sites.’ Burnt Cape is such a site."

Under the new reserve, major industrial development, new roads or structures will not be permitted. However, traditional activities such as hiking, duck hunting and snowmobiling will be allowed to continue. The site contains more than 34 species of rare plants, limestone caves, fossils and many other natural features that makes it attractive for ecotourism.

"In 1992, we joined the other provinces and territories in a commitment to increase the protected natural areas in our province and country," said Furey. "This is another positive step towards achieving our goal of protecting and preserving the beautiful natural spaces in Newfoundland and Labrador. I am very pleased with this announcement which is the result of a joint effort among government, the NCC, the community and industry. Working together, we have ensured that Burnt Cape is afforded the protection and status is deserves."

"The Burnt Cape project demonstrated the effectiveness of a collaborative, community-based approach to conservation," said John Lounds, NCC’s executive director. "The Nature Conservancy of Canada was pleased to invest in the local community and support activities necessary for the protection of this unique botanical site."

"The Town of Raleigh is pleased that Burnt Cape has finally received the recognition that it deserves. As a council we have worked hard over the last few years with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and The Nature Conservancy of Canada to reach this goal. We now look forward to developing Burnt Cape to its full potential as a premier attraction in the province," said Town of Raleigh Mayor Cyril Taylor.

To date, the NCC has spent over $125,000 on projects related to the conservation of Burnt Cape. From May to September 1998, $75,000 was expended on a site rehabilitation program, employing seven people from the community of Raleigh. In 1999, the NCC provided funding in the amount of $37,000 for the guide/guardianship program, employing two local residents. Other funds were spent on botanical and avifauna surveys to ensure that management activities at the site respected the unique and fragile natural features. In addition, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation has prepared a proposal for the Town of Raleigh to seek funding to continue the two guide positions for the 2000 season, as well as monies for a marketing initiative.

Media contact:

Mary MacNab
(709) 729-0928, or (709) 682-0366

Thea Silver
The Nature Conservancy of Canada
(416) 932-3202

2000 03 24 2:20 p.m.

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