June 24, 2002
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Nature Conservancy of Canada presents
Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve as Gift to Canadians

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), together with the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and the Town of Raleigh, is pleased to present the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve as a Gift to Canadians.  Located on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, Burnt Cape is a jewel in the province’s system of Wilderness and Ecological Reserves. The unique combination of harsh climate, geology and remote location make Burnt Cape the most important botanical site on insular Newfoundland, home to some of the rarest plant species in the world, including the Burnt Cape Cinquefoil, found only at this one location. The significance of the site was marked today with the unveiling of interpretive panels, to be located both at Burnt Cape and nearby Pistolet Bay Provincial Park.

The announcement at Burnt Cape is part of NCC’s first Gifts to Canadians, taking place this week. NCC is announcing the conservation of 10 key natural areas across Canada - one from each province - to celebrate Canada’s 135th birthday on July 1. From Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia, these Gifts to Canadians represent exceptional areas of Canadian biodiversity. The properties cover more than 4,800 acres of ecologically significant land valued at more than $5 million, and provide habitat for many rare and endangered species of plants and animals.

Burnt Cape is an 864-acre peninsula that is home to over 300 species of vascular plants, 34 of which are considered rare on the island. Its botanical diversity, together with its interesting geological features and arctic environment, resulted in Burnt Cape being designated as an ecological reserve.

"This small area is an incredibly rich ecosystem that has emerged in some of the harshest conditions in Canada," said Dr. Bill Freedman, NCC’s Atlantic Regional Chair and Chair of Biology at Dalhousie University.

The area’s coastal limestone barrens support species such as the Dwarf Hawksbeard, crepis nana, and the Arctic Lesser Dandelion, taraxacum phymatocarpum, found nowhere else on the island. Many other plant species found here are unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, such as the Newfoundland Orchid, pseudorchis albida. This area is the only location in the world for the Burnt Cape Cinquefoil, potentilla usticapensis.

"The Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve is considered one of the most important botanical sites on the island of Newfoundland," said Julie Bettney, the province’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. "This area of the province is a sample of the wealth of natural features that are evident in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a rich natural heritage that we must treasure and protect for present and future generations."

"Burnt Cape has meant a lot to the people of Raleigh and the surrounding area," said Cyril Taylor, Mayor of Raleigh. "The reserve has brought tourists to our area who would not otherwise have made the trip, not to mention the researchers who come to examine the rare plants. The whole town is proud of what we have here."

The establishment of the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve was the result of a unique partnership involving NCC, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and the Town of Raleigh. In a departure from its traditional approach of securing private land through purchase and donation, here NCC invested in science and community stewardship activities necessary to designate a Crown-owned site permanently as an ecological reserve. These activities included botanical and bird surveys, site restoration and rehabilitation, and interpretive guide/guardian training. For much of this work, individuals from the local community were trained and employed. The Burnt Cape guardians continue to provide tours and oversee stewardship of the site.

"Burnt Cape is an example of the way partnerships with the community, government, conservation groups and individuals work best to protect our fragile environment," said NCC Atlantic Regional Director, Linda Stephenson. "NCC has built its success on the power of these relationships in communities across the country."

NCC acknowledged the commitment and dedication to the establishment of the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve demonstrated by its project partners, as well as the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council, the Burnt Cape Heritage Committee, the Natural Heritage Stewardship Secretariat and the Newfoundland and Labrador Legacy Nature Trust.

In speaking of the 10 sites announced across Canada this week, John Lounds, President of the Nature Conservancy of Canada said: "We are delighted to be able to offer these birthday gifts to Canadians. These conservation success stories will result in the protection of landscapes that represent the truly diverse nature of Canada - from mountains and canyons to coastal headlands, wetlands, forests and parkland. These are places that will now be protected for all time - gifts to the Canadians of today and tomorrow."

Gifts to Canadians is part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s ongoing efforts to celebrate and conserve Canada’s biodiversity from coast to coast and leave a lasting natural legacy for Canadians. The latest gifts add to the 1.7 million acres and more than 1,100 properties already conserved for Canadians through the work of NCC and its partners.

Other Gifts to Canadians announced this week include:

  • Nova Scotia, Gaff Point: Protection of a spectacular, undeveloped headland.
  • New Brunswick, Johnson’s Mills: 300 acres of key shorebird habitat.
  • Prince Edward Island Wood Islands: The donation of a precious forested area.
  • Quebec, Venise en Quebec West Peat Bog, Lake Champlain: The securement of 233 acres of significant peat bog
  • Ontario, Bickford Oak Woods: A rare 762-acre forest preserved in a region with less than eight per cent forest cover.
  • Manitoba, Riding Mountain/Duck Mountain Aspen Parkland: Quality aspen parkland providing critical habitat for rare species.
  • Saskatchewan, Reed Lake: A globally significant location for waterfowl and migratory birds.
  • Alberta, Horseshoe Canyon: One of the best-known sites in the Canadian Badlands.
  • British Columbia, Tatlayoko Lake Ranch: A biologically diverse area that supports grizzly bear, trumpeter swan and bull trout.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization that takes a quiet, business-like approach to land conservation and the preservation of biological diversity. Its plan of action involves partnership-building and entering into creative conservation solutions with any individual, corporation, community group, conservation organization or government body that shares its passion. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have protected more than 1.7 million acres of ecologically significant land nationwide. In the past year, NCC has raised more than $43 million to support this critical work, and protected more than 100 properties.

For more information:

Doug Large
Director of Development - Atlantic Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
757 Bedford Highway
Bedford, NS B4A 3Z7
(902) 457-5902

Pour des renseignements en français, veuillez contacter :
Josette Maillet
Planificatrice des sites de conservation
Bureau le l’’atlantique
Conservation de la nature Canada
924 Prospect Street
Fredericton, N-B E3B 2T9
(Téél) 506-450-6010
(Téélééc) 506-450-6010

Carmel Turpin, Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
(709) 729-0928

2002 06 24 2:25 p.m.


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