Every time life-long fisherman Mark Dort wades into St. Marys River to cast his line and try to lure fish to his fly, he hopes he’ll land a big one.
But this fall, his aim wasn’t just to snag a large trout in the picturesque waterway on Nova Scotia‘s Eastern Shore. It was also to catch the eye of federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson through a post on a federal government website.
Dort is part of a group that wants to see St. Marys designated a heritage river and is using a biennial consultation process at Parks Canada to try to garner support for the idea. By law, the minister responsible for the agency must consult with Canadians every two years.
“The goal of our post is to draw more attention the St. Marys River overall,” Dort said during a phone interview from the banks of the West River where he was on a salmon fishing trip this week.
“It was just good timing that Parks Canada wanted to have a virtual consultation and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to try to get our message in front of the minister, as well as gain public support from the community that wants to support the St. Marys River.”
There are currently 40 designated heritage rivers in the country, according to Parks Canada. The designation is meant raise awareness and promote the stewardship of the rivers.
St. Marys River is one of the longest in Nova Scotia and is known “as one of the best salmon producing rivers in Atlantic Canada.”
“It has a long history of settlement and use, beginning with Indigenous peoples, and including African slaves, buccaneers, explorers, and settlers from many parts of the world over time,” he wrote.
The river also runs through Sherbrooke Village, which has a museum dedicated to the area’s lumber and shipbuilding history and has 25 original buildings on site.
For more info, read this article on CBC.