Tourism geography is the study of travel and tourism, as an industry and as a social and cultural activity. Geography is fundamental to the study of tourism, because tourism is involved with travel across the physical landscape for good or evil. For ease in description, provinces like Nova Scotia are divided into tourist regions, ours being the "South Shore". Landlubbers find it alternately referred to at the Lighhouse Route and it does have more than 40 of them including the iconic one at Peggys Cove.
There are all kinds of reasons for visiting a region and thus we have sub categories as esoteric as anthropological tourism as opposed to "vacation" tourism, where visitors are likely escaping from ennui or some unpleasant place or situation, and are "vacant" when it comes to having a real purpose.
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. It means responsible travel to natural areas conserving the environment and improving the well-being of the local people. "The term 'ecotourism', like 'sustainable tourism', is considered by many to be an oxymoron. Like most forms of tourism, ecotourism generally depends on air transportation, which contributes to global climate change." M.J. Stabler has said, "The overall effect of sustainable tourism is negative where like ecotourism philanthropic aspirations mask hard-nosed immediate self-interest."
Most of the world defines geo-tourism as travel in the interest of observing geological or geomorphic features of foreign landscapes. However the National Geographic Societyinvented Geological Sustainable Tourism as travel that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place; improving its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. That seems a worthy but unattainable goal considering general levels of pre-vacation atrophy.
There areculture and heritage obsessed types as well as reluctant visitors and those committed to enjoying their leisure, come what may.
Of course Calvin has had other vacations, but this one was not at Mahone Bay, which no longer has hotels let alone motels. The town hall and the nursing home retain the shells of Victorian hotels. In that respect it is an oddity when it comes to its status as a tourist destination. Some vacation guides suggest that the Town of Lunenburg has no motels, when it has three within its bounds. There was once a motel on the road from Mahone Bay to nearby Blockhouse but it is now rented full time to transient workers.
Photos by Rod unless otherwise stated. 2009: Mahone Bay small boat races. Like Calvin's dad, these boaters and their children are not super-rich. There are reasons why ocean-going sailing yachts have never used Mahone Bay Civic Marina as a starting point for their races. "Yachts," which Allison ued to prononce as "yacts" are recreational vessels of "medium size". If motor-driven they are typically used for cruising, while sailboats are built for racing. The beginning size for a yacht appears to be 33 feet. A luxury craft which is 39 feet or more is generally though of as a cabin cruiser. At 79 feet, any yacht becomes a megayacht, and these can't utilize wharfage or moorings in Mahone Bay. Bluenose II, at 143 feet, was visiting the outer harbour this day but could not approach the wharf because of her deep keel. Motorized megayachts do not have adequate turning space particularly with other parked craft in the water.
Lunenburg Harbour accomodates Bluenose II by dredging. Superyachts (164 feet+) have to drop anchor beyond Lunenburg Harbours' headlands, and ferry passenger to shore. Some of the smaller cabin cruisers could fit Mahone Bay Harbour, but we have noticed that owners at the high end of length have complained on line that they might get into harbour but have a hard time getting out. It appears that Mahone Bay is at its limit hosting 50 vessels. Chronicle Herald reporter Lou Boudrea has nevertheless suggested that Mahone Bay may be among other Nova Scotian ports "missing the boat on yacht tourism". (June 10, 2017). Those that now use marine faciities get a dinghy dock, tender service, a garbage drop off, petrol, water, ice, sympathy and tea. There is no laudromat in town. Sail repair and other marine services are not on site or even nearby.
Mahone Bay does have liquor outlets, restaurants and a land base for rent, if they need one, but is not festive every day of the year and has limited evening entertainment. Tourists who time things with precision can take in a classical music concert scheduled periodically at one of the three churches. Otherwise: "The Mahone Bay Swing Band provides a weekly concert throughout the July and August tourist season from the Mahone Bay harbour-side Bandstand on Main Street, right next to the Save Easy parking lot. The concerts are on Thursday evenings from 7-8 o'clock. In case of rain, we hold a rehearsal in the Legion hall that is open to visitors." There is live music, on ocassion, at the two drinking establishments and restaurants, but nothing regular or impromtu.
Visitors sometimes encounter confusion on observing the local scene. Finding caps for sale in a bar inscribed, "Chester is a drinking town with a sailing problem!" one visitor assumed that this was a an attempt to draw attention to a real situation. He noted that "bottles of liquor can only be obtained from state run liquor stores," and presumed the these outlets were not called liquor control boards without reason. In summer, the Mahone Bay store is open even on Sundays. During the off-season, this is a matter of local preference at the NSLC prefers to close on Sundays. You need to know that the one in Bridgewater does not close in winter and there are two privately-operated convenience stores, but they would not be obvious to visitors and require a half-hour road trip.
Even locals sometimes forget that there is now a micro-brewery on West Main Street almost directly across the street from the "government store." It saw recreation of a one-time automobile garage and service station. It is doing a booming business since winter hours are Saturday 10am until 9 pm and the rest of the week (including Sunday) noon til 9 pm. Hours are longer in the tourist season. They have a tap room, but food is ordered in. Even in winter they host the local station's Radio Bingo, Happy Hour, Ladie's Night, and live music. Their beers are generally a little more alcoholic than than the average for large-scale production. Tops is "'Make and Break' a hop forward ale with a little extra horsepower at 7.5% ABV." The "Growler," their 1.89 litre jug of beet sells in the shop for $15, and can be had on Sundays.
This Saltbox is more distant (15 minutes on shanks mare) from the Civic Marina than the Mug & Anchor Pub, which opened in 1989 and currently advertises "17 Beers (they used to advertise 33) On Tap." In summer, they offer a patio view of the Mailman & Kelley industrial marine area and the Civic Marina. In winter, they have a trivia night and one can assemble there for the annual Super Bowl TV Party, featuring "hot dogs, wings, chili etc." They have pub grub, deep-fried everything, which some people like a lot. Big screen TV is not going to pull in yacht tourists. Entering a bar in Chester those international visitors mentioned earlier found everybody in the tap room focused on a massive screen "What's going on?" They soon saw that it was news of more troubles in the United States and took their food to an outdor patio, ate hastily, and returned to a campsite on Squid Island.
Yelp photo. There have been negative comments concerning the food: "Great little pub atmosphere, slow service, calamari rubbery, probably frozen, haddock fish and chips should be unreal considering I am in Nova Scotia in July and I am sure it could be, but greasy as can be. Muscles drowned in garlic butter, come on this is the East coast, moderation people!!! Fries soggy." More reently Liam Tayler posted the following on their Facebook page: "January 7, 2018. I have only ever had to send a beer back once in my life (and I have had my fair share) - it was here - end of the barrel I was told, that's why it tasted off. I have only ever received mozzarella sticks still frozen in the middle once in my life - it was here. I have only ever left a burger because it was inedible once in my life (and I have been to Wendy's) - it was here. Enough said I think - and I only live down the road!"
Saltbox publicity photo. Personally,we have found the Mug & Anchor a convenient place to have a couple of Goose Island beer, but stopped ordering food when they would no longer substitute a baked potatoe for fries. The pub has solid competition at the other end of Main Street, but the interior tap room there is a noisey place in winter, so we will continue to take out from them and ocassionally patronize the mug & anchor until we can try out their patio. The crowd that comes here is on the lower side of middle age as opposed to the pub. Their beers are served in pubs and restaurants in the region, including Mateus Bistro, Grand Banker, Rope Loft, Battery Park, La Torta, Primal Kitchen, Rockhead, and at White Point. "While we don't have a kitchen, we are more than happy for you to order in! Takeout menus from various restaurants are displayed in the tap room." From what we have observed, that reciprocity is working well.
At a guess, the closeness of the Mug & Anchor to the Civic Marina means that its summer trade will be less impacted. If smaller boat owners do come ashore to eat and drink in season, it is only two buildings distant. Winter 2018 has not been the best for either waterfront business. We found the pub closed twice in January and went to the Saltbox instead. Their Facebook page explained why! On January 4, they closed at 2:24 due to "inclement weather." They had an electrical outage and the next day announced "We have power and will be opening at 11."
Then on December 6, they noted that there was no parking out back (building at left) as the area was flooded. January 17 brought on the wind storm that caused this mayhem on the wharf, led to early closing and caused the cancellation of trivia night. The up town micro-brewery is on higher ground and has plenty of parking. This photo was taken when the MacLean bulding (extreme right) Once the condo, which replaces it, is completed, parking will become an increasing problem down here on South Main.
Chronicle Herald photo. I'm not sure the Goldfinger or Doctor No spend millions ashore, but Lou Budreau says he knows this to be the case. " I can attest, from my own experience, they will spend huge amounts of money while visiting and to get the services and supplies they need." That is admittedly big money, but it would take more than a few of these yachts to add up to "millions." He is talking about yachts in "the 55-95-feet" range which excludes them from Mahone Bay. Notice the size of motor vehicles as compared with the two yachts in this photo. Halifax is not a huge magnet for these ships but they do have a lively waterfront after dark, which includes a large casino. As you know, all those Bonded characters love to gamble. Nevertheless, Boudreau thinks that we have the goods when it comes to tourism of this sort, "but can't fully deliver." Why not? I would say, because of a lack of very costly land and sea infrastructure. The southern part of the State of Maine is noted for deep fjords and they have a long history of developing them to harbour large boats. Southwestern Nova Scotia has some deepwater ports but Mahone Bay is not one of them.
August of the year past. Remembering that luxury yachts are villages in their own right, will high rollers actually be attracted by our quaintness? At sea, Boudreau recommends creating happenings such as lobster boat tours (which we already have), tourist dory races (which seems improbable unless you are born to oars and oarlocks), and yacht charter/windjammer cruises. The reporter noted that "My late father, Capt. Walter Boudreau, started Nova Scotia’s first windjammer cruise business in 1940 in Baddeck." Our lad had a chat with Mahone Bay Mayor David Devenne, who is said to have been in agreemeent with these ideas. Politicians are often agreeable people on a one-to-one basis. Boudreau guessed that, "Mahone Bay has all the natural prerequisites for attracting yachting visitors and providing them with at least the basic needs." It has had the basics for a long time!
"Capt. Lou Boudreau spent 35 years under sail before swallowing the anchor and taking up writing. His books, including The Man who Loved Schooners, are available at Lou’s website: www.caribbeebooks.com"
Mahone Bay has had good publicity from yachtsmen inluding some who have put in at the marina and left reviews on line. "What's not to like about the town of Mahone Bay. "Awesome Town, 2014-07-24 Captain: CAM P, Halifax N.S : .All kinds of great little shops. Good restaurants, and a nice pub. The people are friendly and the Mahone Bay Civic Marina will meets all of youe needs." One has to be careful about taking advice from Nova Scotians. As we have said, all the big boys moor and race out there beyond the harbour jn f\the vicinity of Strums Island (seen pn the horizon).
When Bluenose II came into these waters to participate in the final Classic Boat Festival she was a dot on the horizon and i had to drive to Maders Cove to get this photograph. Tours were conducted by tender.
Here is what another tourist said about our marina: "Small but Friendly, 3-1/2 star, 2016-07-13, Captain Jno., Freeport, ME (608), Very small facility - room for 2, maybe 3, smallish boats (35') on the floating docks, which need redecking. Power was a little weak (105-110V with a 20A load), but worked. Water pressure was good. Plenty of moorings, launch service, and a big dinghy dock in good shape. Heads and shower open 0900 to 2100, and were very clean, though dated. The town owns the buildings, and the marina is trying to get permission to repaint. Wifi was solid. Protection is good, though I suspect a strong easterly would raise quite a chop."
Sometimes the wind whips up a little more than chop. Our last reviewer added, "The marina is right next to town, a couple of minutes walk away. The town is full of little shops, a grocery store, a pharmacy, and several restaurants. Rebecca's seemed to be a local favorite. Would stop here again, especially if we had some time to explore some of the many islands in the bay." Information changes so quickly it is almost meaningless unless updated. The marina is now governed by a non profit committee acting at a distance from town affairs. Rebeccas's Restaurant still dominates the trade but is now relocated a good 20 minutes distant from the marina.
"Nice visit, 2013-07-20. Captain: LarryC, Cape Elizabeth (494), Stayed two nights on a mooring with our 44' sailboat. Valentino's is an outstanding Italian restaurant on Main St. Bike rental shop with old rail bed trails to Chester (which has more facilities), Lunenburg (whose Yacht Club is actually at Herman's Island away from Lunenburg Harbour) and Bridgewater. Two bakeries, a good supermarket and many restaurants." It has not had bakeries for years. Valentino's closed after three years of trying to compete with the local pizza joint.
Mahone Harbour from the breakwater seven years ago. Mahone Bay proper has been praised for calm waters, and this is a rare happening in the harbour. "Interesting town and the famous three churches, 2011-09-05, Captain: RobinR, Cruising (3535). When one sees the word "interesting" in a review...
"It's unfortunate that more moorings were added to the existing footprint in 2011 - the swing room is no longer big enough for a 50' boat. The dockmaster was very apologetic and gracious about it - typical of the incredibly nice people we've encountered everywhere up here. The town is lovely - a tourist spot, but pretty and friendly. Lots of crafts and some very artsy shops and restaurants, and the famous three churches at the very head of the harbor."
At this writing, 10 am, January 23, we chanced on the Civic Marina's four webcams which were not all giving a clear harbour view because there had been freezing rain. That situation persisted In Halifax, but at Mahone Bay winds were light and the air temperature slightly above freezing. When everything cleared it became obvious that those two wind-blown sailboats had been edited out of the wharf view by tilting the camera downward, or was it the wind?
Two hours later a couple of the lenses showed more of the marina area. In 2015, Boats & Places Magazine writer Mike Grindley wrote about cruising the area, which he described as "having stunning vistas and warm hospitality which always leave me wanting to return." He mentioned the drumlin islands weatherbreak and added, "The other factor that makes the bay a popular haven for boats is the southwesterly flow of the winds in the summer, which enhance the weather and calm the waters." That observation applies to summer sailors. Locally, two May lift- days were cancelled and put forward because of high winds.
Hurricane Earl, 2010. This storm brought massive waves with it and two houseboats and a tour boat broke moorings and ended up at the head of the harbour. Fortunately, the worst of the wind came a bit behind high tide, otherwise all three would have ended up on land. As it was, the Peggys Cove boat ended up grounded near the bandstand.
Visiting Chester, Grindley noted boats up to 65 feet in length moored in their harbour. "While busy when we visited the village, the town explodes for Chester Race Week, Canada’s largest Keelboat Regatta." His entourage did visit the village of Mahone Bay and mentioned the Wooden Boat Festival (by this date defunct). They did not pause there for long but cruised back along the shore to Oak Island and Western Shore "for a great meal and a relaxing evening at the Atlantica."
Atlantic Oak Island Resort has the right stuff for yachtsman tired of camping out on one of the islands. It is only 12 minutes east of Mahone Bay by road. Grindley said, "The marina has 41 berths and four moorings, as well as fuel, laundry and shower facilities. Boating guests also have access to the hotel’s pools, spa, dining rooms and lounge. Onshore accommodations range from single rooms to seaside villas." Not mentioned was their tennis courts and the Oak Island display of artifacts. Gold River Marina is only minutes further in the direction of Halifax and it has 53 slips, with the capacity to handle in excess of 400 yachts for dry storage. It has 13,800 sq.ft. of buildings available for construction, maintenance and inside storage of boats up to 65 feet. In the opposite direction, Mahone Bay has competitors at the Lunenburg Marina and the Luneburg Waterfront Marina. This does put things in perspective?
Cartography is a smaller part of geographic tourism, and sometimes it is hard to separate the interests of conservation of natural resources from those of yacht tourism when the Mahone Bay Islands are discussed. Mahone Bay proper is a big body of water, 285 kilometres in area, burdened with Miles Debrisey's fable (1895) that there is "one for every day of the year." Joseph Howe, a political visitor, somehow deduced that there were "a couple of hundreds." The count of named islands is less than a hundred. The Mahone Islands Conservation Association, another local non-profit group, organized in 2002 when Strums Island was physically assualyed by a developer from away. Afterwards, Kaulbach, Spectale and Rafuse Islands saw similar development. Since then MICA has been involved with other private and public bodies in acquiring islands, in full or part, as public lands (green Xs).
I've kept my map simple because there is so much information overload on the web, and MICA has slid in that direction. The map above is a simplification of one of their web pages. What this assemlage makes clear is the fact that their "triumphs" in obtaining land for "public use" have gone far beyond the area of Mahone Harbour. The full list? 1. Andrews Island, acquired 2005; Backmans, 2007; Covey, 2007; Masons (northern part), 2007; Long, Dry, Snipe, Centre, 2007; Sacrifice, 2009; Shag, 2012; Bella, 2013; Masons (centre part), 2014; Little Duck, 2014; Squid, 2015; Goat (donated) 2015. "From humble roots the volunteer-run organization has created a considerable legacy, raising more than $1 million and helping to move 10 islands from private hands to public ownership — ensuring they remain protected from development and accessible to visitors, in perpetuity." Unfortunately "perpetuity" is a very long time.
The view from the head of Mahone Harbour looking southward toward Strums Island at the entrance. Notice the rock barriers along the Mahone Harbour coast. The island is about a third of the way across the horizon. When we came to the area it was fully forested and did not attract much public attention being unassuming and not photographic, except as part of the more general scene.
Gradual change is rarely noticed. In 2013, MICA chairman John Meisner was quoted as saying, “All of a sudden you saw the lines being cut in and trees starting to be removed. We didn’t know what was going on.” Of course, wharfs had to be constructed in aid of new owners who were bent on devlopment as a mini-resort. Residents of the surrounding coastal are were not wholly in favour of what they saw happening. If trees had not be almost totally stripped away and a massive house built, and no trespassing signs posted, slow-paced development might have been tolerated if not liked. At this time, the Canadian dollar was trading with the American at sixty-five cents, making the islands an easy purchase for come-from-aways.
Here is one of my current photos of the island. Meisner was in on the formation of MICA bak in 2002. While Strums Island was the fire under the pot that created opposition, he has noted that nearby Big Rafuse Island and Kaulbach Island had been purchased and rather grand buildings were being constructed.
“The whole fabric of the bay was changing — and not for the better,” Meisner was quoted as saying. The 250 people who showed up at a public meeting in 2003 agreed that rapid development of the islands would separate local residents from many traditional beaches and anchorages.
“We thought if we didn’t do something, there might not be anything down the road for people to access.”
And local residents had a history of sharing beaches and anchorages and camp and picnic sites. The Victorians, who travelled as much by water as land, saw many of the islands, including Strums, as recreational commons irrespective of ownership. Zwickers Island was owned by the family through three generations and was offered for sale recently, "The property encompasses approximately 16 acres of land including a private beach, rolling fields and beautiful woods. The 200-year-old Cape House is rich with history and heritage and is very restorable to its original condition."
Winslow Homer painting illustrating the fact the Victorian women were not all fragie dolls. MICA was organized in the hope that past privileges could be retained. After the successful purchase of Andrews Island, which is next door to Strums, Meisner commented that it had become a popular retreat for nature lovers,and tourists, who of necessity had to be boaters of kayakers. Pointing to a a picnic table on this small wooded osalnd he told freelancer, Quentin Casy of Mahone Bay, "that is what our association is all about." There is, however, a growing possibility that that sigular aim may interfere with measure to conserve natural resouces. On one of their pages MICA confuses "natural resources" with"national resources."
I was fully cognizant and owned my own 14-foot dinghy, a gift from my grandfather in 1940s. I can tell you that residents of these Maritime Provinces have had a long hstory of "using and enjoying wild space" as the Nova Scotian government says. At Oak Bay, New Brunswick, I saw vacationers cut all the timber from a small public island accessible by tombolo. When the last stick was used to cook marshmellows and hotdogs, it washed away.
When people owned residences on the larger islands year around, this was not as likely to happen.That is not to suggests that owners were strict environmentalists. According to Debrisey, Mason's Island supplied Haligonians with "sand of good quality. Thousands of bushels of gravel are obtained for garden walks in the city and some of it is used in the public gardens there." As you can see they also cut and burned firewood. Some of the family ultimately moved to our neighbourhood and built the home, which currently houses the Heart's Desire B&B. This property was acquired by MICA in partnership with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and the province of Nova Scotia in 2014.
Most islands are privately owned and anything goes, including trees, The province is more protective of its interest in their investments: "While the primary purposes of Wilderness Areas are protection-oriented, they also provide significant opportunities for recreation in a wilderness setting. Wilderness recreation activities such as hiking, canoeing, skiing, birdwatching and kayaking are encouraged. Sport fishing, and traditional patterns of hunting and trapping are also generally permitted. Camping is permitted in Wilderness Areas according to special conditions which are described in an Order on Camping and Lighting of Fires. This Order was issued by the Minister of Environment and Labour in March 2001, to encourage 'no-trace' camping practices." There is no provision for enforcement of these suggestions or those relating to motorized vehicles when it comes to islands.
Spectacle Island illustrates the vunerability of a private island to storm surge events. One can rent cabins herem a few minutes offshore from Indian Point. "The cluster of cabins were designed and built in 2012 and 2013 to replicate the traditional fish stores which were once common structures in the area. The main cabin (living room, kitchen, dining, sleeping), two sleeping cabins and a storage/utility cabin, are all arranged on an elevated 60' x 60' deck with commanding ocean views in every direction."
Here is a telephoto of the main lodge on Strums Island. The 9.8 acre island has been offered for sale for a very long time. "Comprised of six large bedrooms, six full baths and one half bath, the main home is approximately 9,500 square feet. Its open interior incorporates space for a game room, wet bar, media room, exercise area, library, and also features two kitchens to facilitate both large and small groups. A state-of-the-art security system monitors the home, which can be controlled remotely from any part of the world." The island is said to have "income potential," but that was not the case for those who cleared the land, hoping that similar mansions would be built there by co-owners. Note the rock barriers. Land developers insist that this the only means of preventing imminent weathering and erosion.
As things stand no one is making good use of the island. This view looks out to sea with Andrews Island in the distance. That discolouration of water suggests that unconsolidated sediments are continuing to reduce the size of the island in spitr oflayers of plastic and those huge boulders. One hopes it will soon sell and fall into more sensitive hands. Don't know the asking price. By the way, nearby Kaulbach Island is the site of an even grander 11,040 square foot home owned by come-from-aways. It has been reduced in price to $7-million.
This view looks back toward the village and Oakland. Swimming here is now verbotten. Quentin Casey's article published by the Chronicle Herald was headlined, "Public Island or Private Playground?" Local land developer Robert Douglas said, "There’s a place for the association to own islands. But don’t just sit on them and let them wash away. Do something with them." In his opinion, their money should be directed at building wharves, fire pits, trails, breakwaters and rock walls to help prevent the islands’ inevitable losses to the sea. Obviously he has not read Lindsay Clowes', A Recommendation Strategy for Coastal Erosion in the Area of the Mahone Bay Islands (2013). His research ended with a worry that increased recreational use might prove detremental and "It is possible that attempts to slow or prevent erosion (e.g., through the construction of boulder barriers) can in fact accelerate the very erosional phenomena that they are intended to prevent." It had been tried at Masons Island with less than expected result.
Westhaver Island was always a smaller island nextdoor to Strums Island close to Maders Cove. This light built in 1882 but in spite of it, the schooner Flo F. Mader ran aground and was lost here in 1896. It was automated follwing World War II and was virtually washed out of existence in the late twentieth century in spit of cribwork and bouders.
The little hump of land left out there is designated as a protected bird reserve. During the nesting period from mid-April to mid-August visitors have to acquire a permit to visit. This island gets about the same wave action and sea surge as Strums.
View of Strums from the Civic Marina Wharf, Breakwater in middle ground. Mr. Douglas missed the essential problem which caused the destruction of Westhavers Island. To give ships a clear-line-of-vision, the Department of Transport stripped away all trees and high shrubs and these hold soil in place. The owners of Strums Island stopped short of denuding it which will help the weathering of soil there if they allow vegetation to reestablish itself and/or plant deep-rooted trees. Whatever they do, the landowners are stuck with a wave enticing steep rock face on the seaward side, and breaking wave action can move mounatins of piled stone. Mother Nature rarely loses quarrels with mortals.
The village of Mahone Bay has also been paying the price of trying to turn back the effects of time and tides. Plastic underlay and boulder barriers have been no more effective here in this much more protected area of Mahone Bay. There are other less costly ecologically friendly approaches to slowing down weathering and erosion, but the finger-in-the-dyke "solution" will continue to be applied until it becomes financially prohibitive.
This map will explain where things stand geographically. Insert$ MICA picnic on Andrews Island after acquisition. The group might not have gone far after tat organiztional meeting in 2003 except for the support of Lunenburg's influential Member of the Legislative Assembly, Michael Baker. He arranged a boat tour of the islands for the then-premier of the province, John Hamm and his cabinet. The province did not respond until after the group of 70 or 80 committed souls raised $100,000 by selling tickets to a gala dinner and art auction. The dinner at the Lunenburg Yacht Club dining room brought in $74,000, proving that they had a well-to-do invitation list. With this start off the blocks, the province anted up the remainder need to meet the $629,000 purchase price in 2005.
Chester. With later purchases the Municpality of the District of Lunenburg put up cash, so that techncially the province and the muncipality are owners of the islands, with the conservation association serving as caretakers, supervising regular island cleanups and "ensuring the islands remain in their natural state." In subsequent acquisitions, MICA had financial input governed by the cash they were able to raise, and I contributed paintings to some of those auctions. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust, founded in 1994, is an entirely different charitable land conservation organization whose mission is to protect significant natural areas on private land. The Trust did assist MICA in securing three islands Clay Island, Big Fish Island, and Round Island Nubble, all in the Chester area. Similarly, the Long Island Preservation Society donated four islands to the association’s cause: Long, Dry, Snipe and Centre.
The tie-in with the yachting community is now a bit more pronounced than in former times. Meisner has said that Douglas should not worry about the ideathat the association will be gobbling up all Mahone Bay islands. Meisner has said they are only interested in "conserving" every island in Mahone Bay traditionally used in the past by the public, and without existing infrastructure such as wharves and buildings. "If the islands are all developed and No Trespassing signs go on them, we just don’t think that’s the way this part of the world should be going. We’ve got a gem here and we’d like to preserve it for generations to come." The prime question are: Who will oversee the caretakers and what fraction of the public are they committed to serve? R&R have yet to see tht Mahone Bay Islands from the water in spite of time committed to the MICA cause. Paintings do not spring to life from the half-shell!