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Riverwalk supports preservation of nature on County’s south shore

PECFN's Cheryl Anderson lead the first group on the Riverwalk tours.

PECFN’s Cheryl Anderson lead the first group on the Riverwalk tours.

More than 115 visitors to the Mill Falls House property in Milford walked along a dry riverbed to the nearby meadow last weekend in support of the preservation of nature along the south shore of Prince Edward County.

A dry riverbed is usual there for this time of year, though this summer’s unprecedented drought showed up in the lack of brilliant wildflowers along the way.

The historic Mill Falls House was host to this year’s Riverwalk, a fundraiser by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County raising just under $6,000 toward their South Shore Appeal Fund challenging industrial wind turbine projects.

PECFN reached unprecedented success in its bid against turbines at Ostrander Point with the ruling revoking approval for a nine-turbine project upon proving serious and irreversible harm to the endangered Blandings turtle.
The tribunal decision said that “no matter how important renewable energy is to our future, it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk.”

APPEC’s battle against White Pines’ 29-turbine project continues as the proponents are now proposing remedies in writing.

PECFN’s Cheryl Anderson led the first tour along the riverbed, giving a brief history of the area, explaining how in 1810, Joseph Clapp built a second mill by damming the headwaters of the Black River and forcing the upper pond water through a wooden sluice which drove an up-and-down saw used to cut logs into lumber.

The Milford area became a ship building centre and were moved on sledges during the winter down to Port Milford where they were launched on the melting ice of the spring thaw. Later, several schooners and a steamer were built at Chapman’s Landing on Black River just outside Milford and over 50 years the entire forest of the south shore was destroyed.

The current Scott’s Mill was built in the 1920s using lumber from the original James Clapp Mill which after moving through generations of Clapps was eventually sold to William Byron Scott in 1888.

“On the Riverwalk you will see the places where dams were built out of huge timbers held together with steel plates and bolts,” said Anderson. “The dams were secured to the river bed with iron stakes driven into the limestone. You will also visit one of the ponds created by an earthen berm with huge rocks for the foundation. Here you can see the grate which allowed water to flow through and into the pipe to the mill. The meadow and forest around the river has been carefully allowed to revert to a natural state. Wild flowers usually abound, but not so much this year because of the drought.”

Naturalist Terry Sprague also led tour groups, identifying wildflowers, weeds, birds and other creatures along the way.

The event was held by donation and following the tours featured a silent auction of items donated by local artists and businesses, wine and canapes.

Click here for more about the County’s south shore and fight to preserve it.


Naturalist Terry Sprague also led tours down the dry riverbed at Milford.


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