Railway ties to a conservation legacy
In “The last spike,” perhaps one of the most well-known photographs commemorating the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Sir William Van Horne stands behind Donald Alexander Smith as he drives the last spike into the railway.
Van Horne later became the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, then purchased land in Crabbes River in 1900. This year, the Estate of Sir William Van Horne donated 606 acres (245 hectares) at Crabbes River to NCC so that its natural values can be conserved.
Extending from Bonne Bay to the Codroy Valley on Newfoundland’s west coast, large contiguous areas of forest provide some of the last remaining habitat on the Island for the Newfoundland marten.
The property is primarily forested by black spruce with isolated stands of white pine — an increasingly uncommon species in Newfoundland. In addition, small stands of rare red pine are found on the property.
A number of rare plants are found in the riparian habitat of the Crabbes River. In addition to the unique flora present along its banks, the Crabbes River hosts wild Atlantic salmon and is a provincially designated salmon river.