A Change of Heart?

Gilbert Holdings

The public is now faced with two seemingly conflicting statements from the Gilberts. Both statements concern the would-be developer’s intentions for the property widely known as Owls Head Provincial Park.

Please keep in mind that public objection is to the sale of public land that had been slated for protection. The Save Owls Head movement opposes the removal of the park’s inclusion in Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan in order to make Owls Head Park Reserve—our public land—available for sale to a private investor.

What the Gilberts intend for the property is relevant but does not affect the primary concerns of conservation and government transparency. The grassroots movement insists that Owls Head Park Reserve be returned to Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan and be legally protected.

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In The Neighbourhood

Golden time

I live very close to Owls Head. Just east of it in Clam Bay. Owls Head is on the peninsula that forms the eastern horn of the sweeping wide bay. Clam Harbour is the narrow inlet between the east end of the bay and Owls Head proper.

From the end of the driveway at my house I can see across the Clam Harbour Provincial Beach Park and if it’s clear enough and haze free I can usually make out some of Owls Head and the islands off shore of it.

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Winter on Owls Head

Frozen Shoreline

Posted on January 22, 2020 on the Eastern Shore Cooperator

“What does Owls Head Provincial Park look like? I took a walk there on January 21 to get some on-the-ground photos. Few people have actually walked the land and the shore other than locals gathering berries in the many bogs. The aerial photos on Google Earth show a gently rolling landscape where the last glacier raked its fingers across the exposed granite, leaving long rows of furrowed granite with boggy areas in between the rows.

The area is almost completely undeveloped, with only two roads. There’s a private, gated road leading from the middle of Little Harbour along the south side of the park to the home of Beckwith and Kitty Gilbert, the American couple who have been secretly negotiating with the province to turn the park into as many as 3 golf courses by combing it with 138 hectares they already own. And there’s a rough road coming in from the west off the road to Southwest Harbour that leads to Murphys Lake on the northeast corner of the park.

The photos start on the eastern side of the park, looking eastward towards the nearest of the 100 Wild Islands. Walking inland, the landscape is scrubby, with low bushes and clumps of stunted firs sprinkled in among and along the granite fingers.

Some of the rarer species in the park are lichens. At one point, I came across a massive exposed rock face more than 20-feet high with several species of lichens and mosses growing on the rock face. The last two photos show the view across the gated road in Little Harbour leading to the Gilberts’ home.

Richard Bell, Eastern Shore Cooperator

Here are Richard’s photos with a few additional drone aerials by Steven Gallant.

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