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50 Centuries or 5,000 years of cultures connected to Dog Peninsula, Bird Cove, NL

Bird Cove is a tiny town of under 200 residents that may not always be on local residents and visitors vacation list – but it should be as it has more than 5,000 years of indigenous history and artifacts found from early European contact. A timeline of history, artifacts and experiences of the Great Northern Peninsula’s first people can be found at the 50 Centuries Interpretation Centre (50centuries.ca).

Captain James Cook cairn, circa 1764

I fully appreciate the pure beauty of the Great Northern Peninsula, even more, after a year of staycations and in-depth hiking adventures. Bird Cove has a couple of beautiful trails. One begins at the Town Hall and Community Centre along Long Pond and takes you to registered archaeological sites. Another option for the hiking enthusiast is spending a day at the Dog Peninsula. I did more than 11 KM, the trek can be shorter or longer depending the route you take.

First, getting here: take Route 430 to Plum Point, turn to Town of Bird Cove between the Irving and the Motel. It will be a scenic 5 kilometre drive through Brig Bay. You keep on the main road through Bird Cove until you see the wharf and take that gravel road until you come to the bridge and can park in the designated area.

The journey to Dog Peninsula in Bird Cove truly hit another chord, showcasing the incredible nature we have in our own backyard. This is truly a special place, as these lands were inhabited by the Maritime Archaic, Dorset and Groswater cultures dating back 50 centuries. It is a surreal and tranquil feeling as you take the steps along the pathways you know the earliest indigenous people on the Great Northern Peninsula also took. There are numerous archaeological sites registered in the area. I took the trail through Meany’s Point and travelled along the Beach Point and Kelpy Cove across the Isthmus to Dog Peninsula, you also have the option of going straight through on several boardwalks or take the left along the shore and an old factory site. My route was taking the right along the coastline to get to Dog Peninsula where Captain Cook’s cairn rests. You can follow my route through the photos below:

I made this solo trek and fell in love with my natural surroundings, from birds, whales, butterflies, mussels, flowers, fossils, gardens, coastlines and more. Recent upgrades to the trail make for a very welcoming experience including all the signage, picnic area and washroom facilities. I have to say I was a little startled when I reached Dog Peninsula and saw this beautiful horse grazing with the Highlands of St. John in the background. The horse wouldn’t be the only wildlife I had the pleasure of encountering.

As you continue the hike you pass by archaeological sites and continue to be drawn in by unique rock formations. The wind may have destroyed the interpretation panel but Captain Jame Cook’s Cairn, circa 1764 is still standing on Dog Peninsula, Bird Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula. I even captured it in a frame.

The journey was like a gift that kept on giving as two young caribou were hanging out around the cairn. As I walked closer they decided they weren’t interested in meeting and jetted as caribou often do.

From Captain Cook’s Cairn, I circled the Dog Peninsula, reached the isthmus, and returned to the bridge via the forest trail which also includes the old cemetery of Bird Cove. As I said you can also go the other coastal trail back to the bridge, which I hope to do in 2021!

The Dog Peninsula is one of the most incredible trail experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula for multiple reasons. If you are a local and haven’t been, you should go and if you are interested in visiting our region – add Bird Cove to your list. It’s about time!

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s more than 80 trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

Support the Breath of Fresh Air With LTBK Playground Project on GNP

A Breath of Fresh Air With Let Them Be Kids Playground Project
Dedicated to Fallen Soldier Corporal Chad O’Quinn
Build Day & Dedication Ceremony: June 22nd, 2013

THE BIG NEWS…On January 18th, 2013, Cook’s Harbour, Boat Harbour and Wild Bight were granted a National Let Them Be Kids Helping Hands Award!!! A Public announcement followed on February 15, 2013.  You can imagine the excitement of the kids and anticipation at our Announcement Eventhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWTClIgwIOM.

The award provides a 50/50 matching grant towards the purchase of playground equipment, as well as support, training and resources to help make our community’s project successful. Every 50¢ we raise will result in $1 in buying power!

Think about it, for years now, the children of James Cook Memorial have dreamed of a playground filled with fun! We are located 53kms from the nearest playground or any recreational facility.  The children and youth of our three communities face numerous barriers that limit their access to and participation in recreation, sport, and physical activity.

Children who grow up with a safe accessible playground gather with friends and come up with creative games. They run around, building relationships. They pretend they can do and be anything. They are astronauts, pilots, teachers, superheroes, gymnasts, world famous ballerinas, police men or firefighters. They believe in the beauty of their dreams! Playgrounds are magical in that way, they transform your thinking.

The people of Cook’s Harbour, Boat Harbour & Wild Bight have been given an amazing opportunity to provide this dream for our children.  The greater impact of this project will carry forward to reach well beyond constructing a new playground. It will provide our youth with opportunities that will foster self growth, independence and leadership skills, encouraging them to take an active role in their community and create future community leaders. It will also restore pride and ownership in our area by bringing together the three communities of Cook’s Harbour, Wild Bight and Boat Harbour.  It will encourage our neighbouring communities and visitors from away to stay longer in our area and promote tourism and business growth.

This project will certainly have long-term benefits to everyone involved! Various people will be present on Build Day including representatives from our equipment supplier, our coach, Let Them be Kids representative and members of our Legion as well as friends and family of Corporal O’Quinn and Military personal. There will be extensive news coverage through newspapers, CBC and NTV television, and our live web cast on the National Let Them Be Kids Website. In other words it will be widely covered!

Further Information about Build Day or donations can be found on our website below.

http://ltbkcooksharbour.blogspot.ca/

Glenda Pittman
Chairperson of Committee
email: glenda.pittman@wnlsd.ca

Where the Norse settled 1,000+ years ago…

This is where the Norse lived more than 1,000 years ago. The remains of houses, workshops and outer buildings are present by the impressions still left in the ground. Imagine living in L’Anse aux Meadows and having to withstand the harsh winter climate. Today this is a Parks Canada and World UNESCO Heritage Site which in season has more than 30,000 visitors.

A look from the mounds one can see a re-constructed site, where one can get educated on a day in the life of a Viking. This was my first time visiting during the winter. It was bitterly cold, as the wind came from the water. If I was living as a Viking, I would stay near the fire or make sure I was wearing my sealskin boots (they probably used sheep skin).

The Great Northern Peninsula is home to many firsts – including the Norse being the first to re-discover North America, as Native people were already inhabiting this island. We have a connection to many parts of Europe as a point of first contact with the Basque coming in the 1500’s, Captain James Cook, the French, English, and Irish settlers shortly thereafter. We have a long-standing history from the First Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-eskimo, Groswater-Eskimo and recent Indians to the point when Europeans came to North America. The proof is at L’Anse aux Meadows, NL on the Great Northern Peninsula – you may want to find yourself here too!

This site has been showcased in the Province’s Award-Winning Tourism Ads – you too may want to find yourself exploring the Viking Trail, Route 430 and experiencing what life was like living as a Viking more than 1,000 years ago.

Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore
The Straits-White Bay North 

 

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