Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 19 - Stories from the Clyburn Valley

Page 19 - Stories from the Clyburn Valley

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (330 reads)

then a mile or two north of the gold mine there was a falls on the Clyburn River. Well, their houses were nearer to the falls than the gold mine, because they got their irrigation from the falls. And it was also used for the sluicing of the gold mine. And when we first moved there, the old concrete sluice boxes, and the vault for the gold. And when they moved out they even left all the test tubes and all the Petri glasses and everything were still there. There were no trees growing around it then. It's all grown up, right through the foundations now, it's all trees. You'd hardly even know there was anything there. But when we left there, it was just like a little ghost town, with the cement walls. (A lot of people were very bitter when the park took over.) Leona; A lot of people were bitter about the park taking their land, but then again there's another way of looking at it. If the park hadn't taken it over, how much of it would have been owned by people from the United States? The kids wouldn't have anywhere to swim--they wouldn't be allowed access to that proper? ty. So there's two ways of looking at it. And then along with that, it's given a lot of employment to a lot of people. Because most of the ones that lost their property to the parks were more or less guaranteed jobs, and even their children and their grandchildren still have jobs because of this takeover.... But on the other side of the coin--when the park came, a lot of the fishermen hauled their boats up on the beach, and they rot? ted there. It made some dependent on the parks. They lost that independence--that sort of thing that they had. (Their fire?) Yes--plus their incentive. "Well, I'll work on the park for 25 to 30 years. I'll retire and I'll get a park pension...." Tom; (We'd) climb to the top of Franey with little packs on our backs and tin cans, and go up there and pick berries. Leona; Yes, Dad even used to take me up. Tom; Right straight up. Leona; Up the face. The last time I went up (Franey) with him was when I was 15 years old. We had come down on a holiday, and this is what we did. He said, "I'm going to give you a real treat today." He said, "We're going to go up to Franey." He said, "We haven't been up there in awhile." It had been a few years since we'd been up, eh? So he took another --a young couple that were camping next to us in the campground--they wanted to come. And he took us right up the face. From the valley floor right up to the top. Tom; Just hang onto the rocks and the stumps. Leona; And he wouldn't let--he said, "If you want a drink, just take it in your mouth and spit it out. Because," he said, "if you swallow it, it'll give you stomach cramps." So this is all we were allowed, was just to swish our mouths out. And when we got to the top, we started walking around, exploring. Here there was a footpath the park had built, in between the last time we'd been up. We could have walked right up to the top on this foot? path, in on this (other) side of the moun? tain. Instead of that, we went out the val? ley and went right up the face, the way he used to take us when we were kids. (And now, what's left out there to show that the Doucettes were on the Clyburn.) Tom; Just, there's a bridge that my father and my brother and I--and I was young at the time, 13. My father got a grant of $75 to build a bridge. Because on the south side of the Clyburn there was a road just went up so far, and there was quite a gul? ly. In summertime we used to use the gold road, the old gold mine road, which went along the Clyburn. And we'd cross over through the water. I often think, though, if the young people could have even two months of living like we did in the Clyburn Valley--such a frugal life--still, when I look back on it, those were some of the happiest years of my life. If people could live in a wilderness where they had to fend for themselves and use their own wits to provide themselves with their food and their entertainment and everything, we'd have better people growing up. More responsible.... Danena's Restaurant and Take-Out LICENSED OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Home Baking ) ( Home Cool
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