Page 18 - Searching for the Highlands National Park, 1934
ISSUE : Issue 43
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1
M.L.A.) and H. F. Laurence, Inspecting En? gineer of the Highways Department, repre? senting the Nova Scotia Government. Here are selections from Cautley's Report to J. B. Harkin, Esq., Commissioner, National Parks of Canada, regarding northern Cape Breton. Cape Breton Site In Premier (Angus L.) Macdonald's letter to the Minister of the 17th August, 1934, the above site is referred to as "a site in Northern Cape Breton." The above des? cription intentionally avoids all refer? ence to possible boundaries, or the areas to be included, because it was recognized that there are a number of factors which would have to be taken into consideration before it would be possible to define such botmdaries. In a general sense, the idea of the Park is that it shall include the northerly por? tion of the Cabot Trail, which has been constructed as a scenic route by the Nova Scotia Government, together with parts of the picturesque coast, both on the east and west sides of Cape Breton Island, and a large area of the interior lying between. In 1928, the late Mr. S. P. Challoner advo? cated that the whole northern portion of Cape Breton Island, lying to the north of a line from Indian Brook on the east coast to Cheticamp on the west coast, "exclusive of the farms and villages along the coasts," should be established as a Nation? al Park. The entire area north of the a- bove line includes about: 880 square miles. Mr. Challoner describes the area he had in mind as about 540 square miles. He des- cribed the scenic attractions of the area as follows: "This block consists mainly of high tableland, interspersed with mountain ranges, peaks, ravines, streams, lakes, marshes, barrens, blue grass plains and forest. Franey's Chimney, overlooking North Bay, Ingonish, is the highest peak in Canada east of the Rocky Mountain re? gion (Note: This is an error.) and one of the two highest in eastern North America. The streams abound in trout and salmon. There are many beautiful cataracts and falls." It will be noted that all the features men? tioned, refer to the interior and not to the coast, which it would seem that Mr. Challoner intended to exclude altogether. The fact of the matter is that the high tableland which forms the interior of northern Cape Breton is singularly devoid of scenic attraction. There are no large lakes within it and very few small ones. There are no "mountain ranges" or "peaks." It is only as one approaches the coast that the original plateau has been so cut up by the erosion of many extraordinary steep mountain torrents as to become a pic? turesque mountain terrain, with serrated sky line and distinctive peaks. The great scenic value of the site is the rugged coast itself with its mountain back? ground. The interior or plateau country is only valuable as a Park asset from a game preservation point of view. It is not in? tended to say that there are no points in the interior which are not sufficiently scenic to be regarded as tourist assets; it is more than likely that the upper wa- ters of the Cheticamp River resemble the
Cape Breton's Magazine