Nature Conservancy Canada – Sandy Point was at one time the largest settlement on the west coast of Newfoundland, reaching its population peak of 750 residents in the mid-19th century.
Over time, due to flooding and erosion of the road neck that connected Sandy Point to the mainland, the island was gradually abandoned, finally losing its last two residents in 1973.
Although people have abandoned life on this remote island, wildlife has not. Sandy Point supports some of the highest numbers of migrating shorebirds ever recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador.
About a decade ago, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) identified Sandy Point as a priority due to these important conservation values:
• Key Species & Habitats: rare beaches & dunes; largest spartina salt marsh and one of the largest eel-grass beds in the province
• Key Wildlife: piping plover (15-20 percent of the province’s entire population); semipalmated plover arctic tern; common tern; willet
• Notable Plants: seabeach sedge; saltmarsh rush; seaside lavender; saltwater cordgrass
NCC hired Dale Young, the president of the Stephenville Historical Society near Sandy Point, to research land ownership on the island. Thanks to this research, NCC is currently protecting nine properties here.
Many of the descendants of the former Sandy Point inhabitants that NCC worked with got involved because they appreciated the natural values of the island, and saw an opportunity to ensure that the sites of their ancestor’s homes were left unspoiled into perpetuity.
It’s thanks to your support that we’re able work with communities across the country to protect important natural places which we can all enjoy today, and our children and grandchildren can enjoy them in the years to come.
Thank you for being a part of our force for nature.
Manager, Supporter Development
P.S. Visit our website to read about NCC’s work in Newfoundland and Labrador, across Canada, and visit us when you’re taking some time for nature this summer!