Nature Conservancy of Canada celebrates conservation of easternmost property

11 acres protected along coastline of top-rated tourist destination

May 17, 2012 - Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove, NL

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved a landmark property on North America's easternmost point. The 11 acres are on the southern shore of the famous Cape Spear Peninsula. Located in the scenic town of Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove just outside St. John's, the property is part of the coastline which National Geographic listed as the world's top-rated coastal destination in 2010.

Located in the Fog Forest natural area, the newly conserved property is largely covered by coastal coniferous forests. It also contains 30-metre vertical cliffs underscored by small beaches and sea caves, as well as wetlands. The award-winning East Coast Trail runs through the property, allowing visitors to experience the rugged beauty and spectacular marine life along Newfoundland's coastline.

Hundreds of thousands of marine and coastal seabirds nest in the area, providing incredible wildlife viewing opportunities during annual migrations. Conservation of this coastline is critical in providing a safe place for seabirds to roost and feed, including Atlantic puffins. Puffin chicks are attracted to house and street lights which can lead them away from the habitat they need to survive. Conservation of this habitat will prevent incompatible development and help protect puffins and other birds from unintentional harm.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to recognize those who helped make this project a reality, including the Hebron Project, Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program, along with individual donors in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"This is NCC's first project in eastern Newfoundland and Labrador," said Doug Ballam, NCC program manager. "This last piece of private land on the southern edge of the Cape Spear Peninsula will help maintain the natural beauty of the coastline. We're looking forward to engaging the public in the stewardship of this important property".

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program," said Environment Canada Minister Peter Kent. "With this investment, we are taking action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations."

"The acquisition of the Maddox Cove property on the Cape Spear Peninsula is consistent with our corporate environmental mandate to Protect Tomorrow. Today," said Geoff Parker, Senior Project Manager for the Hebron Project, and Vice President of ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. "We support the efforts of the Nature Conservancy of Canada in making this significant purchase on the east coast of Newfoundland."

"From its stunning headland to the opportunities it provides for outdoor recreation, Cape Spear is a jewel of coastal Newfoundland," said Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO David Labistour. "We are delighted to provide financial support to the NCC to help conserve this invaluable landscape."

"Today's announcement shows our Government's commitment to conserving and protecting our environment for the benefit of all Canadians," said the Honourable Peter Penashue, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada . "The protection of this land will continue to provide a healthy habitat where millions of nesting and migrating seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl can thrive.''

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (over 1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 12,222 acres (4,946 hectares) in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.

The Hebron Project co-venturers are ExxonMobil Canada Properties (operator), Chevron Canada, Suncor Energy, Statoil Canada and Nalcor Energy.

Contact: Andrew Holland, Communications Director-Atlantic Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada, 1-877-231-4400, 506-260-0469 (mobile),