Fisheries and Land Resources

Bay du Nord River

The Bay du Nord River system was nominated as Newfoundland and Labrador's second Canadian Heritage River in 1992 for its great recreational potential and magnificent natural features.

As of March, 2005, support had been overwhelming. No objections or issues were brought forward after several meetings with community leaders in Pool's Cove, St. Albans, Conne River, and Clarenville. The final public meeting took place on March 24, 2005, in Clarenville. The designation document was presented to the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board in August, 2005 and the river was officially designated.

The information here outlines the river characteristics and management principles contained in the draft Management Plan. More information about the Bay du Nord River and its status is also available on the Canadian Heritage Rivers web site. opens new window


The Bay du Nord River flows through the pristine landscape of the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve, in south-central Newfoundland. It sweeps paddlers past wide barrens where caribou roam, through white-water "rattles" and quite pools where countless brook trout, landlocked salmon, and Atlantic salmon swim, and finally enters the salt waters of Fortune Bay on Newfoundland's south coast.

The breathtaking scenery and the undisturbed wildlife and flora make this area a naturalist's dream. The Bay du Nord Heritage River Corridor covers about 997 km2, of which about 96 percent (960 km2) falls within the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve and the Middle Ridge Wildlife Reserve. The two reserves guarantee the protection of the river system and will serve to preserve this river and its many features for the enjoyment of future generations.

Natural features and attributes of the Bay du Nord Heritage River that make it an excellent choice as a Canadian Heritage River include:

Smokey Falls
  • its passage through the range of the Middle Ridge caribou herd, the largest caribou herd on the island of Newfoundland
  • the river system runs through the Maritime Barrens ecoregion-Central Barrens subregion PDF (1.9 MB) and the Maritime Barrens ecoregion-Southcoast Barrens subregion PDF (1 MB) the only such representation in the Canadian Heritage River System
  • the Bay du Nord flows across the Hermitage Fault, a geologic feature of international significance that marks the juncture of North America, Europe, and Africa 120 million years ago
  • Mount Sylvester, the highest peak in the area, towers over a vast lake chain in the northern portion of the system
  • the river has a narrow, lower-river canyon that can make the Bay du Nord rambunctious, especially at the thunderous Smokey Falls

The contrast between the quiet lake chain and the fast-flowing lower section of the river make canoeing the Bay du Nord an especially challenging and rewarding experience. Highly acclaimed, the river and its environment offer the opportunity not only for canoeing, but also for kayaking, river rafting, wilderness hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. Access is available through several points of entry by aircraft, boat, snowmobile, or by portaging and canoeing.

Both representative and unique, the Bay du Nord River offers visitors an opportunity to experience a true wilderness adventure in the heart of Newfoundland. The protection offered by the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve and the Middle Ridge Wildlife Reserve enhances the wilderness character of the area. The remaining four percent of the river Corridor will be protected through a co-operative effort among resource agencies. The Bay du Nord's admission to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System completes the process of protecting this river of national significance.

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