Main River Run

Distance - 74km

Canadian Heritage River

The final portion of your Western Region tour takes you into a transition zone between the mountainous west coast and coastal areas of the Baie Verte Peninsula and the Central Region. Follow Route 430 to its intersection with Route 1 and travel east to the head of Sandy Lake where a mere century ago a great caribou herd, 10,000 strong, travelled inland on its yearly migration from the Northern Peninsula to the Central Inland Plateau. This herd, now smaller, still crosses the barrens yearly.

White pine from Sandy Lake was harvested by British navy shipbuilders for vessel construction during the early 19th century. During the latter part of that century, a disease called White Pine Blister Rust wiped out most of the stands of that species in this province. A few of these beautiful coniferous trees still grow near Sandy Lake. Two moose captured in Nova Scotia were released in this area, near Howley, in 1878. In the Gander Bay area of Eastern Newfoundland, four moose of seven captured in New Brunswick were introduced in 1904. From these small beginnings has grown a moose population that now numbers more than 150,000 and covers the entire Island of Newfoundland.

Ten kilometres past Sandy Lake, Route 420 branches off to White Bay. The entire route is heavily forested and has plenty of fast running rivers. You can relax or camp overnight at Sop's Arm Park, a small picturesque campground and picnic area on the delta adjacent to the mouth of a scheduled salmon river. The park is near the Main River, designated a Canadian Heritage River, a short, fast-moving river that will test the skills of the most experienced canoeist, kayaker or white water rafter. Best of all, you can travel the entire 57-kilometres length of the river in three or four days. This is a wild, turbulent river with significant and abrupt changes of gradient, channel width and direction. Be prepared to portage some sections. Access to the headwaters is by air. This area also presents outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities, including moose, caribou, fox, lynx and 90 species of birds.

Route 421 branches off Route 420 to the logging and fishing community of Hampden which was settled in the late 1860s. Here and at Beaches, Rooms and Bayside you will find more than your share of the hospitality, warmth and down-to-earth good humor that Newfoundlanders are famous for. Then it's back down Route 420 to Route 1 and the fabulous diversity of the Central Region

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