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BADGER, NL: BWA NOT A CONCERN FOR ONE OF CANADA’S HIDDEN GEMS
The Town of Badger, surrounded by three rivers teaming with Atlantic salmon, nestled in the heart of Central Newfoundland, is the gateway to Newfoundland’s deep interior. With its roots in the primary recourse industry of logging, and famous for its large spring log drives, it supplied pulp and paper for the mills 20 miles away in Grand Falls for many years. Badger’s rich heritage includes the aboriginal history of the Shawadidinth and the Mi’kmaq. The Ted Patey Memorial Park provides a scenic hike that writes their story along the scenic riverside trails while offering a berry picking experience and views of the Atlantic Salmon jump.
Badger’s population of 793, with its varied history, nearly 900 km of the most accessible and connected hiking/biking/skiing trails, fishing, white-water rafting, snowmobiling has all the amenities of a thriving town while still enjoying the beauty of nature and wildlife.
When WaterToday followed-up on a Boil Water Advisory issued by the Newfoundland Department of Water Resources Management we learned that the water system is undergoing maintenance. Pansy Hurley of the Town Office told WT, “It is a precautionary measure that the province issues whenever there is work being done on the system. We will be having another test done at the end of the week to determine the water quality.” The system has been worked on for three weeks. “Initially we were just having work done to the sewer system but because we were close to the main water line the advisory was put in place.” Hurley assured WT it was not an inconvenience for the town.
The town has too much going for it to be weighed down by something as trivial as water system maintenance. Perhaps the strong sense of community spirit has been encoded into the town’s DNA not only by the natural beauty of the surrounding area but also by the colorful history.
As logging was the mainstay of the area, Badger received national attention during the 1959 Newfoundland International Woodworkers of America Strike.
Nationally renowned, award winning author, Judy (Day) Rickets was 14 at the time of the Strike. A native of Badger she along with other school children watched from the roadside as loggers and local authorities came together in a famous melee that effectively ended the strike with the death of a policeman and several injured strikers. She believes that the children of the day never recovered from witnessing this terrible event. The Badger Redemption, The Badger Riot and The Badger Confession have all been best-sellers.
Certainly those memories have made the town stronger. There is a sense of pride in the town’s initiative as evidenced in the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, a youth recognition program initiated by the Town Council to celebrate and recognize youth in the community who have made extraordinary contributions in various areas such as sports & recreation, the arts , music and community involvement. More importantly, Badger is generating an awareness of the value that youth contribute to the community. Congrats are in order for this year’s nominees. Kaylle and Cole Hurley were among the 320 young hockey players throughout Atlantic Canada who recently played in the Atlantic Challenge Cup in Moncton, NB representing Team Newfoundland. Grade 9 student, Haley McDonald, whose teachers describe her as a natural leader, is president of school council. Haley is also involved in sports, mentoring, and church activities.
It’s that kind of attention to youth that is inviting to parents who are looking for a great place to raise a family. Erica Nault and her husband moved to Badger nine years ago from Ontario. “We are very much involved in eco-tourism,” Mrs. Nault told WT. “A friend of ours, involved in white water rafting, made a trip out here and told my husband ‘you have to check it out.’ We did, and the rest is history!”
Nault who is managing The Rivershack Lodge, a family vacation rental with salmon fishing, hiking, biking and magnificent views right on the back doorstep, said, “It’s a great place for kids to grow up, the community is so friendly – everybody knows everybody, schools are great. We would never think of moving back to Ontario.”
The Rivershack (which is anything but a shack) has adopted the Newfoundland/Labrador principle that life revolves around the kitchen. The pantry is fully stocked. There’s a backyard barbecue and access to water adventures on every level. “Our international guests usually stay for two weeks at a time.” It’s a favorite spot for other Maritimers and Quebecers.
The winter climate is ideal for snowmobiling and skiing. “We are half-way between St. John’s and Port aux Basques on the Trans-Canada Trail. People tend to start out at one end or the other. So we are a prime location. Also, because of our location, further away from the coast, we have great snow conditions into April.” With temperatures around -10°C., it’s a perfect Canadian winter.
Summers are great too. Rivershack also is a great base to take in the myriad Festivals of the area. “The Red Maple Festival is coming up at the end of October in Grand Falls,” Nault adds with a warm enthusiasm that is infectious.
Badger, Newfoundland. Definitely a jewel to Canada. WaterToday is glad we visited.
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