While the beach in Port Mouton has been proposed by the province as a protected nature reserve, with a maximum carrying capacity of 93 people at any one time, recent visits to Carters Beach on hot, sunny afternoons can exceed 350 people. The sand dunes, estuary area and varied ecosystem features are deemed to be at risk from the numbers of beach users.
Although the Region of Queens Municipality has installed two portable washrooms and no-parking signs, and the Department of Natural Resources regularly services the one on-site garbage container, the Carters Beach cleanup effort represents a tool to assess the collective impact of tourism visits to the beach area over the summer of 2017.
The Carters Beach cleanup initiative is one of the longest running volunteer beach cleanups in Nova Scotia under the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program.
“We embrace the understanding that we all can make a difference by not littering, by packing out what we pack in to the beach, and by picking up litter when we see it in our sensitive beach environments,” said Robert Ross, site coordinator.
Ross is encouraging others to help out with the cleanup. Anyone who’s visited Carters Beach this summer is encouraged to give back by helping with the annual cleanup.
“It is fun, and you will experience a sense of being a responsible steward of the environment,” added Ross.
The beach cleanup is part of a global effort known as the International Coastal Cleanup. In Canada, the cleanup program is a conservation initiative spearheaded by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Fund.
Momentum for the cleanup program in Canada over the past decade has reached every province and territory, with the focus of volunteers annually cleaning up and rehabilitating lakes, rivers, streams, and ocean shorelines.
In Nova Scotia, tourism plays a significant part of the economy. Latest data from 2013 identifies provincial tourism revenues at $2.3 billion. Non-resident, overnight stays to Nova Scotia during the first six months of 2017, at more than 850,000 visitors, were up 11 per cent over the previous year.
On the south shore, licensed accommodation activity show an approximate eight per cent increase over 2016. Within Queens County, oceanside beaches and waters play a big part of this visitor draw.
Retaining the pristine, natural environment, however, with the lack of supportive infrastructure and environmental-education program improvements, is becoming more and more of a challenge for locations such as Carters Beach.
Volunteers should meet at the parking lot area at the end of Carters Beach Road in Port Mouton at 9 a.m. The cleanup will take approximately two hours. Participants should bring work gloves, suitable footwear, drinking water, and sun protection.
Questions about the cleanup should be directed to Robert Ross at 902-947-2113.