2007 Jun 22
Bear Creek Investments has formally announced the development and released architectural designs of the Wabanaki Trails and Interpretive Center. The Trails, a name that refers to the entire development, would be located near Pulpit Rock in Robbinston. The development is currently in its early stages, and interest is beginning to flourish. The first phase of this project would include a 6000-square-foot interpretive center, walking trails and access to the beach. Beach access at low tide would allow people to get to Pulpit Rock, a rock formation that is culturally significant to native people in the area. Bear Creek hopes to begin construction on the Trails in 2008.
"The Trails are designed to encourage a better understanding of the Native American tribes indigenous to the Maine coast and southwestern New Brunswick and will serve as a resource for Native Americans and their neighbors," explained Project Coordinator Sandi Yarmal in a prepared release. "This project will provide the Wabanaki people access to an important site in our history and provide the region with a great resource to learn about our culture."
Indoor exhibits would include native artwork, including an array of murals depicting the history of natural landmarks and the origins of their names. Exhibits would teach about the connection between the Wabanaki and their natural surroundings. Outside, quiet winding trails would be edged with indigenous plants, herbs and flowers. Sweetgrass will grow in the fields, imparting its earthy fragrance. Additional open-air exhibits would allow visitors to experience a personal connection with nature while learning more about the Wabanaki culture. Future plans include the construction of an event center, which would be available to the public for cultural, educational, social and business gatherings.
According to Yarmal, members of the Passamaquoddy tribal government have been consulted on the project, and she expects that they will continue to stay intimately involved as the plans continue to evolve.
"We've introduced the project to members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and have received tremendous feedback. We hope that eventually the Trails will be as much the tribe's project as it is Bear Creek's," said Yarmal.
Bear Creek signed agreements to purchase the land in April 2005. Initially, Bear Creek considered selling or leasing the land to Quoddy Bay LNG for the development of part of an LNG import facility, but those plans were abandoned when Quoddy Bay LNG signed contracts for land in Perry, closer to the site of the company's planned pier. Bear Creek and Quoddy Bay LNG share some similar owners, but each company is separately managed and has its own interests. Bear Creek maintained its interest in the property after Quoddy Bay lost interest for its LNG project and sought other potential uses.
"While Quoddy Bay no longer has interest in the property for a part of an LNG terminal, they have expressed interest in the Trails due to the company's commitment to further development in the region, especially with the Passamaquoddy Tribe," said Yarmal. "I do not speak for Quoddy Bay, but I know they have a good relationship with the Passamaquoddies and any involvement in this project could, in my opinion, continue to enhance that relationship."
The Trails would be located off Route 1 just south of Mill Cove. Further information about the inspiration for the project, drawings and other details can be found on their website at www.wabanakitrails.com or by contacting Sandi Yarmal at <email@example.com>.
© 2007 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.