Making a dollar in rural Newfoundland
It is always encouraging to see a geographic area, that has been hard hit by the downturn in the fishery, find another way to help it through some tough economic times.
Like most parts of rural Newfoundland dependent on the fishery, Upper Trinity South has seen its share of outmigration over the past two decades. Time was when virtually all communities in the province had at least one Mom-and-Pop “groc and conf ” — some had several. Those grocery and confectionary stores were more than mere business establishments — they were also meeting places for townsfolk to catch up on the latest news of the day.
But that was before the collapse of the northern cod fishery. In 1992 the federal government declared a moratorium on a fishery that had helped sustain an economy and a culture for 500 years.
It’s been close to two decades since that way of way of life came to a grinding halt. Small businesses closed. People lost their jobs. Disposable income dried up. Those who decided to remain home had to eke out a living from hand to mouth. Others, including an inordinate number of young people, were forced to uproot and move west, to places like Alberta or elsewhere. Some of them will return home someday, while others may never see the old Rock again.
Many communities have made conscientious and innovative efforts to stave off the misery caused by tough economic times. Some succeeded, while others continue to struggle with out-migration.
Upper Trinity South is one area of rural Newfoundland which appears to to be thriving despite the downturn in such a mainstay of our economy. Now that the fishery is no longer the economic backbone of the region, tourism appears to have come along just in time to fill in the gap and become a major contributor to the local economy.
This economic upturn is largely driven by a cluster of RV (recreational vehicle) parks and campsites within a 15-kilometre stretch extending from Green’s Harbour to Cavenish.
There’s an influx of people, many from urban areas, on a personal quest to get back to nature in a setting known for its natural scenery.
Sites such as Golden Arm Trailer Park, Backside Pond RV Park, Stillwater campsites, Shag View RV Park and Bishop Field’s RV campground cater to this cliental. People populate the parks, cottages and dwellings on a seasonal basis.
At the peak of summer, the population in this area swells by some 2,000.
Visitors bring money to be spent at gas stations, drugstores, restaurants, hardware stores, takeouts, the golf course or elsewhere, providing an economic stimulus to the respective communities.
It’s an economic recipe that has been working well for Upper Trinity South. However, it is not a fail-proof economic remedy for all areas. Setting up parks, cottages, campsites and such requires personal initiative. It may even call for economic innovation and diversity. Not everybody is in a financial position to make such an investment. But for those who do, as we observe in Upper Trinity South today, their hard work tenacity appear to be paying off in spades. Those who take risks and work hard deserve no less than to see the fruits of their labour. Long may you prosper.