Andrews Island

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Andrews Island

Acquisition Project – Andrews Island

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Acquisition History

This was the first MICA partnered acquisition with the Province. The island was for sale at the time by the Andrews family. The Board made a proposal to the Province through the Department of Natural Resources whereby MICA offered $100,000 towards the acquisition of the island with the Province providing the remainder. The Province would hold title of the island and MICA interests (conservation and traditional public use) would be protected by a legal Stewardship Agreement between MICA and the Province.  When the proposal was made to the Province, MICA did not know where the $100,000 was going to come from however the call-in from our first financial pledge campaign resulted in MICA meeting its commitment for the acquisition.  In the end MICA’s financial contribution was $102,500 plus legal costs. This very successful process with the Province formed the basis for future MICA partnered acquisitions.


Island Description

The island has a typical drumlin profile, is about 20 acres and located off Andrew Point on the entrance of Mahone Bay harbour. It has a nice beach and picnic site on the north side with good anchorage either side of the bar with protection from southerlies or westerlies. The bar runs out to the east and caution must be used when nearby, as it is underwater for much of the tide. There is also a nice beach and picnic site on the west side with deep water for anchoring.

Erosion continues along the east facing shore however the sands along the beaches seem to be building.

Being so near to the mainline, the island is very easy to get to by small boat or kayak and has been a picnicking and swimming favorite for locals for many years.

Natural Features

Andrews is a ‘Drumiln Islands’ of inner Mahone Bay deposited during the last glacial period 15.000 to 10,000 years ago. The soils and wide variety of rocks found on these islands resulted from that glacial activity. The flora and fauna are typical for the area apart from the American Beech (Fagus granifolia) trees that are free from Canker found on the mainland.

Over the last 1000 years sea levels have risen approximately three metres and eroded the Andrews South side and deposited sand the North and West sides.

According to the 1929 NS Dept. of Mines map the underlying bedrock is from the Lower Carboniferous Period* and might be Limestone, Sandstone or Gypsum *(about 354 to 290 million years ago). On Andrews it is most likely Gypsum.

Human Activity

Thousands of years before the Europeans arrived in Mahone Bay, the Mi’kmaq settled here.

At least three First Nations sites have been identified within a 1.5 K range of the island.

Its proximity to the mainland allowed easy access to food and other resources, and the beaches could have provided a resting place during coastal journeys.
The French arrived in 1632, and they built a fort on the LaHave River. Bernard de Bugerat dit Saint Marten obtained rights to harvest timber along the local
shoreline and names like Martins Brook and Martins River are attributed to him.

A lime kiln on the North side of Andrews Pt. is thought to be of Acadian origin. When Nova Scotia became a British colony in the 18th century, there was increased settlement and the shoreline and islands were granted to them. In the original grant Andrews was Wamblewreath. Other names have been Ernst and Billy’s (after Billy Andrews). There is no evidence of permanent habitation, but in 1910, the Rev. Mr. Ned Harris of St. James Church, Mahone Bay, built a cottage on the island and called it ‘Wamblewreath’. It was demolished in 1935.

In an interview with Lloyd Langille in 2010 he mentioned going to Andrew’s Island to remove blow downs after a storm in the 40s. These were towed to Indian Mahone Bay and sawn into in lumber for an Indian Point house. When Billy Andrews farmed on the Point, he kept sheep on the Island.