The lead agency for the management of the Morell River, Midgell River, Bristol Creek, Marie River, Schooner Creek, and St Peters River is the Morell River Management Cooperative Limited. This organization has its roots in the Morell and Area Land Use Steering Committee, a group which successfully created a protected greenbelt along 44 km of the Morell River. For over 40 years, the local volunteer group has worked with landowners, other non-government groups, and federal and provincial government agencies in attempt to achieve the following goals:
- Maintain the Morell, Midgell, Marie, and St Peters River, as well as Schooner and Bristol Creek as close to a “wilderness” watercourse as possible;
- Conserve, restore, develop, and enhance in-stream and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife;
- Promote good land stewardship within watershed boundaries;
- Conserve, restore, develop, and enhance populations of fish and wildlife;
- Provide opportunities for compatible uses of the river, such as angling, bird watching, canoeing, hunting, and trapping.
The Morell River Management Coop maintains the Morell River, Marie River, Midgell River, Bristol Creek, Schooner Creek, and St Peters River, all of which drains into St Peter’s Bay in King’s County, approximately 50 km from Charlottetown. The Morell is the largest of the six watercourses and drains about 167 km2. The river splits into many tributaries, yielding a total stream length of approximately 140 km. The last 8 km of the Morell, before reaching St Peter’s Bay, is a long, narrow (100-200 m) estuary where tidal fluctuations are often erratic, depending upon prevailing winds. St Peter’s Bay is approximately 19 km long, with a total surface area of 20 km2. A narrow channel bordered by extensive sand bars connects the bay to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The maximum tidal range is approximately 1.2m(4ft).
In 1974, the Morell and Area Land Use Steering Committee, concerned about habitat degradation, declining populations of trout and salmon, and proposed development along the river, succeeded in establishing the Island’s only protected conservation zone. Individual landowners were approached and permission granted to create a 60 m wide zone on both sides of the Morell River from the Village of Morell, upstream to the Hazelgreen Road on the east branch, and the head of Leard’s Pond on the west branch. In 1992, a landowner was found guilty of violating the Conservation Zone and charged $400 of a maximum $500 fine for a first offense. The judge suggested that considering the offense, the maximum fine should be increased. In British Columbia, a landowner was fined $130,000 for cutting trees in an area designated as parkland.
Mooney’s Pond Interpretative Centre
Mooney’s Pond has evolved over the years from a semi-natural Atlantic salmon rearing facility, into a habitat restoration watershed group for Morell and surrounding areas. Throughout the years approximately 60,000 to 70,000 Salmon have been raised and released at Mooney’s Pond and has become a popular fishing spot for the amateur or professional angler.
Peggy’s Trail that loops around Mooney’s Pond is well-maintained and includes a floating dock. With bridges and observation decks being the highlight, half of the trail is wheelchair including the fishing platforms. The nature trail originates off the Confederation Trail and leads to the wheelchair accessible activity areas which span over 600 meters.
There is an interpretive centre with information on Atlantic Salmon, birds, regulations and also has a peaceful picnic area. It is also an excellent location for bird watching and photography.
The section of the trail at Anderson’s Pool near Peggy’s Trail is wheelchair accessible if entered from that end. There is a separate small parking lot at this entrance of the trail.