Well-known conservationist Rudy Haase keeps on contributing to the public's access to wild spaces even after his death. This summer people will have a new way to access to the waters of Mahone Bay through two spectacular lots that Haase donated before he died last year.
Syd Dumaresq, a director of Mahone Island Conservation Association (MICA), and long-time friend of Haase, said lots on Moland Point off Buccaneer Road., not far from Highway 3 were part of a bundle of five that Haase, owned and protected, and were given to MICA.
The well-known conservationist died last year at the age of 95.
"Rudy decided that he would donate two ... lots, all valuable direct waterfront lots, and he wanted them preserved so they would be wild forever, but also that people could use the lots and access the water," Dumaresq said in an interview, noting that there are not a lot of ways for people to gain access to the ocean around Mahone Bay.
"Here are two beautiful lots with fairly gentle access. You can take your canoe down or kayak and launch it or just go down and enjoy it."
Because MICA does not generally hold property, it approached the Municipality of the District of Chester (MODC) with Haase's blessing to take possession, provided that the lots stay wild, that a path to the water be maintained and it be kept open to public access.
MODC Warden Allen Webber said they had no problem agreeing with those conditions.
"They are beautiful pieces of property. Why would the municipality not want to be involved in helping to preserve them for public access and public enjoyment," Webber said. "Rudy really recognized the connection people have with the natural environment and that was important to him to provide that opportunity for other people."
MICA will maintain a stewardship role to make sure they stay as Haase wanted them, wild and accessible by foot.
"It's almost four acres, with a couple hundred feet of waterfrontage," Dumaresq said of the lots. "It overlooks Graves Island... and has a pebble beach... it's a choice property."
MICA has managed to help preserve more than $20 million worth of islands and waterfront property by facilitating its ownership – primarily with the Province of Nova Scotia, but MODC and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg have also partnered with MICA in the past. MODC has preserved four islands so far.
"Rudy Haase was the most amazing environmentalist maybe that Nova Scotia has ever seen. He protected 100s of acres all up and down the coast of Nova Scotia," said Dumaresq of his friend's legacy. To that end a plaque recognizing his and his late wife Mickie's generosity will be an addition to the properties that Haase donated.