St. John’s, NL, December 1, 2020 – The Newfoundland Pony Society will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2021 and is marking the milestone with plans to establish a Newfoundland Pony Heritage Park. Today it launched a $250,000 fundraising campaign to finance the project. The Newfoundland Pony Heritage Park will provide grazing land, and a place for the public, school groups and tourists to learn about the Province’s only official heritage animal. Currently there is no official public place for people to see Newfoundland Ponies in the Province.
The Park is the largest initiative the Newfoundland Pony Society (NPS) has undertaken in its history as a charitable organization to promote and protect the Newfoundland Pony breed. The seasonal park will be located near Hopeall, Trinity Bay on 25 acres of land acquired from the Provincial Government on an agricultural lease. The NPS is asking for support from the public so that operations can start in 2021with ponies on the land as early as next summer. Phase 1 of the project is focused on rehabilitating the partially cleared land, putting up fencing, fixing the existing well and creating an entrance area for the public.
In the 1970s, there were over 12,000 Newfoundland Ponies in Newfoundland. They were an essential part of rural life and contributed to the survival of Newfoundlanders. By the late 1980s, there were less than 200 ponies left. Thanks to the efforts of many concerned individuals over the last 25 years, the population has grown to 500-600 animals in Canada and the U.S., but there is much still to be done to protect the future of the breed here in its birthplace.
“This is a chance for people to help the Newfoundland Pony in its home province. On the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Newfoundland Pony Society, we felt it necessary to do something significant to make Newfoundland Ponies more visible to the public, as well as to provide additional pastureland,” said Jack Harris, President of NPS. “This will be a place where people will be able to see and experience our wonderful Newfoundland Ponies and gain an appreciation of their important place in Newfoundland’s heritage and culture,” he added.
The Newfoundland Pony Heritage Park will be located less than an hour’s drive from Marine Atlantic’s Ferry Terminal and on tour bus routes, creating a unique tourism draw. It is also close to many communities with children and school groups who will be able to see the Ponies in their natural habitat, where they evolved. Phase 2 of the fundraising campaign will include building a small visitor centre with artifacts and exhibits about the Pony.
For more information about the Park, to donate materials or labour, or to get involved, please contact the NPS at www.newfoundlandpony.com. Donations are tax deductible and can be made via CanadaHelps.