Image: At the heart of the French Shore

The community of Main Brook is located on the southwest shore of Hare Bay along Route 432.

Main Brook was permanently settled by the English beginning in the 1800s. We know little about the French that frequented the region before them, except that like the English, they were drawn by the cod, salmon, and forests for lumber. The name Hare Bay probably comes from the French Baie des Lièvres.

The town of Main Brook was likely founded in 1920 by the Simms family from St. Anthony. Later that decade, Thomas Coates constructed a sawmill in Main Brook, transforming it into a logging community. In the late 1940s, the Bowater Company saw the potential for the pulpwood industry, and set up a lumber shipping depot. Now logging in earnest, the community and local economy flourished. Residents supplemented their income by fishing for salmon, capelin, cod and herring.

In 1968, as a result of weak markets and changing technology, Bowater’s closed its operations in Main Brook. Today’s economy is based on ecotourism, recreational hunting and fishing, mussel farming and handicrafts.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy sightings of whales, porpoises, seals, black bears, caribou, moose, and a wide variety of sea and shore birds.

The Hare Bay Ecological Reserve beside Main Brook was created in 1964 to protect eider duck nesting areas. Nesting boxes have been placed on several islands to stabilize the duck population. A boat tour can be arranged to view the ducks after nesting season, starting in late July.

Fishing and Hunting
The Salmon River earns its name as one of Newfoundland’s best rivers to fish salmon, arctic char and brook trout. Outfitters and guides are available in the fall to arrange big game hunting including moose, bear, and caribou.

George’s Pond Park
Features trails, swimming, marsh ecosystems, and campsites. The park is located within walking distance of the town of Main Brook.

Outdoor Excursions
Local tour operators offer sea kayaking excursions, canoeing, backcountry wildlife viewing, and boat tours of nearby islands. A local guide can lead you to a fascinating geological site featuring ancient marine organisms preserved in limestone bedrock.

Winter Activities
Main Brook is located along the Grenfell Trail snowmobile rally route and hosts the annual the Grenfell Trail celebrations every March. The event attracts thousands of snowmobilers from across Newfoundland and outside the province. Snowmobilers will find fuel, repairs and rentals, heated shelters, lodging and restaurants along marked trails.

The Bevey Bay Ski Lodge and an extensive system of cross-country ski trails are located within walking distance of Main Brook. Winter enthusiasts will also enjoy snowshoeing and ice-fishing.