Robert S. Young

In June 1996 the stars above aligned and I purchased Lot Five of Oak Island from Frederick G. Nolan. I still recall my first steps on the property as its proud owner feeling destined to have arrived and that together with my new friend and cohort Fred we were slated for the adventures of a lifetime.  

Over the years Oak Island has proved to be a benevolent constant in my life, perhaps in appreciation of the meticulous work I've done or for my altruistic role as one of her stewards, she has unfailingly made me feel welcome with nary a curse in sight nor that would ever come to mind.

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Lot Five has a diverse mix of hardwoods and softwoods with a wonderful smattering of old growth oak, pine, and maple trees that nicely compliment my personal interests in the ecological sciences. I heartily espouse the practice of silviculture and today Lot Five stands as a testament to the benefits of responsible forest management.

Having never been plowed, dug or built upon Lot Five remains as close to an undisturbed and unmolested site as can be found on the island. I've always considered this state of originality to be a treasure in and of itself, well worth taking the extra effort required for measured "do no harm" strategies when working the land, alas a lesson well lost on most who have involved themselves with the island over the years.

Oak Island is connected to the mainland via a single lane, non-vented 600' causeway which was constructed during Robert Dunfield's tenure in the 1960's to get his 70 ton drag line crane on and off the island. Although unambiguously stipulated to be a temporary structure and with flagrant defiance of common sense it remains in place and continues to perpetuate several degrees of consternation amongst its neighbors in Western Shore including it should be mentioned the indigenous salmon of nearby Gold River.


Long before I purchased my lot from Fred he was being denied vehicular access to his properties by his fellow land owners. The short story tells as thus: the causeway is controlled by the Nova Scotia Government and there is a court ordered easement which allowed him the use of the island's Centre Road but the private road which connects the two was deemed off bounds - an easement would have been granted if his lots were technically land locked but since they had water frontage said easement was denied. That succinctly answers the question of "how" they can restrict access but to answer the question "why'' you must ultimately press upon them to enunciate their rationale.

These are the conditions under which I purchased Lot Five and despite concerted efforts in the past to remedy the situation, are those by which I must still abide. For the record, in my near 23 years of land ownership at Oak Island I have never once been allowed to drive to my property because of this quirk in the law which the other land owners have chosen to exploit - consequentially, by my calculation since 1996 I have taken over 4,500 round trips by boat to the island, all in my beloved 16.5' LUND runabout "Relic" (named in deference to a character on the TV show "The Beachcombers").

On a positive note, I am the last member standing of a motley group of Oak Island land owners and adventurers who in a very literal sense have had to deal with Oak Island as an island and never, ever as a peninsula - a rarified fraternity and heady company indeed.

Robert S. Young  -  January 1, 2019