Nfld. & Labrador

Camping off Topsail Road? Naturally, says Waterford River Valley Campground owner

They were going to sell it to developers, but the Walker family decided to conserve the 16-acre piece of land instead, as a way to give back to the community.

Developer says campers will get to enjoy nature, right off Topsail Road

Dan Walker is one of the developers for the Waterford River Valley Campground. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Campers who live in the greater St. John's area will soon have new campground to enjoy, and they won't have to cross the overpass to get there. 

The Waterford River Valley Campground is set to open after the Labour Day weekend, and it's just off Topsail Road. 

"In the distance you can hear some really loud vehicles, but for the most part they're drowned out by songbirds and squirrels," said Dan Walker, one of the campground's developers.

He says campers will be able to enjoy nature, even though the site is situated near one of the most industrialized areas in the metro region.

The 16-acre property is located in the heavily forested area behind Fun 'n' Fast and Honda One, in Mount Pearl.

Walker said since Topsail Road is mainly built on filled ground, most of the buildings are at a higher elevation. He said the campground will be behind the developed buildings, below the sights and sounds of Topsail Road. 

The Waterford River Valley Campground is set to open after the Labour Day weekend. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"It's adjacent to the T'Railway," he said. "You'll be able to cross the Waterford River from the campground, cycle on the T'Railway and walk another 128 acres of the Power's Pond green space."

Land was nearly sold

The land has been in Walker's family since 1969.

During the oil boom, he nearly sold it to be developed into a 12-story building and parking lot.

It's going to be an ongoing labour of love."​​​​​​- Dan Walker

But when the price of oil dropped, that deal fell through, he said.

"For a little while, I was a bit disappointed," he said. "In 2017, I was wandering through Pippy Park campground with two beagles, and I realized that we had a piece of property that was as beautiful and as pristine as Pippy Park, and that's where the idea came from." 

Eco-friendly space

Walker said the Mount Pearl campground was created with the environment in mind. 

"We've actually designed this campground to improve flood zone management and preserve [the] conservation area," he said. 

The campground will back onto the scenic Waterford River. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Walker expects there to be between 100 and 120 campsites open for use by the end of this year.

By the time it's fully developed, there will be up to 180 available campsites. 

"They'll all be [assembled] in a way to protect the environment to the best extent possible," Walker said.  "It's going to be an ongoing labour of love."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show