The Three Rivers
The Three Rivers is made up of three rivers on the eastern shore of Prince Edward Island (PEI): the Cardigan, Brudenell, and Montague/Valleyfield Rivers. Together, they are 73 km long.
The Cardigan is the northernmost of the Three Rivers and drains an area of 105 km2, while the Brudenell drains 55 km2. The largest of the three, Montague/Valleyfield, drains 197 km2 including the Caledonia Hills, one of only two hill-lands in the province.The Three Rivers was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in May 2004 for its significant cultural heritage values.
The Three Rivers flow southeasterly into Cardigan Bay between Lanching Point and Panmure Island on the eastern shore of Kings County, PEI. The watershed includes all lands drained by the Three Rivers, as well as the river corridors from headwater to estuary, as well as Boughton Island in Cardigan Bay.
The Cardigan River freshwater courses include a small corridor from a major road crossing north of Pooles Corner, west to its headwaters. Two smaller tributaries – the 7km Mitchell and 10km Seal Rivers – flow into the tidal portion of the Cardigan River.
The Brudenell River drains from its headwaters north of the community of New Perth to its estuary at Georgetown. This river flows past several historically significant sites before reaching the important shipbuilding site of Georgetown Harbour.
The headwaters of the Valleyfield (at Caledonia and Lewes) represent the most southerly extent of the Three Rivers system. These rivers drain most of the Caledonia Hills of southern Kings and Queens Counties, one of only two significant hill-lands on PEI.
On each of the Three Rivers, the shore is a mixture of woodland with few banks or cliffs. A combination of farmland, sand pits, beaches, and shaled outcroppings rounds out the landscapes found along the shores. Red sandstone are found on Boughton Island, Red Point, Ferry Point, Brudenell Point, and Panmure Island.
Salt marches on this system are small and sporadic with the largest found at DeGros Marsh and Campbell Point. Sandy beaches in the estuary are frequent and vary from nearly white to red, depending on the amount of iron oxide on the sand grains.
The forested areas are predominantly of mixed woods, although there are good upland hardwood stands as well as areas of almost pure softwood. White and red pine are no longer common species in the province but are commonly found along this corridor.
Although the Three Rivers was not designated for its natural heritage values, some important environmental features to note are:
Some of the most significant values for which the Three Rivers was designated include:
The outstanding cultural values combine with ample opportunity for recreation and appreciation of the watershed’s natural features to provide a quality visitor experience.
The Three Rivers offers outstanding opportunities for interpretive and recreational activities including:
The Three Rivers has many sandy beaches, several multi-purpose trails, three Scenic Heritage Roads, a large provincial park and several community parks.