Helping others experience nature while inspiring support for conservation

01 Jun 2023

Nestled on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Murphy Cove has long been a place where things come and go. From schooner cargo stopovers to covert rum-running trips, this small coastal community has sustained seven generations of the Murphy family by way of the sea. Today, this legacy continues, and you’ll find Ryan Murphy there, readying his property to welcome guests from around the world to Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean.

One of Nova Scotia’s longest-running campgrounds, Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean builds upon its locale’s salty history and inherent beauty. Over the years, as more and more visitors found their way along the shores of Shoal Bay, the Murphy family began hosting sport fishers and campers until the business evolved into what is now one of Nova Scotia’s top-rated places to pitch and unhitch.

“This area is extraordinary. When we take campers on excursions to the outer islands, they’re just amazed at how natural and rugged everything is,” says Ryan. Offering a selection of boat and kayak excursions, Ryan attributes much of his campground’s popularity to the proximate and pristine archipelago. “We want people to experience this place for themselves and gain a greater appreciation for nature. The hope is they’ll be inspired to do some good, to get involved, and support conservation.”

Ryan himself has been involved in helping to conserve the remarkable collection of 282 Eastern Shore islands since first accompanying a group of researchers there for a Nature Trust survey in 2011. Determined to be one of the last remaining intact and ecologically rich island groups of its size in North America, a crusade to protect them was established by a passionate few but quickly grew and gathered momentum.

In 2014, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust made the movement official by naming the archipelago the “100 Wild Islands” and launching a legacy campaign to protect them. Since then, over 85% of the islands have been saved in partnership with the province, landowners, community members, donors, and volunteers. However, under the care of the Nature Trust, stewarding the islands into the future remains an extensive and costly task which Ryan understands and appreciates. As a Nature Trust Property Guardian for six years, he has helped keep careful watch, monitoring for ecological threats and environmental impacts, and providing marine transport around the area to Nature Trust staff and stakeholders. Moreover, Ryan makes personal donations to the Nature Trust and donates a portion of the campground’s annual sales through the business’ participation in 1% for the Planet.

“The diversity and beauty of the wild here is immeasurable. I’ve been exploring these islands for as long as I can remember, and every time, the experience is different”, says Ryan adding, “I love giving that to others; the feeling that transports them away from everyday life to a place so peaceful and connected.”

Ensuring the island’s forests, bogs, barrens, beaches, wetlands, meadows, and marsh and the species found there remain unharmed is a requirement of the Nature Trust and the outings Ryan offers guests of Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean. He asks those who come and go to leave nothing behind and take away only one thing. “This place isn’t just beautiful; it’s critical.”

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is grateful for all Ryan has provided the organization as both a volunteer and donor. His generosity and care for the 100 Wild Islands are inspirational. For more information on how to become a Nature Trust Property Guardian, please contact

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