Growing Oak Island Tourism Society hopes to attract locals
By ANGIE ZINCK
Lunenburg Progress Enterprise, February 20. 2007
Oak Island may be attracting the world’s attention but perhaps for those of us with a possible treasure in our own backyard, the mystery has become commonplace. The Oak Island Tourism Society held its annual general meeting at the Oak Island Resort on February 8. Society executive member Danny Hennigar says among the items on their agenda was discussing the 124 per cent increase in membership.
“We ended our year with 121 members worldwide,” he said, adding that their membership reaches across the world. Global interest continues to gain strength over local registration. As they head into another year, the society would “like to see more involvement from local people,” said Mr. Hennigar.
Although Oak Island currently remains closed to the public, the society isn’t giving up their mission of opening an interpretive centre on the island. Mr. Hennigar said the landowners are receptive to the idea and a recent meeting with Chester-St. Margarets MLA Judy Streatch and provincial Tourism Minister Len Goucher was “encouraging.
” Mr. Hennigar said a possible interpretive centre is one of the reasons the society hopes to strengthen the local support. Should the centre become a reality, the surrounding communities would greatly benefit from the economic and tourism spinoffs. Although the island has been closed to tours for over a decade, the society knows people want to have access. Their summer event, Explore Oak Island Days, continues to attract hundreds of people.
The society, which has a close relationship with landowner and long-time treasure hunter Dan Blankenship, is able to offer tours as part of this event. Last year, more than 400 people took part in the tours. “That just goes to show the interest in walking the land,” he said, adding that almost 900 people attended some function of Explore Oak Island Days 2006. In addition to reviewing last summer’s success, the society also looked forward to new ones. The agenda for Explore Oak Island Days 2007 was revealed and includes more than ever. Set for August 10 to 12, the event kicks off with a new element. Well-known psychic and clairvoyant Eugenia Macer Story will be touring the island.
“On Friday night, she’ll be calling up the spirits of Oak Island,” said Mr. Hennigar. In addition to the tours, there will also be a number of guest speakers, a dinner and a dance and many historical displays. As members of the Oak Island Tourism Society continue their mission, Mr. Hennigar said he enjoys the many different theories that are coming to the surface. What, and if anything, actually lies beneath the soil of Oak Island remains a mystery. Cited as the longest treasure hunt in recorded history, inquiring minds will have to wait until at least 2008 before any more treasure hunting begins.
Although Mr. Blankenship secured new treasure-hunting partners, they are awaiting the appropriate licencing. Mr. Hennigar explains that a treasuretrove licence remains in Daniel Tobias’ name. Mr. Tobias sold his portion of the island and the treasure-hunting company he shared with Mr. Blankenship to the new partners, known simply as The Michigan Group, in 2006. Mr. Hennigar explained the new treasure group is waiting for Mr. Tobias’ treasure-trove licence to expire in 2008 to apply for the new one.