Local Motion - New Brunswick

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August 26, 2009

The Beauty of East Saint John



In the past couple weeks I've been getting to know East Saint John. This rough looking, sometimes smelly suburb gets snubbed only by those who don't know any better. I'll admit to it. Until recently I didn't know any better and just I dismissed it as a land of malls and ribbon development. But, with help from locals and by exploring on my own I've come to appreciate East Saint John's hidden wild spaces. It really is a spectacular part of our region.

I don't quite know where to start. There's just too much to say and too many questions to ask. So I'll warn you, this post is going to be scattered. But I have to get it out there, the summer is ending and you need to get your butt to East Saint John! You'll have to forgive me if my terminology isn't accurate. I'd love to hear from East Saint Johnners about name of these places.

Ok, first off, a must-see . If you do one thing in East Saint John then make it Silver Falls. Water roars through this narrow gorge like a freight train off its rails. There are many drops and pools in this gorge with some big falls too. There's a couple large pools that lure both cliff-jumpers, swimmers, and anglers. Follow the narrow path along the edge of the gorge to find ripe beds of bright red cranberries and sweet blueberries. In the past two weeks I've picked about 2 liters of those tart cranberries.
One of the larger drops along Silver Falls


Moving waters

Cranberry season

Silver Falls is easy to reach. From the parking lot off Loch Lomond Road it is about a 10 minute walk through grassy meadows. Follow the path leading from the parking lot past the old metal gate. To avoid some wet spots on the trail stay to the left following the higher ground. This path loops around to the gorge. There's lots to explore up and down the gorge. Hopefully the map below gets you started. The parking lot is across from the Church by the Commercial Drive - Loch Lomond Road Intersection.

Silver Falls Map


Another place that I've had the opportunity to explore through my work is what is known locally as the "Rez". It's not too far from Silver Falls. Just continue along Loch Lomond Road for another 2 km or so. This large lake was once the city water reservoir but has since then become both a wonderful piece of wilderness and an unofficial dump. The lake is surrounded by productive red spruce forest, wetland, and couple brooks. There is a sandy beach with a life guard near the road, while a network of off road trails will take you around the lake and into the forest.

I was excited to learn today that the hidden beauty of the Rez inspired has grass roots group called the Little River Reservoir Assocation. For the past 5 years they have been working to clean up the Rez and make it into a recreational parkland. They have already removed 15 tonnes!!! of garbage and are working to create a trails plans for the site. Good stuff!

Have a look at their website for more information about the Rez and the group.

Plus they were featured in today's Telegraph Journal. Just click the link below for the full article.
"Community support sought for reservoir project"




The Cold Brook marsh along Golden Grove Road


Above Glen Falls

Last night I bicycled out to take photos of a wetland along the Golden Grove Road for work. I was impressed to find an beautiful marsh complete with ducks. As I was taking photos I started to notice cliffs in the background. Large cliffs. I couldn't place them at the time but later at home I located them on a map. A another area, wild and rugged, that will have to be explored. Upstream from the marsh I had heard about a waterfall named Glen Falls. I could see the start of the ravine from the road. It was an unfortunate first impression; tires, shopping carts. But there's deeper beauty to this place that shines through the trash. I dropped my bike in a grassy meadow and discovered two lovely apple trees. This got me excited as I've been thinking more and more about urban fruit harvesting ( Abundance Sheffield in Britain). I'd like to find out who owns these trees because in a couple more weeks there will be quite a harvest.

Two varieties of apples!

Scrambling down the ravine alongside the river, there was plenty of trash, but the usual noise of the city was drowned by the gushing water. At the bottom of the falls was a green cathedral of hardwood trees. The road is only a hundred feet away but I am enclosed in a bubble of nature.

Glen Falls

The green cathedral


Saint John is one wild and beautiful city.
So much to explore!

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

AMAZING! What great photos! You should do small guided wilderness tours of Saint John, it would be awesome.

Ken Corbett said...

I visited your blog and enjoyed the exploits and photos. I couldn't help noticing your picture of the tires in Glen Falls. what an exploit that would be if you and your buddies, or anyone, removed those tires and sent them for recycling.

Just an subtle encouragement....


Ken

graham said...

Ken, thanks for the encouragement...you've nudged me in the right direction. Your tire free rivers campaign is inspiring. I'll see what I can do this fall!