Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

December 3, 2010

Rural Cycling Toolkit: Lessons Learned from Corn Hill

Cyclists on the first ride of the Festival
It's that time of year; the ground is muddy, the roads are icy and yet you've got to start thinking about planning your bicycle event for next summer.

So you want to promote cycling in our rural community. You’ve got a long list of reasons why you think its important but chances are you’ve got an even longer list of questions…What about liability? What about Registration? Websites? Where do you start?? Aghhhh!!

Hopefully this will make it a bit easier for you.

Organizing the Corn Hill Bicycle Festival and creating the Cycling Map, was a huge learning experience for both Joanna and I. We’ve written everything down (well, not everything) in the Rural Cycling Toolkit: Lessons Learned from the First Corn Hill Bycycle Festival and Route Guide.

The toolkit describes how we managed the project, advertised, organized volunteers, scheduled the festival, created the route guide,  handled liability, and much more! You’ll find useful tips, planning techniques, and even press releases. We’re trying to lay it all out there for others who want to promote cycling through community events.

It is our hope that by sharing this information cycling festivals and  maps will spring up across the land. And that we’ll have more people riding their bike for fun, exercise, and transportation.

Make sure to check out the Bicycle Corn Hill website - where you can find the Rural cycling toolkit, cycling maps for the area, details on last summer's festival and directions to Corn Hill.
Riders on the afternoon tour of the Eastern Meadow
Cruising down the Burlock Road on a summer's evening
  graham waugh cycling cornhill bicycle festival new brunswick cycling joanna brown corn hill sussex biking cornhill nursery

November 10, 2010

Isn't the Bluff Great??

Can you spot the two people?
The Bluff has got to be one of the best hikes around Sussex and Southern New Brunswick. 

A couple weeks ago, when the leaves were still on the trees, I went for a quick hike on the Bluff. For those who don't live around Sussex, the Bluff is a super popular and beautiful hiking trail that follows the ridge of a big rock bluff on the edge of Sussex Corner. You're looking out farms like they are diaramas and in the distance you can clearly make out Poley Mountain.

Just ask anyone in Sussex or Sussex Corner how to get to the Bluff. Everyone seems to know about it!

Looking into the Fundy Highlands. Near the center of the photo you can make out the trails of Poley Mountain. Waterford is nestled into the valley to the left of Poley Mountain.

This gives a good perspective of the bluff - see the two people sitting on the rock?

October 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Hike #3: Caledonia Gorge

This is the third of three Thanksgiving Hikes I'll be writing about: 

Crooked Creek in the Caledonia Gorge Protected Area
On Thanksgiving Monday my friend Joanna and I hiked in the Caledonia Gorge Wilderness Protected Area, near Riverside-Albert just a short drive from Moncton. It was my first time at the gorge and when we arrived at the look-off my draw dropped. The view up the gorge reminded me of the Gaspe, highlands plunge into a deep valley. At the bottom of the valley Crooked Creek (what a great name!) meanders, cutting a stripe through the forest. This is the third wilderness protected area that I visited this weekend and it felt the most wild. Rockwood, Walton Glen Canyon, and the Caledonia Gorge are all quite different even though all are along the Bay of Fundy. Rockwood has lakes, Walton Glen has the crazy canyon, but the Caledonia Gorge just feels big.

From the look off we drove down the bumpy road into the gorge until we came to the washed out bridge across Crooked Creek. We parked and hiked up the creek hugging the steep hillsides. We were surprised to find a large covered bridge in good shape. We had a vague intention of finding Rattail Falls but after an hour of hiking we realized it was out of the question. We'd have to come back when we had more light left in the day. It was a great feeling to be walking in the bottom of a deep gorge beside the creek's turbulent waters. The hillsides were dappled with oranges and yellows. The sun set behind the west bank and the cool air carried a hint of sweet decay.
Old Red Spruce - in a true Acadian Forest

On our way back we followed the road to the washed out bridge. This time we took off our boots and forded the creek. Refreshed we decided to squeeze one more hike into the day. A local had recommended we check out the falls. We drove back down the road and parked near some cottages. We hiked downstream on a muddy ATV trail for 20 minutes and came to a big set of falls and a huge black pool. It's clearly a popular spot, the ground is beaten down and litter is everywhere. But regardless of that this was a cool place. Crooked Creek squeezes and crashed through a narrow slot, its wake churning into a deep dark pool. It looked like a great place to swim and cliff jump. The river canyon continued downstream for some distance.
Falls on Crooked Creek
Jo overlooking the pool below the falls.
This is definitely a place to come back to - the forests are huge, the creek is beautiful, and the steep terrain beckons. It's got swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter, and at this time of year the weather is perfect for hiking and camping (no bugs!!).
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October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Hike 2: Walton Glen Canyon

This is the second of three Thanksgiving Hikes I'll be writing about:

 My parents at the Lookoff over Walton Glen Canyon
On Thanksgiving Sunday, my parents and I loaded into their old truck and headed South, into the Caledonia Highlands. Our destination was Walton Glen Canyon. My parents and I made a pact back in July to take ourselves on a hike here for our birthdays which all fell within the middle of July. We wanted to do it in July, but with with Bike Festivals, parties, and the garden we were too busy.

So here we are on Thanksgiving weekend, digging out the toques for our birthday adventure. My parents had been to Walton Glen Canyon, about 35 years ago. I've been there a number of times in the past couple years. It's one of the main reasons, I was drawn back to New Brunswick.

I had never been there until the winter of 2009. But I'd found out about it online in 2007 and had been mesmerized by one photograph of the cliffs. After returning to NB in 2008, I fulfilled my dream to begin ice climbing and that same winter satisfied my thirst for the Canyon. The first attempt involved 20 km of skiing, headlamps, 1 pitch of ice climbing, and in fact we only reached the Little Salmon River Gorge but even that was mind blowing. A month later friends and I skied in with camping gear for a weekend of ice climbing in the canyon. Dropping into the canyon in the middle of winter, in waist deep snow, was ridiculous. My first thought was "How can this exist in New Brunswick? I feel like I'm back in the Rockies."  I wrote about it on my blog here. Since then New Brunswick hasn't ceased to surprise me with its hidden wilderness.

This fall I've been working in the Caledonia Highlands on a salmon habitat project. I've gotten to know the backroads well so a trip to Walton Glen Canyon is less intimidating than it used to be for me. The first time I tried to find Walton Glen Canyon was with my Dad and brother in 2003. It was Father's Day and we were going to find a big gorge that I'd never heard of. It didn't go well, my brother ended up with a blown ACL in his knee (long story) and after a trip to the hospital, my Dad and I got lost on muddy roads. We nearly got the truck stuck and finally gave up.

These days, the roads to Walton Glen Canyon are in great shape. You can drive a car to within a couple kilometers. A regular pick-up truck will take you to within 1 km. It's hard for me to even write this online. It's seems too easy and I hate to take away the awe of discover. It took me so much effort to get into Walton Glen Canyon, that I've come to really appreciate it's secluded power. I've been kept out of Walton Glen Canyon by raging water in the Little Salmon River (Read about the Fundy Trek here) and flat tires this Spring.Canyons are different than Mountains, they hide themselves from the world even while they lure you in. The nights are darker in canyons, the world farther away.

I like wilderness that you have to work for. Maybe that's why I've fallen for the Walton Glen Canyon. But it's becoming more and more well known. The recent Waterfalls of New Brunswick Website and Guidebook feature its falls. The canyons "Eye of the Needle" is gaining in popularity too. I'm excited that more New Brunswickers are getting out to see our incredible wilderness. But, even though I use this site to promote the local outdoors, I'll admit that I'm a bit selfish with it. I like to think of these places as 'my' places. A good piece of wilderness should always feel like it belongs to you. Whether you enter it alone or with friends, it should give you the feeling that you're "on your own". The more people use an area, especially when its trashed, the less it feels like wilderness. But there's a balancing point. If no one uses it, no one cares about it and it could easily end up on the chopping block like so much of New Brunswick's Crown Land.

Ok, back to the story. My parents and I had no troubles on the back roads and were able to drive into the Jack Pine Plantation just a short distance from the Canyon. The first thing we did was walk to the lookoff. I love taking people here, there's a point about 100 feet from the rim of the canyon, when I start to smile in anticipation of the other person's shock. The canyon just seems to appear out of nowhere. All of a sudden you're staring into a 500 foot deep void. The updraft wafts your clothing and falls plummet down the opposite face.
Walton Glen Falls - 200 feet

This is where we started our hike. Next I lead them down the rough trail into the Canyon. Once you've looked over the whole canyon, being deep inside it takes on a new meaning. We climbed down the steep trail, using the old ropes, and roots when we could. Down below the falls we found a gravelly little bar that was perfect for lunch. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving leftovers, chatting over the sound of the rushing water. After lunch my mom sketched the brook while my Dad and I each found a good place to nap.

We decided to save the Eye of the Needle for another day, perhaps a warmer one. On our hike out we ran into some good friends - what are chances. They were the only people we saw in the Canyon.
Mom and I at the base of the Walton Glen Brook Falls
Walton Glen Canyon is part of the Little Salmon River Protected Natural Area. It is located south of Sussex near the Fundy Coast. For more information and directions please visit Waterfalls of New Brunswick. Or as always you can drop me a line. I'm more than happy to provide directions in email or by phone.
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Thanksgiving Hike 1: Rockwood Park

This is the first of three Thanksgiving Hikes I'll be writing about:

Hiking in Rockwood

My family gathered in Saint John for a Thanksgiving Feast on Saturday. With the chicken roasting in the oven, we went to work up an apetite in Rockwood Park. This Saint John park happens out to be one of North America's largest city parks. Luckily we had Nathan as our trusty guide. He's been working in the park all summer and knows the trails well.

Owen Lake
We started on the backside of Rockwood Park, near Sandy Point Road and soon were following a narrow footpath that around old trees and rocky outcrops. Nathan led us to a series of lakes. At one, our black lab dove headlong into the black spunky mud and nearly got stuck, as if she was quicksand. I speak for the whole family when I say that we were blown away by serenity and wildness of these lakes. I expected to see a moose grazing in the tail marsh grasses that surrounded Owen Lake, but we did hear one calling, 
Long Lake

Farther along, we came to Long Lake. Which really is a long lake and with the sun setting at the far end I felt miles away from the city. This park is really worth exploring. The city of Saint John has a real gem in the backyard. And Rockwood's inclusion in the recent UNESCO designation of the Stonehammer Geopark, Saint Johners have another reason to celebrate their heartland.
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For Park information and basic trail maps visit:

October 3, 2010

Elgin 80 - A Success Under the Influence of Mud!

Riders getting ready to leave for the 40 km race
I was at the Tour of Elgin Mountain Bike Race on Saturday to help out and got to watch as riders came back covered head to toe in thick mud. Despite the wet weather in the morning, there was a really good turn out for each of the three races.

The tropical rain that had been hanging around all week culminated into 24 hours of periodic downpours. It was like a monsoon on Friday. The kind of rain that soaks you right to the underwear in the time it takes to run from your house to your car. The storm lost its fury by Saturday morning but the ground was still flooded by the assault.

The Pollett River, that runs through Elgin was raging like I'd never seen before. As the river twisted into the tight canyon at Gibson its power turned the brown water white while it roared like a freight train.

The Pollett River crashes through the Canyon

The race course, composed of backroads, ATV and snowmobile trails, and some single track had lots of mud and puddles. Riders talked about one puddle that was up to their thigh! Riders coming into the finish line where indistinguishable by the mud they wore.

So much Mud.
The first place rider finished the 80 km course in about 4 hours! That's an average of 20km/h over steep hills on a soggy track. I can hardly maintain that speed on my road bike! These racers are truly elite athletes. To finish the 80 km course is an accomplishment in itself.  And it wasn't just the 80 km racers, who make training their lifestyle, the 40 km and 20 km riders faced a challenging course and were out there giving it everything they had.

It was inspiring to watch these riders pushing their limits while have a good time doing it. Races may be competitive but it was clear that at the end of the day all these bikers were out there doing what they loved surrounded by friends and peers.
The Pollett River had calmed considerably by the afternoon. This is looking upstream from the Bridge at the Champagne Pools which are deep under water
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September 28, 2010

7th Annual Tour of Elgin - Mountain Bike Race

The Rich Fall Colours  (Credit N.B. Tourism)

The Tour of Elgin or Elgin 80 as it more commonly known is set to roll this Saturday on October the 2nd. This race has garnered quite a reputation for challenging climbs and exhilarating descents on vibrant hardwood hills.  It's billed as New Brunswick's only Mountain Bike Marathon and whether you opt for the 80km, 40km, or 20km options, your tired legs will be convinced that it is marathon.

For Full Details Follow this Link to the Flyer

Click here for the Registration Form  The preregistration deadline is this Wednesday, Sept 29th. You'll save a bit by registering early but you can still register on the morning of the race if you miss the deadline.

Where is Elgin exactly?

Elgin is a small community with a big heart, that lies on the edge of the Caledonia Highlands. It's location on the edge of the highlands gives it one of Southern New Brunswick's most scenic landscapes. The high, forested ridges spill down into farmer's fields and hollows where brooks tumble. It's well known for Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and the wild Pollett River. At this time of year, the hardwoods decorate the hillsides in brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow.

View Larger Map

The Elgin 80 is being put on as a fundraiser by the Elgin Eco Association. The Elgin Eco Association is a group of dedicated volunteers who are working together to promote the natural-beauty of the Elgin area through eco-tourism and raising money for their Community Park.
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September 11, 2010

Friar's Nose in the Fog

Looking over the Parlee Brook Valley from Friar's Nose [CLICK TO VIEW FULL SIZE]

Eddies of fog
 This morning I hiked up to Friar's Nose. Walking as fast as my legs and lungs could muster. I reached the top within half an hour, breathing heavy and sweating in the cool wet air. The wind whipped across the barren summit and fog tumbled across the valley, eddies spinning in the lee side of the ridges.

I put on a sweater and breathed in the refreshing air, looking for familiar landforms across the forested bowl. I come here a couple times a year and yet every time it seems that new ridges and valleys catch my eye. In the winter I search the valleys for blue smears of ice and in the fall I notice the vibrant hardwood stands. Today, the endless sea of green gives the impression that I'm standing on the edge of a vast wilderness.

Fog is a powerful thing. In a way its like the salt on your food, enriching whatever it touches and bringing out subtle details. The dreariest weather can produce the most moving landscapes. And on foggy days like today go to one of your favourite places and see it from a new perspective.

 After running all the way down from the top of the Friar's Nose I was hot and sweaty. That's when I noticed a sweet little pool under the bridge. I can never resist cool moving water (no matter how shallow it is). It was refreshing and a perfect way to end a hike. 

I love dunking myself in cold swift water.
Directions to Friar's Nose.
The Friar's Nose is located outside of Sussex, NB on the edge of the Fundy Highlands. You can find direction in my post from 2008.
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August 26, 2010

Sea kayaking on the Bay of Fundy

 Sea kayaking with Fresh Air Adventure

If you asked me a year ago if I would ever try sea kayaking, I would have said "no thanks I'm not that interested in the ocean." And that's always bugged me since I grew up and live in an ocean province. When I was younger I didn't like seafood or deep water. Rivers, lakes, beaches, no problem but the ocean terrified me.

However in the past year, my attitude to water has changed rapidly. I think I can owe this to living next to the Bay of Fundy in Saint John. Everyday I saw the ocean from my back deck, I walked past fish in the city market, and saw how people loved the ocean. I took swimming classes and once the spring came was jumping in every pond I could find. My hunger for the ocean steadily grew.

In August this year I did what I thought I'd never do - I tried sea kayaking. To my surprise I loved it. Three friends and I booked a half day outing with Fresh Air Adventure based in Alma. Three enthusiastic and experienced guides, outfitted us with gear, and gave us quick lesson before hitting the water.

We paddled under the Alma bridge and out into the open waters. At first I was nervous as the light ocean swell gently lifted my kayak. The kayak was very stable and soon I was comfortable paddling through the light mist. Our group of 12 boats paddled past Herring Cove and explored the rock formations along the coast. Fog bumped into the highlands and settled along the coast. Rainy days are beautiful on this foggy coast.
Our guides directed us to a beach where they laid out snacks, including the famous Alma Sticky Buns. The highlight of the trip for me was the short lesson the gave on the tides. We all know that the Bay of Fundy has high tides, but until then I couldn't quite understand the multitude of factors that created them. Apparently a "spring" tides isn't what happens in the spring time.

As we paddled back to Alma I was already started to figure out how I could afford to buy a kayak and trips started forming in my mind. I've done a lot of backpacking, but for long trips, traveling on water seems like the way to go. The water carries the weight, so you can bring the an extra bottle of wine and steak without breaking your back.

So, you should try it. Sea kayaking is not as scary as you might think, plus it can open a world of outdoor opportunities in New Brunswick.

Fresh Air Adventure - Guides based in Alma, next to Fundy National Park

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August 24, 2010

Fundy H2O Adventure Race

I think this is going to rock!

The Highlands to Ocean Adventure Race (aka the H20) will be held in Fundy National Park on September 19th. This race is a little different than your typical adventure or triathlon. It takes its three stages - swimming, biking, running - from triathlon, and then throws some wilderness into the mix. You can do as an individual, or split the stages between a team of three. Either way you choose to race, you'll get to experience the unique terrain of Caledonia Highlands and the stunning Fundy Coast.

Here are the details:
1 km swim at Bennett Lake
14 km mountain bike or 20 km road bike
10 km trail run on Coastal trail.  

Register Online Atlantic Chip  

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July 16, 2010

Corn Hill Bicycle Festival !

This is the lastest project I'm working on with a fellow cyclist. It's been taking over our lives recently, but we're having a blast doing it. The festival is on Saturday July 24th. There'll be group rides, workshops, music, bbq. We've gotten lots of positive feedback and the registrations are rolling in.

For all the info just check out our website www.bicyclecornhill.wordpress.com

Recently, a long time cyclist described Corn Hill as a "cycling mecca" in New Brunswick. Hope you get out to see for yourself.

June 30, 2010

Green Fields and Glowing Sun

The other night I went for a fantastic bike ride with Bill and Janice around Corn Hill. Here are a few photos from the ride.  I love these long summer evenings with green fields and glowing sun. I love spending time in the woods hiking and camping but it's sure hard to beat the countryside's beauty at this time of year!

Long Shadows
On the Country View Road

Dazzling evening light on the Burlock Road

Reaching the crest
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June 29, 2010

Father's Day Hike in Fundy Park

 Father's Day hike

This Father's Day my brother, his fiancee, and I went hiking with our dad in Fundy National Park. The sunny day faded as fog greeted us at the park boundary. The Moosehorn - Laverty Falls Trail is a favourite of my dad's so we headed there and found a nearly empty parking lot. A surprise, considering this is one of the Park's most popular trails and it was Father's Day. We dressed for the damp weather but within 15 minutes the temperature began rising and throughout the hike it steadily grew warmer.

We decided to hike into Laverty Falls, then follow the trail downriver past the pools, and return to the parking lot on the Moosehorn Trail. Hiking the trail in this direction was a first for me, usually I'd wanted to save Laverty fall for the end. But from now on I'll always walk to Laverty first then head down river.

The trail to Laverty Fall is wide and rutted but if you can take your eyes off the ground you'll see a wonderful example of a real Acadian forest. Yellow birch, gnarled with age, thrust up like great outstretched hands - fingers the size of normal trees. If you look through the open forest you'll see the dark, scaly bark of red spruce that shoot like arrows through the canopy. There's even a big hollow tree you can stand inside and have your picture taken.

We paused at Laverty Falls, then proceeded down river. I love this portion of the trail as it follows the river you can see how the banks are built of deposited gravel and cobble - at times the river cuts into the bank exposing cobble several feet deep. As the river valley widens it takes on a mountainous feel - alders and wildflowers grow in the flood plain along side the occasional boulder.

This deep pool was so good for swimming. 

All of a sudden geology changes drastically and the river is squeezed through a channel of solid rock - leaving a bubbling wake to settle in a deep clear pool. We stopped here for lunch and with perfect timing the sun started to burn a little hotter. That was enough to convince us to go for a swim. We braced ourselves for icy water but it was surprisingly warm - I was able to stay in comfortably for 15 minutes. We probed around the pool looking at giant carved stones and diving into deep clear water.

Bracing for the plunge but it turned out to be quite warm.

Even on an overcast day, the sun powered through the clouds reaching the rock and giving it heat to radiate back. Perfect for lazing about, eating, and drying off. We hiked back up to the parking lot on the Moosehorn Trail passing again through a beautiful lush forest. Along the way I wondered if the Park would consider connecting this trail to the Forks Trail just a little farther down the river. It would make a great loop, plus it would allow people to hike from Laverty Falls, and the Dobson Trail, for the entire length of the Upper Salmon River to Alma.

We finished the day off with a stop at Alma's new cafe, the Octupus's Garden where we got hot drinks, pastry, and sat on the patio. An excellent way to top off the day. I'm so glad Alma has a good cafe once again.

Father's Day is an excellent excuse to get outside. I hope you did something special with your dad.

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June 18, 2010

Riding the Corn Hill Countryside

Speeding past green fields on empty roads.

Last night three friends and I went for 18 km bike ride on the rolling country roads around Corn Hill. We packed a picnic and headed west on Route 890, swinging back east on the Buckley Settlement Road to climb up Anagance Ridge. We stopped for our light supper at the edge of a cattle pasture overlooking Corn Hill. We finished our loop along the Country View Road where we enjoyed wide views, to the east and west, as we sped on the smooth pavement at top speed. We moseyed back to the house, riding side by side on the empty roads, enjoy the last of the sunlight on this warm summer night. 

On the Elliot Road.

Riding side by side on empty roads.
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June 15, 2010

Bicycling in Corn Hill

Just got back from a great evening ride around Corn Hill. The sun was starting to set as I left the driveway with my Dad. We headed around block, as its known, and had only 2 cars pass us the whole time. A rainstorm in the afternoon had left the land laden with moisture and as it began to cool pockets of mist formed in sheltered corners. 

There always seem to be something interesting happening with the weather around here. The summer clouds are remarkably dynamic in Corn Hill creating powerful sunset over the open hills and in the early morning light you’ll find fog lying in the valley floors after a warm summer night.

If you're interested in cycling in Corn Hill check out the Corn Hill Bicycle Festival - 


 Riding by green fields

Sunset over the Baseline Road
Looking over the gap at White’s Mountain

Pockets of mist in the forest
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May 21, 2010

A Real New Brunswick Forest

Huge red spruce in the bottom of Walton Glen Canyon. A beautiful example of what New Brunswick's forests can be. 

Recently I was camping in Walton Glen Canyon and it got me thinking about how much I appreciate our forests. But I didn't always feel this way.

Growing up here I always thought that New Brunswick had lousy forests. I was envious of the south's big hardwood trees and the west coast's rain forests. Our forests seemed thick and small. Occasionally I'd see a tree that was a foot in diameter and think whoa that's a big tree. As a child and later as a teenager, most of my experiences in the woods involved scratching through thick spruce stands or bushwhacking through hardwood thickets. This gets tiring after a while and I grew frustrated with what I thought were "normal" New Brunswick forest. 

If you grew up in New Brunswick you can be forgiven for thinking that a real New Brunswick forest is a dark uninspiring thing. Because often they are...after repeated clearcutting our forests have been reduced to a fraction of their former glory. What we tend to see are forests in transition. These forests are on a long road to recovery. When you go in the woods you're probably going to be looking at white spruce, fir, red maple, and white birch all of which are just juveniles in the natural life of a forest. Forests need time to mature. Given time these quick growing juvenile species that we so commonly see, give way to the majestics - such as yellow birch, sugar maple, and red spruce. 

The key to this is that those white spruce, fir, red maple, and white birch can grow in the full sun of a clearcut or farmer's field but these trees struggle under the shade of  their own forest canopy. Once these trees have grown to their full size their shade stops seedlings from growing. But the majestics; such as red spruce, sugar maple, and yellow birch, can grow in these cool shady forests. This succession can take half a century. 

In the past couple years I've come to appreciate New Brunswick's forests because I got the opportunity to see some old ones and that got me interested in learning more about them. I've learnt that we actually have unique forest here - called the Acadian Forest. It's a mix of conifers (evergreens) and deciduous (hardwoods) that span from northern New England, to Nova Scotia, and parts of eastern Quebec - and that's it. Not a large area but a very diverse one. In many areas of North America, forests are predominantly evergreens or hardwoods. Around here we've got a wonderful mix of the two. And despite what you may think. These trees get really big. We just don't normally leave them standing long enough to see this. 

An old Acadian Forest is not only beautiful to look at but it's home to a diverse range of animals and plants. The forest also plays a crucial role in moderating our climate - not only through capturing CO2 from the atmosphere but also by cooling the surface of the earth and as recent research suggests seeding rain clouds. Which will help mitigate two of the serious concerns of our unchecked climate change. Plus, from a recreational point of view - old Acadian Forests are wide open and easy to walk through. Perhaps New Brunswickers are inactive because most of our forests are too bloody thick to walk through (just kidding). 

I'm not opposed to logging and forestry. Its an important part of our heritage and our economy. And we all rely on wood for our homes and toilet paper. But the manner in which we consume this landscape is unsettling. Several centuries of intensive logging has left its toll on New Brunswick's landscape and it continues to shape our land.  I understand that it may be unrealistic to do away with clearcutting completely, but I wish it would be done in a more responsible manner. As well, I feel that turning clearcuts in plantations of just one or two species and spraying pesticides to kill off the hardwoods is destructive and short sighted. 

I worry that most New Brunswickers have never experienced a true, old Acadian Forest and therefore do not appreciate what it is we're losing. When all you know are scrubby little forests that are a pain to walk through, do you really care much if they get chopped down in another part of the province? I feel that you've got to experience something before you can really care about it. So I worry that by continually degrading our forests we are losing the opportunity to see what they once were and could one day again be. If we don't learn to love the woods then who is going to care if they are all turned into plantations for toilet paper.

 Clearcuts south of Sussex. If you're driving to see some of New Brunswick's old forests you're bound to pass a major clearcut. But unless you venture into these backwoods areas you might just never see a major clearcut. Much of province's logging is happening in North-Central New Brunswick - out of sight for most of us.

Once a nice tree. Now it is probably toilet paper.

There's a number of places in New Brunswick where you can see what a real Acadian forest should look like. Get out there and see it for yourself. Take your children and show them a real New Brunswick forest.

The steep valleys along the Fundy Coast are probably my favorite areas. These were probably all logged at one time, but more recently the difficulty of working on steep slopes prevented the trees from being logged. But there are plenty of spots tucked away in Southern New Brunswick where you can find old forests.


Along the Fundy Footpath near Goose Creek you'll pass through stands red spruce rising from a mossy bed of ferns that conjure up images of a rainforest. (I'd argue that it is a rainforest...it gets 1.5 metres of precipitation every year on average and lots of cool foggy days to ensure it doesn't evaporate). And actually I've heard that's part of the reason the forest is so old. The moisture helps prevent forest fires.

In the Spring time the diversity of an Acadian Forest is really distinct. Notice how the lime-greens of the hardwoods stand out from the dark green conifers. As the summer goes on its harder to notice this mosaic from afar. This photo was taken above the Upper Salmon River near Alma just across the boundary Fundy National Park. 

 Near Martin Head (at the East of the mouth of the Quiddy River, south of Sussex) you'll find a cathedral of giant hardwoods near the coast. 

 Towering spruce are dwarfed by even taller cliffs at the popular rock climbing area in Welsford.

Majestic hardwoods spared from the saw in Parlee Brook just outside of Sussex. These trees are protected from logging by the 30 m setback from watercourses. Outside of this buffer, the nearby forest has been clearcut.

Giants near Bouctouche. Location unknown. Photo: Courtesay of L. Jacobs

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