MEDUXNEKEAG VALLEY NATURE PRESERVE
How to get to the Preserve.
Privately conserved lands now protected under New Brunswick Legislation
September 3, 2014 (Fredericton, NB) - The province of New Brunswick has finalized the designation of new protected natural areas. Land conservation groups in the province are celebrating the inclusion of private Nature Reserves under the province's Protected Natural Areas Act. A total of 1850 hectares (18.5 km2) acquired for permanent conservation by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in New Brunswick, the Meduxnekeag River Association and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick have received designation under the act.
Read more here (PDF Press Release)
Another Property Protected
The Meduxnekeag River Association Inc and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have jointly purchased and protected a 17 hectare (42 acre) forested property along the north bank of the Meduxnekeag River west of Woodstock.
The property, to be known as the Charles E McBride Wildflower Park in memory of a member of the family which owned the property for a century and a half, will become part of the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve, more than 300 hectares (720 acres) of ecologically rich forest protected by the Meduxnekeag River Association since 1998.
The new Preserve protects a significant extent of shoreline, including wide intervales and two islands in the Meduxnekeag.
Opening the new Preserve, l-r, MRA President Steve Wilson, MRA Director Greg Hayden, NCC's Paula Noel, Mike Allen MP, and MRA Treasurer Matt Leech.
Jim Goltz Forest Preserve Opens
The Meduxnekeag River Association officially opened Jim Goltz Forest, one of its new Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserves, on June 27. The new Preserve, purchased with assistance from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the EJLB Foundation, and NB Wildlife Trust Fund, is named to honour well-known New Brunswick naturalist Dr. James Goltz.
“Jim is probably the most knowledgeable naturalist in the province”, says MRA administrator George Peabody. “He has helped us with advice on many of the properties we’ve bought, and has led our annual Spring Wildflower Walks for as long as we’ve been holding them, so when the EJLB Foundation suggested we name the new Preserve to honour a New Brunswick naturalist, he was the immediate obvious choice.”
Jim Goltz Forest is a 46 acre Preserve with about 800 metres frontage on the Meduxnekeag on the south side of the river opposite the Preserve at Wilson Mountain. Access is from the Plymouth Road - the Preserve is signposted and is about midway between the Hwy 95 underpass and the Red Bridge end of the road.
The Green Trail - marked with posts like the other Preserve trails - loops through the Preserve and is the most challenging of all our walking trails, with some steep sections. It passes near several rare plant groups and interesting rock formations. It is probably not well suited to small children or anyone with even minor mobility issues.
MRA and NCC Protect Another Meduxnekeag Property
The Meduxnekeag River Association and Nature Conservancy of Canada have jointly purchased a 26-acre forested property with about 300 metres of shoreline on the south side of the Meduxnekeag River.
“We are thrilled to be adding what will be called McCurdy Flats to the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve” says MRA director Peter Porteous. “It’s on a lovely stretch of the river with an abundance of ecologically rich species. There’s a small camp on site which we hope to make available to biologists who are researching on the Preserve.”
How to get to the Preserve.
Living LegacyTo make a donation online:
The Meduxnekeag River Association has launched a campaign to raise One Million Dollars to grow the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve system. In 2011, we added 132 acres in three new properties to the Preserve with support from the Nature Conservancy of Canada - which has designated the Meduxnekeag watershed as one of six priority conservation areas in Atlantic Canada.
In 2012, with help from NCC and from donations from supporters like you, we hope to add more than 200 acres in at least six new properties. For more information check out this short video produced for us by journalism students at New Brunswick Community College in Woodstock.
Meduxnekeag Preserve Gets Large Donation
The Meduxnekeag River Association has received a donation of $50,000 from the Montreal-based EJLB Foundation to help purchase property for the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve.
“This is a great boost for our fund-raising campaign,” says campaign chair and MRA Director Peter Porteous. “Having a major Canadian charitable foundation provide this sort of support shows just how important it is to protect these special local Meduxnekeag places.”
The EJLB Foundation requested that the donation be used to support the purchase of the 43-acre Wilson property on the south side of the Meduxnekeag across the river from the Wilson Mountain Preserve.
“We cost-shared that purchase with the Nature Conservancy of Canada,” Porteous says, “and the EJLB donation almost meets our full share of the cost.”
The Association chooses names for each of its Preserve properties, and the EJLB Foundation suggested naming the Wilson property to honour a New Brunswick naturalist who has supported protecting the ecological value of the Meduxnekeag.
“The MRA Board decided to name this Preserve Jim Goltz Forest to recognize the many years of support that we’ve received from Jim,” MRA administrator George Peabody says. “He’s one of the most passionate and knowledgeable naturalists in the province, and has been leading our annual Spring Wildflower Walks as long as we’ve been holding them.”
The new Jim Goltz Forest is open to the public year-round as are all Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve properties. “We’ll have an official opening next spring when we place the sign” says Peabody, “though our summer student Nigel Smith cut and marked a trail there this year, so it’s walkable any time. Look for a green-striped post at the edge of the Plymouth Road about two kilometers from the junction with Hwy 540: but be advised – this is a beautiful trail which has some very steep parts and is probably the most challenging of any of our trails.”
Meduxnekeag River Association is looking for individuals or families interested in becoming volunteer stewards for our Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve properties. We presently have eight preserves and counting – we’re growing beyond our staff & Board capacity to properly steward and monitor all the preserves.
What’s involved? A volunteer steward keeps an eye on the preserve. This can be as simple as visiting once or twice a year and noticing any changes since the previous visit. Or, for some preserves, it could be much more elaborate: visiting several times a year, in all seasons; starting to keep a detailed record of the plants, birds and animals that live there; deciding where trails should go if there are none; doing minor maintenance and alerting us to the need for major maintenance if there are trails in place already. If you’re interested, there’s a stewardship opportunity that will fit!
We offer: orientation – a guided visit to “your” preserve; introduction to identification of plants, birds, animals; access to resources; help with reporting.
Interested? Give us a call at 506 328-8227 or email email@example.com
The Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve was established in 1998 when the Meduxnekeag River Association purchased a 57 hectare forested tract with two kilometres of shoreline along the Meduxnekeag below Red Bridge. Much of the property consisted of mature forest, both softwood and hardwood, including the prominent wooded hill called Wilson Mountain. This began to be called Phase One of the Preserve when we added, in 2003, an adjacent three hectares which we called Leonard Woods and referred to as Phase Two. At the end of 2003, we purchased a 52 hectare forest six kilometres further upstream, which became Bell Forest, Phase Three of the Preserve.
Significant parts of the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve consist of Appalachian Hardwood Forest, a type of tolerant hardwood pretty much unique to this part of New Brunswick as far as Atlantic Canada is concerned. It is characterized by the presence of four indicator tree species: white ash, ironwood, butternut and basswood, and contains many plant species which are rare or uncommon in New Brunswick.
Wilson Mountain and Leonard Woods are open to visitors year-round. Sign-posted entrances with off-road parking at 260 and 200 Red Bridge Road along the Red Bridge Road (see map) provide access to approximately ten kilometres of low impact well-marked walking trails. Each of the five trails is laid out as a loop; each passes through different forest ecology.
Bell Forest is now signposted 200 Bell Settlement Road on the Bell Settlement Road. A single wide trail – the old woods access road – winds down to the river through different forest habitats, much of it ecologically rich Appalachian Hardwood. There is no off-road parking at Bell Forest
We continue to increase the protected forest in the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve.
In 2008, we received a donation of 17 hectares on the north bank of the river immediately above the Trans-Canada Highway, including both sides of the mouth of Marven’s Brook. In 2009, we purchased the adjacent upstream property; together the two will be named Keenan Ridge, honouring the donor, Gary Keenan.
In 2010, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), we purchased a gravel bank and forest further upstream, and, in March 2011, also in partnership with NCC, we purchased three additional properties. One of these is between Keenan Ridge and the gravel pit, another is the upstream adjacent property to the gravel pit, and the third is on the south bank of the river opposite Wilson Mountain.(see map) We are currently developing public access plans for all of the newly acquired properties.
LATEST TRAIL CONDITIONS
None to report at this time.
WALK THE TRAILS
All trails are marked with cedar posts with a band of the trail colour. Posts are set within visual distance of each other. Trails are kept free of fallen trees and low branches; steps and/or hand-rails have been added in steeper places; low plank bridges cross tributary brooks as needed. We ask that visitors stay on the trails, and heed the general rules: bring out anything that you take in; don’t bring out anything you didn't take in.
Trail Map and Descriptions
The Meduxnekeag’s Appalachian Hardwood Forests have a unique ecology extending well beyond the trees and flowers and ferns that are found there and not elsewhere in New Brunswick. Take a look...
A Meduxnekeag Ecological Treasure
Bell Forest is the most important Appalachian Hardwood Forest site in Atlantic Canada. A Nature Trust of New Brunswick survey in 1997 found that it contained almost every species of plant known to live in this type of forest, including a species called desmodium glutinosum, or pointed-leaf tick trefoil, found nowhere else in New Brunswick. For photos from Bell Forest click here.
Many of the rare species found in Bell Forest are not found in the Wilson Mountain or Leonard Woods Preserve sites. These include lopseed, showy orchis, nodding fescue, spikenard, goldie’s fern, and seneca-snakeroot. In addition, three very rare species of moss grow in Bell Forest, including one which had not previously been found in New Brunswick.
Bell Forest is open for guided walks in Spring and early Summer. No trails, other than an existing woods road, have yet been established.
The Meduxnekeag River Association raised about $150,000 to purchase Phase One and Phase Two of the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve. In addition to the proceeds of our annual fund-raising dinner and auction, we received major support from the Woodstock Rotary Club and NB Wildlife Trust Fund. Additional support came from donations in memory of Heather Leonard, from the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, and from the Ste Anne Nackawic Pulp Company.
We are now in the second year of a $250,000 five-year campaign for Phase Three Bell Forest. Major commitments have been made by the Association ($50,000) and Woodstock Rotary ($50,000). The EJLB Foundation has provided a grant of $25,000. NB Wildlife Trust Fund donated $12,500 in 2004 and has approved a further $12,500 for 2005. Nature Conservancy of Canada has committed $10,000. Other donations have been received from Nature Trust of New Brunswick ($5000) and McLean Foundation ($5000). By the end of 2004, our pledge campaign had been successful in gaining pledges of more than $40,000 over five years from local supporters.
Good News! The Dunn Foundation has approved a $10,000 per year for five years contribution for Bell Forest. This $50,000 raises our total donations and commitments for this project to meet our $250,000 target.
Bell Forest has been completely paid off as of the end of 2008.
Morrison Lake Wetland
The property includes Morrison Lake itself and the surrounding wetland and forest, and is located between NB Hwy 95, Hwy 540 and the Watson Settlement Road. Morrison Lake (across from the Tourist Centre) is spring-fed, as well as a collection area for several small tributaries, and is the key water source for Mill Brook, a Meduxnekeag cold water tributary stream which has been recommended for "A" classification status. The property surrounding Morrison Lake was within the corridor impacted by the twinning of NB Hwy 95 and the associated re-routing of the Watson Settlement Road in 2006-07, and was subject to a detailed ecological study at that time. This study identified a number of S1, S2, and S3 plant colonies and helped guide the highway work to avoid or minimize impact on them. Several of these rare plants are within the boundaries of our purchase. The lake itself supports trout and some other fish populations, and a beaver colony. It is a waterfowl nesting site. The surrounding wetlands and forest are active moose habitat. Protecting the Morrison Lake Wetland in perpetuity as part of the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve system will thus have positive ecological and wildlife impacts both directly and which reach well beyond the boundaries of the property itself.
An Expanding Preserve
April 14, 2011, Woodstock New Brunswick - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in partnership with the Meduxnekeag River Association (MRA) has protected over 132 acres (53 hectares) forested land for endangered and rare species, along the shores of the Meduxnekeag River, near Woodstock.
The land acquired protects more than four kilometres of riverfront land containing Appalachian Hardwood Forest, a rare type of forest which was once much more widespread. The properties are habitat for the endangered Butternut tree along with several provincially rare plants such as the Canada Violet and the Showy Orchis.
The banks of the Meduxnekeag River are also one of the most significant forest areas in the Maritimes, containing 45 percent of the province’s remaining Appalachian Hardwood Forest sites. The area also contains the highest concentration of rare associated species in New Brunswick.
This land acquisition was achieved with the help of concerned individuals, corporations, foundations and conservation organizations. NCC’s partners for this land acquisition include the Government of Canada Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Province of New Brunswick, and the Meduxnekeag River Association.
“Partnerships are at the heart of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work,” said Linda Stephenson, Regional Vice President for the Atlantic Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Today’s announcement will ensure that sensitive areas that provide habitat for endangered species are protected for the enjoyment of future generations.”
“We’re really pleased with these latest additions to our eco corridor Nature Preserve” said Stephen Wilson, President of the Meduxnekeag River Association, “but more over the vote of support from the Nature Conservancy of Canada. We have been working hard at this dream for over a decade now on a local level but NCC’s involvement provides a strong vote of confidence and allows us to push forward even more ambitiously in this very special place on the planet.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Meduxnekeag River Association have been working together since 2009. This announcement marks the first official joint land protection initiatives between NCC and the MRA.
Appalachian Hardwood Forest is characterized by the presence of four “indicator” tree species – White Ash, Basswood, Ironwood, and Butternut.
Butternut trees, listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) occur on the lands secured.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has helped to protect over 12,000 acres (4,900 hectares) of land in New Brunswick.
The Meduxnekeag River Association has protected over 480 acres (200 hectares) of land within the Meduxnekeag Watershed.
Twenty-seven species of fish have been identified as present in the Meduxnekeag system including Brook Trout, Brown Trout and Atlantic Salmon.
Map and Directions to Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve
To get to the Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve from “the square” in downtown Woodstock, take a left on Connell St halfway up the Main St hill, follow Connell out past the car dealerships and the mall, under the Trans-Canada highway overpass, continue approximately another 3 kilometres, then take a left on the Red Bridge road. The Wilson Mountain entrance to the Preserve is signposted on the left about 3 km later at 260 Red Bridge Rd; the Leonard Woods entrance is another half kilometre, also on the left at 200 Red Bridge Rd. To get to Bell Forest, continue on the Red Bridge Rd until Red Bridge, then turn right on the Bell Settlement Road (don’t cross the river). Bell Forest is at 200 Bell Settlement Road.