Happy trails!

Do you know where to find Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Falls? Have you heard of the Dragon’s Tooth? These are just 2 of the 50 Amazing places you can find to explore around the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “As a non-profit organization, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve is a community-based initiative comprised of individuals and representatives of various stakeholder groups, organizations and local communities working to promote the sustainable development of the region by enhancing the research and innovation capacity and by creating a forum for various groups to share information, knowledge and best practices.” The UNESCO-designated biosphere comprises  442,250 hectares in the upper Bay of Fundy coast, stretching from St. Martins to the Tantramar Marsh near Sackville and inland to Moncton. As Dr. Jennifer Dingman, the Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, explained in part of the talk at the Riverview Winter Carnival this past weekend “Engage with Nature”- it is all the watershed that falls into the upper Bay of Fundy area including the Petitcodiac and the other little estuaries that contribute to the Bay.  This biosphere is unique and was nominated by the planning committee to be a UNESCO site back in 2007 ,after 8 years of planning ,because of these 3 reasons:

  • Recognition of a special piece of the Atlantic Canada maritime landscape and the uniqueness of the Bay of Fundy;
  • Recognition of the area’s history and its cultural identity in the region and within Canada;
  • Recognition of the past and continued commitment of residents, policy makers, resource sectors and scientists to seek continued improvement in intergenerational sustainability.

It was the hope that being designated as a UNESCO site would also bring local and international investment and interest to the area. At this time many organizations we heard from at the workshop are hoping that the Tourism department will see this designated site as a worthwhile investment for our province to engage people to visit our province. There are 18 designated areas in Canada with 3 right here in Atlantic Canada- 1 in New Brunswick with the Fundy Biosphere and 2 in Nova Scotia.

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve designated 50 Amazing Places to explore ,that are found along many already established trails and destination spots. The 2 places I mentioned above were ones I had never heard of so I had to look them up!  Wouldn’t you know they are on the most strenuous trail in the area- the Fundy Footpath. Have any of you hiked this strenuous trail?  Don’t be discouraged if you’ve heard how daunting it is! There are many other beautiful accessible sites like Dickson Falls in Fundy Park or Cape Enrage and of course our beautiful Waterside and Dennis beach made the list!  You can see the whole map on the Fundy Biosphere’s website along with videos and articles about some of the areas.

I encourage you to look them up and tell me how many you have been to! If you don’t know where some of them are or how to get there- check out Hiking New Brunswick’s website– a great resource for all trails in New Brunswick. Here are some photos of some of the places we’ve been on the list:

Hopewell Rocks in Hopewell Cape.

Mary’s point in Harvey.

Squaw’s Cap Look-off on the Coastal Trail in Fundy.

Dickson Falls in Fundy.

Herring Cove Beach in Fundy. 

Sea Caves in St. Martin’s.

Speaking of trails, we also had the pleasure of hearing from Marc Leger, the new Regional Trails Coordinator for the Southeast Regional Service Commission. Marc has a long history with trail making with his Dad Alonzo on the Fundy Footpath and Dobson Trail. He gave us some interesting insights about trails that I had never thought of. Not only are trails great for connecting us to nature, relieving stress, and helping us stay fit  they also connect people, communities, culture and businesses. Using the example from the Trail Town program of the Buddha Bear Cafe in Riverview, he showed how a trail can get people in touch and investing in small business right off the trail and making a huge difference in communities when the trails are accessible and easy to use. According the Trail Town philosophy , a trail is successful if they have the following qualities: 1) It creates economic growth, 2) Grows local business and creates jobs, 3) Compounds the trail’s economic potential, 4) Improves infrastructure in rural areas, and 5) Protects the trails and surrounding nature. Buddha Bear Cafe is right on the Riverfront Trail facing the Petitcodiac river. It is easy access for people to stop for a drink or bite to eat while they are also using trail. I know they have even had events where people come for a drink while watching our famous Tidal Bore. This kind of use of trails attracts locals and tourists alike to invest in our small businesses and communities!

I was excited to hear about the most recent project Marc is working on. I had heard rumours about it lately but Marc confirmed the rumours are true! He is working on a huge project called The Shore-Line trail. It is a proposal to join Alma to Shediac via a 150 km trail. It would connect the provinces 3 largest attractions- Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks and Parlee Beach – as well as all the attractions along the way. Here is a little description of the trail from their proposal : The Shore-Line could be almost entirely off-road and will utilize abandoned rail corridors, dykes, undeveloped Department of Transportation and Infrastructure corridors and Crown Land wherever possible. Every possible effort will be made to locate a route that will follow coastline and waterways because trails users generally prefer trails to be close to water.  Isn’t that awesome!  How many have cringed when they hit the 114 outside Riverview? The narrow road with no margins makes us nervous in our cars let alone ever trying to walk, run or bike there. If you have been following my blog since last year, you remember the story of meeting a lady from Alberta who biked all the way to Newfoundland. She said the stretch from Hopewell Cape to Moncton was one of the scariest stretches she had driven in her whole drive across the country ( Thankfully she did get picked up for that stretch and didn’t have to drive it). It would be wonderful to have a trail that is safe, accessible and easy to manage for the average person. 

For those who are interested in this trail or anyone who lives along this route, there is a meeting Feb 26th at the Riverside- Albert Recreation Centre with a drop in from 1-4 and information meeting from 6:30-8:30.  Representatives from The Fundy Biosphere Reserve, Nature Conservancy of Canada and Regional Service Commission will be there for the presentations. 

The last person we heard from at the workshop was Sarah Lord. Sarah has been the wellness coordinator at Jean Coutu in Riverview for the past 10 years. She has a passion for helping people get active and lead healthier lives. She has led various groups for walking, nordic walking, hiking, snowshoeing, etc. She has started her own business to lead people on tours and hikes especially if you are nervous about going alone. You can find her on her Facebook page Maritime Detours for all her latest news.

I had such a great time meeting some new people in the world of outdoor trails and pursuits. Other honourable mentions I heard were the Outdoor Enthusiasts Club and the Women of the Wilderness if you are looking for groups to join- they are on Facebook as well. 

Next week will be 1 year in the blogging world. It has been fun to share places, businesses and creativity along the Road to Waterside. Be sure to tune in next week for a chance to win a Valentine’s basket to thank you for all your support!!

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