Musquash Nature Reserve, NB (Photo by NCC)

Musquash Nature Reserve, NB (Photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada expands Musquash Estuary nature reserve

June 29, 2017
Saint John, New Brunswick


Two local families donate key areas

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is expanding its Musquash Estuary nature reserve near Saint John by 397 hectares (981 acres), adding four new properties and new forest, wetland and coastal wildlife habitat to the landmark project. One of the most ecologically diverse sites on the Bay of Fundy and a popular hiking destination, the land surrounding the Musquash Estuary is NCC’s largest conservation area in New Brunswick.

With the addition of these four new properties, two of which were donated through the Ecological Gifts Program, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected more than 2,100 hectares (5,200 acres) at Musquash.

The Musquash Estuary is the only fully functioning river estuary remaining in the Bay of Fundy, and its extensive fresh and saltwater wetlands provide an important source of food for many species of wildlife, especially migratory birds, fish and marine mammals. At one time, this unique area was targeted for an industrial park and landfill, but community members, including Musquash resident Mabel Fitz-Randolph, successfully opposed the proposal. Later, Fitz-Randolph donated a large property on the estuary to NCC for conservation. In 2006, the Musquash Estuary became New Brunswick’s only federal Marine Protected Area in recognition of its importance to both land and marine species in the Bay of Fundy, as well as the commercial fishery. In 2007, Fitz-Randolph won a lifetime achievement award in environmental leadership from the Province of New Brunswick.
More than half of the newly conserved land announced today was donated by two Saint John-area families: Daniel Tremblay and Marie Tremblay, the grandson and daughter of Mabel Fitz-Randolph, donated 35 hectares (87 acres) in memory of Mabel and Albert Fitz-Randolph; and the family of the late Andrew Simpson donated 234 hectares (578 acres) in his memory. Andrew (Andy) Simpson founded F. Andrew Simpson Contracting Limited in Saint John and had a strong personal connection to the lands at Musquash. His brother and nephew, Doug and Luke Simpson, respectively, worked with NCC to see Andy’s properties permanently conserved according to his wishes.

The Simpson property includes frontage on the Musquash River. The four properties feature a variety of habitats, such as mature mixed forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, small lakes, bogs and coastal barrens. The conserved properties provide habitat for a wide range of species, primarily migratory birds. The land donated by the Simpson family features a high lookoff, which provides stunning views of the winding river and dramatic landscape.

These Musquash conservation projects were supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, a partnership to accelerate private land and habitat conservation in Canada. The project also received support from The Crabtree Foundation, The Sir James Dunn Foundation, the Province of New Brunswick, many individual donors and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

A portion of this project was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax benefits for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land.


“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is grateful to Daniel and Marie Tremblay and the family of Andy Simpson for their generous donations of land, and the incredible legacy they have given to New Brunswickers. We would also like to recognize the Government of Canada for its support for this project through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, and all our donors for their support. NCC’s nature reserve at the Musquash Estuary is not just a beautiful and well-loved place, but one that is critically important to the health of the Bay of Fundy, so we are very pleased to be able to add these new properties to our nature reserve.”

Paula Noel, New Brunswick Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada

"On behalf of my colleague, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I want to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners on the addition of these 397 hectares to the Musquash Estuary nature reserve. The Government of Canada is proud to support this important habitat conservation initiative through the Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program. This spectacular coastal habitat is a testament to what we can achieve by working together to conserve and protect Canada's natural treasures."

Karen Ludwig, Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest


• Two of the four properties were purchased: one is primarily mixed forest (21 hectares) in the inner estuary, and the other is a mix of wetland and coastal forest in Chance Harbour (107 hectares).
• An estuary is a body of coastal water into which fresh water flows from rivers and streams, mixing with salt water from the ocean. Estuaries are considered one of the Earth’s most productive ecosystems and support a wide range of wildlife.
• Birds found at Musquash include common eider, scoter, black guillemot, common loon, purple sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper and peregrine falcon.
• Other species found at Musquash include harbour seal, harbour porpoise, black bear and white-tailed deer.
• More than 85 per cent of the original salt marshes in the Bay of Fundy have been altered by humans over the past 300 years.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 28,700 hectares (71,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To date, $277.5 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our natural heritage. Additionally, more than $500 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners to be invested in the program.

To learn more about the Ecological Gifts Program, visit or

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Kathryn Morse
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