Bell Flats announcement with Meduxnekeag River Association members, NCC's Paula Noel and Tobique Mactaquac MP Mike Allen (Photo by NCC)

Bell Flats announcement with Meduxnekeag River Association members, NCC's Paula Noel and Tobique Mactaquac MP Mike Allen (Photo by NCC)

Rare Forest in New Brunswick Gets Boost

December 15, 2014
Carleton County, New Brunswick


37 acres protected near Woodstock through historic land purchase on Meduxnekeag River

There is an early Christmas present for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Saint John River Valley. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has helped the Meduxnekeag River Association conserve a historic parcel of land totalling 37 acres (15 hectares) between the Bell Settlement Road and the Meduxnekeag River.  The property has a rich human history being in the same family since 1837.

The announcement was made during a property tour involving Meduxnekeag River Association President Stephen Wilson, Tobique-Mactaquac Member of Parliament Mike Allen and Nature Conservancy of Canada Program Manager Paula Noel.

The land purchase is adjacent to the Bell Forest Nature Preserve, known as the finest remaining Appalachian Hardwood Forest site in Atlantic Canada, which was acquired for conservation 10 years ago.  The new property which contains forest and floodplain along the Meduxnekeag River will be called “ Bell Flats”. 

The new site also hosts Appalachian hardwood forest, a type characterized by a mix of four indicator tree species: white ash, basswood, ironwood and endangered butternut, and containing more than twenty provincially rare plant species. Just one percent of the original extent of this forest type remains in a mature state in New Brunswick, roughly half of which is located in the Meduxnekeag Watershed.

The project was made possible thanks to financial support from the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program.


 “We are pleased to continue advancing the protection and restoration of the Applachian hardwood forest in New Brunswick,” said Paula Noel, New Brunswick program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “For over a decade, NCC has worked with the Meduxnekeag River Association to help conserve key lands, contribute funds, science and expertise. The Government of Canada has also played a major role in this successful partnership. Together, we are preserving this rare forest type and the natural beauty of the Meduxnekeag River”.

“This landmark project marks another achievement under the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program,” said Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac. “This land is also the richest Appalachian Hardwood Forest site in New Brunswick. Conserving Canada’s natural heritage is at the heart of our National Conservation Plan announced by the Prime Minister in May. Our National Conservation Plan demonstrates our Government’s commitment to contribute to Canada's long-term prosperity by conserving and restoring our lands and waters, and connecting Canadian families to our natural spaces.”

“We are very excited to be adding this strategic piece of property to our Meduxnekeag Valley Nature Preserve”, stated Stephen Wilson, President Meduxnekeag River Association. “We are pleased that we will be able to continue in perpetuity the stewardship exercised over the property by the Bell family who have owned it since the 1830s. As a volunteer led organization we are truly appreciative of the support of Nature Conservancy of Canada, to MP Mike Allen and Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Plan which has allowed us to accelerate our efforts”.  To learn more about MRA initiatives please see


  • An indicator species is a species whose presence, absence, or relative well-being in a given environment is a sign of the overall health of its ecosystem. By monitoring the condition and behavior of an indicator species, scientists can determine how changes in the environment are likely to affect other species that are more difficult to study.
  • This property adds to the 800 acres (324 ha) already secured by the Meduxnekeag River Association (MRA) within the watershed. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has partnered in 11 projects helping protect 441 acres.
  • The Meduxnekeag Watershed features more than 20 provincially rare plant species.  Several provincially rare or uncommon species have been recorded on the property:  They include wild coffee (tinker’s weed), seneca snakeroot, showy orchis, American lopseed.  Goldie’s woodfern, black raspberry, bloodroot, northern maidenhair fern, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, wild leek and wild ginger.    

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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 to protect more than 2.7 million acres (over 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 15,868 acres (6,422 hectares) in New Brunswick. For further information visit:

The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership launched by the Government of Canada in 2007. Led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), the program supports the accelerated pace of conservation of ecologically important private lands across southern Canada. To date, $245 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $400 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and its partners to secure our natural heritage.  An additional $100 million was announced in May 2014 under the National Conservation Plan for the NCC to continue this program.

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