Protected spaces expand at Musquash Estuary and historic lighthouse given TLC
Nature Conservancy of Canada improves access to scenic Bay of Fundy natural area
To mark its 20th anniversary of working at the Musquash Estuary, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the protection of three new sites on the Bay of Fundy. The not-for-profit charity is also unveiling some upgrades that improve the network of trails and safety for users, just in time for International Trails Day on June 5.
NCC partnered with Explore Lorneville Inc. to conserve 37 hectares (92 acres) at Musquash Head. Together, the partners raised the funds to carry out major upgrades to the concrete lighthouse built on-site in the 1950s. Explore Lorneville Inc. is keeping the lighthouse and 6 hectares (15 acres) around it and donated the remaining lands to NCC to protect their natural values.
The two groups successfully raised money to help pay for the necessary repairs and painting of the historic lighthouse. This location is home to the Split Rock Trail, a popular hiking spot.
A media availability was held today, and a virtual donor celebration with the community and project supporters is scheduled for Wednesday, to update them on work in the area and thank them.
Today also marks the official opening of the new “Lorneville Link” trail that connects NCC’s Black Beach and Five Fathom Hole trails. Thanks to the vision and hard work of Explore Lorneville, NCC volunteers and community support, the coastal wilderness trails now connect from the start of Split Rock trail in Lorneville to the community of Prince of Wales; a distance of approximately 20 kilometres (one-way).
In addition, NCC is celebrating the expansion of protected lands on the west side of Musquash Estuary. NCC purchased an additional 31 hectares (76 acres) of coastal forest and wetlands located off of Highway 790 in Chance Harbour, and has received a partial land donation of 43 hectares (106 acres) off the South Musquash Road.
NCC and Explore Lorneville Inc. are grateful to the approximate 300 individual donors who gave monetarily to help conserve this beautiful area. Invaluable labour, equipment and materials were donated by Kevin Berriault of Berriault Builders, Roy Proctor and Sherwin Williams Paint Store to assist with the renovations. Project funding came from the J.T. Clark Family Foundation and Crabtree Foundation.
NCC is also grateful for the support received from the City of Saint John, the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“The community support for this project was incredible. So many individuals and local businesses donated and challenged others to do the same. We were inspired by the passion and commitment of members of Explore Lorneville Inc., along with the businesses, residents and trail users who appreciate this wilderness area. We also thank the City of Saint John and Federal Government for their support. This is truly an impressive community effort that everybody should be proud of.”
- Paula Noel, New Brunswick Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“The way this project has grown is almost as breathtaking as the views these areas have to offer. To witness a growing community rally together is so much more than we ever dreamed of. Sincere thanks to Dale Knox and his family who kicked things off with a wonderful donation that mobilized so many, NCC for all its hard work, and the more than 300 individual donors who came together. The outpouring of community support, stories of encouragement, people discovering hiking and offering to help with trail work or funding, and the general love for the Lighthouse and area has kept us motivated. What started with a hatchet and a dream of a hiking trail to the Lighthouse has expanded to its restoration, land conservation and preservation, an improved and expanded hiking trail system, numerous connections and friendships, as well as building community engagement & support that will carry on for years to come. Thank you!"
- Leah Alexander and Adam Wilkins, Explore Lorneville Inc.
“Canadians have reconnected with nature throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because spending time outdoors has important benefits to our health and well-being. That’s one of the many reasons I am so pleased to see the expansion of Musquash Estuary. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Explore Lorneville Inc., and many donors, more land will be protected here in New Brunswick for future generations to enjoy.”
– Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John—Rothesay, New Brunswick
• These three conservation projects bring NCC’s protected area to 2,309 hectares (5,704 acres) at the Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve.
• As NCC’s largest nature reserve in Atlantic Canada, this area is a haven for wildlife such as bobcat, moose and a variety of songbirds. harbor seals are frequently observed in the Estuary.
• NCC’s protected lands surround New Brunswick’s only federal Marine Protected Area, located in the estuary.
• Situated along the Atlantic Flyway, the Musquash Estuary is a stopover site for many species of migratory birds, including white-winged scoter, surf scoter, black guillemot, common eider and semipalmated sandpiper.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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 conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. This includes over 33,000 hectares (81,544 acres) in the Atlantic Provinces.
Explore Lorneville Inc. is a non-profit community group that looks after the Musquash Head Lighthouse as well as Split Rock & Troy's Trails and the 12 acres that surround the Lighthouse. The group was established in 2020 by Lorneville residents Leah Alexander & Adam Wilkins along with Cecil McCavour following a need to address the Lighthouse structure which had fallen into disrepair. Explore Lorneville Inc. partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada on an extremely successful fundraising campaign to save the Lighthouse, donate & conserve 107 acres of land, and improve & expand the hiking trails in the area, leading to the creation of the Lorneville Link Trail--a 4.5 kilometre hiking trail that links Split Rock, Troy's, Black Beach, and Five Fathom Hole trails to form an 18 kilometre linear coastal hiking trail.
The Government of Canada's Natural Heritage Conservation Program is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NHCP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.
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