Nature Park, a 600 acre (243 hectare) site, was created by J.D. Irving, Limited
to help protect an environmentally significant, endangered area. This special
part of the Fundy Coast, minutes from a major urban centre, is now a place
where the public can enjoy and experience the various ecosystems of Southern
New Brunswick's coastline.
The peninsula of
volcanic rock and forest on the Bay of Fundy shoreline, is swept twice daily by
seawater with some of the highest tides in the world. Mud flats and salt-marsh
are along one side; a long sand beach is on the other. The area nurtures one of
New Brunswick's richest marine ecosystems.
The abundant rich
food sources found in the salt-marsh and the sea attract numerous species of
migratory and marine birds. The area is a traditional staging site on flight
paths between the Arctic and South America, and a breeding ground for many
shore birds along Atlantic coastline. More than 250 species of bird have been
seen here during migration periods.
road encircles the park, and eight walking trails of different lengths and
difficulty allow visitors to tour the park without endangering sensitive areas.
Help the fragile ecosystems survive by staying on trails and roadways, and by
respecting the park's preservation guidelines.
Limited maintains the park and keeps it open to visitors on foot, year 'round.
The company provides park naturalists to give tours and answer queries from May
to October. During the winter special guided outings are offered by experts in
subjects like local history, nature, and astronomy.
The woods in the park are a part of a natural
Acadian forest with tree species like Red Spruce, Balsam Fir and Yellow Birch.
From early spring to late fall the wildflowers and berries of an Acadian forest
are plentiful. Look for coltsfoot and purple asters, wild blueberry, creeping
snowberry and bunchberry in season. A great variety of birds and small forest
animals make this Acadian forest their home.
tides of the Bay of Fundy coming in and out twice daily to heights of 7.62
metres (25 ft.), the wave action on the ancient volcanic rocks and on the
plants and organisms living along the shoreline is intense. Many marine
creatures like periwinkles live in the pools of tidal water left in rock
Saints Rest Marsh is an internationally renowned
bird-staging area. Among the cordgrass and sea lavender are rare sightings of a
Glossy Ibis, or more commonly, the park's symbol, the Great Blue Heron. A
wheelchair-accessible boardwalk extending 300 m. out onto the marsh allows
closer observation of marsh inhabitants and their predators.
mudflats ecosystem, separating the salt-marsh from the Bay of Fundy, provides
an essential link in the food chain. As the tide recedes exposing the great mud
surface to the air, millions of minute crustaceans or their pin-hole burrows
are left visible. Sandpipers and other shorebirds stalk the flats, spearing
their meals from the mud.
Saints Rest Beach, a one kilometre link between
the park peninsula and the mainland, has its gravel and sand held together by
the root systems of the Marram grass that edges the beach. While the grass is
indifferent to the strong winds of the bay, foot or vehicle traffic will kill
Marram grass. Once the grass dies it will not reestablish itself. Without the
grasses' roots holding the beach sand like a protective net, the sand would
soon be washed out with the tide or blown away by the shore winds. This barrier
beach provides a home for many sand-dwelling marine organisms and plants.
the Frog Trail at the tip of the park's island is a sphagnum moss bog. The moss
absorbs up to 25 times its own weight in water. When this moss dies it releases
acids making the water in the bog acidic. Only trees like Tamarack and Black
Spruce that can tolerate acidity and low nutrient levels can grow in the bog
The Park's observation tower, hidden among the
treetops at the highest point on the peninsula, allows a 360° view of the
land and seascapes, and closer views if the tower's binoculars are used. The
eight walking trails are lined with wood (hemlock) chips for dry buoyancy
underfoot, and simple log bridges span any small waterways or wet areas on the
trails. A boardwalk stretching onto the marsh permits close observation of the
fascinating animal life pursuing the invertebrates and plankton inhabiting the
marsh and mudflats. Decks built at several strategic places along the rim of
the park provide special views of the bay. The park encourages family outings
by providing gas barbecues, picnic tables, and wheelchair accessible chemical
toilets. (Visitors must bring their own drinking water as the site does not
have potable water.)
All of the built
features were constructed with the least disturbance possible to the area's
Irving, Limited has a full time park manager and a seasonal group of
naturalists who are available to lead tours and to answer questions from May to
November. During this period, the park is only open to vehicle traffic during
daylight hours. Special outings with a park guide to see stars or to snowshoe
by moonlight in winter are arranged throughout the year.
Over 125,000 people
have visited the park annually since its opening in 1992. School tours that
focus on specific topics can be booked through the park manager.
publishes quarterly sheets for the Naturalist's Notebook, nature notes on the
park's wildlife. For more information about specific programs or to book a
tour, call the Irving Nature Park manager at 506-632-7777. Visit the site on
the web through the Irving Forest Discovery Network (ifdn) at
Irving Nature Park