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Sussex, New Brunswick

Covered Bridges-Sussex, New Brunswick

Return of the Covered Bridge

By Sarah Marchildon
Telegraph Journal staff writer

   FREDERICTON - Destroyed by fire, claimed by flooding and victim of the relentless pounding of heavy traffic, New Brunswick's covered bridges are quickly disappearing.
   Once home to the tread of horses' hooves across wooden floorboards and the secret kisses of couples strolling hand-in-hand through the dark privacy, only 66 covered bridges are left in the province.
   In 1944, New Brunswick had 320 covered bridges.
   Roofed over to make them last longer, the bridges are a distinctive feature of the New Brunswick land scape and serve to stir up imagines of a simpler life.
   Alton Bubar was born long after the covered bridge in Nashwaak Bridge was torn down after neglect led to its deterioration.
   But he wants to bring back a wooden reminder of the bygone age of horse-drawn carriage rides along dirt roads.
   Mr. Bubar and 10 other Nashwaak Bridge residents came together more than a year ago to discuss the idea of converting the community's old rail way bridge into a 21-metre-long covered bridge.
   They agreed to strike a volunteer committee, naming the group the Nashwaak Bridge Development Association.
   Discussions were followed by months of selling chocolate bars, lobbying local businesses and knocking on doors to raise enough money to build the bridge.
   Tomorrow night, the group will publicly announce plans to build a covered bridge crossing the Nashwaak River with construction set to begin as soon as next week.
   Mr. Bubar, the association's chair- man, said the citizens of Nashwaak Bridge want to restore a sense of history to their community.
   "It brings back that by-gone era," he said.
   The new covered bridge, expected to be completed in July 1999, will become part of the Scenic New Brunswick Trail and will be open to pedestrians and cyclists.
   At one time Nashwaak Bridge was an important farming and logging community. Today, farming and logging make up only a small part of its character.
   Recently, the community has lost its train station, its hockey rink as well as its school.
   Building a covered bridge will help rejuvenate Nashwaak Bridge and attract tourists to the area, said Mr. Bubar.
   "The thing is they're rare," he said of New Brunswick's covered bridges.
   "You don't see that now." Lee Robichaud, one of the Nashwaak Bridge Development Association's directors, said the entire community came together to bring the covered bridge idea to life.
   "Without the community support I don't think we could have done it," he said.
   Mr. Robichaud said a few people remember there was once a covered bridge in Nashwaak Bridge.
   "It's a little touch of the past coming back to life," he said.

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