Nature Trust of New Brunswick

MacNichol-Orser Conservation Easement

Photo Credit: M. Sheppard

St. Stephen, Charlotte County


The MacNichol-Orser Conservation Easement is 930 hectares (2,313 acres) of forest and wetlands along the St. Croix River in Charlotte County. It is owned in trust by the Orser family of Ohio. They have signed a conservation easement with Nature Trust. The purpose of the easement is to limit development of the preserve to protecting its ecological integrity, in particular its waterways and rare plant habitats. The preserve is located approximately 20 km north of St. Stephen near Scotch Ridge.


In December 2006, the Nature Trust officially received one of the largest ecological gifts of its kind in Canada. Mrs. Carol Orser, who inherited the land from her father, George P. MacNichol, said that her family has used, loved, and cared for the land for five generations and thought that establishing a conservation easement on the land would be a fitting way of protecting the river and the land.

The MacNichol-Orser Conservation Easement includes one and a half lakes, 3.5 km of trails and 3.6 km of St. Croix River frontage. King Brook, a meandering stream that winds through peat land for several kilometers before entering the St. Croix, is also preserved in the arrangement. The project is almost the last piece of a puzzle that has seen government and private land trust initiatives on both sides of the St. Croix River protect nearly 275 km of river frontage. Future generations of New Brunswickers  will benefit from the fact that this pristine landscape will remain in tact, in perpetuity. The St. Croix International Waterway Commission, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada and Ducks Unlimited are thanked for their assistance with the easement.


The preserve hosts 338 vascular plant species and 118 bryophytes, as well as a number of significant and diverse habitats representing the unique floral assemblage of Charlotte County. A survey of the preserve in 2000 found 11 provincially rare plants and 4 rare bryophytes, while the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre reports 28 rare plants, 4 rare bryophytes, 3 rare insects, and 1 rare fish in the vicinity. Significant habitats include a flood-plain zone along the St. Croix River, King Brook Lake and its surrounding peatland / swamp, and two tolerant hardwood stands.

Access and Activities

The western portion of the easement is accessed from the Gleason Point Road (Hwy 735) and the eastern portion from the Basswood Ridge Road (HWY 740). It is bounded to the west by the St. Croix River. The preserve should not be entered without the permission of the owners obtained by contacting the Nature Trust.

View or navigate to this preserve via Google Maps.

Click the map below for more detail.

*The property is undeveloped and there are a variety of hazards and risks associated with accessing this preserve. While this nature preserve is open for public access, visitors must assume responsibility for their own actions and safety and are to use the land at their own risk.*


The Nature Trust of New Brunswick
404 Queen St. 3rd floor
P.O. Box 603, Station A
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A6
Phone: (506)457-2398
Fax: (506)450-2137

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