Mapleton Acadian Forest Nature Preserve
Elgin, Albert County
The Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail Nature Preserve was established in 2016 to be conserved in perpetuity through a partnership between The Elgin Eco Association and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. This 65 ha (160 acres) property boasts an extensive interpretive nature trail system within a historic Acadian Forest habitat. The 3 km nature trail includes interpretive signs, footbridges, an observation platform, and a traditional sugar shack; traversing new and old-growth forest featuring brooks, ravines, and an ecologically sensitive area comprised of giant hemlocks.
There is remnants of a manganese processing plant from the 1930’s-1940’s and a sugar camp, providing a peak into the history of the area. Sections were also used for selective forestry, until the Elgin Eco Association became the stewards in 2002 and shifted to using the land for conservation and education. When the area was sold to be clear-cut, the Elgin Eco Association initiated a grassroots movement to conserve the area and trail. Through campaigning, fundraising, and partnering with the Nature Trust, this important natural and cultural heritage site became conserved in perpetuity as the Mapleton Acadian Forest Nature Preserve.
The Acadian forest habitat is where the northern Boreal Forest and the Southern Deciduous forest meet and mix, resulting in a mix of hardwood and softwood tree species. Within this unique habitat, the productive soils and a cool climates supports a diversity of wildlife and unique plant communities. The Acadian forest is endangered in North America, and under great threat of disappearing in New Brunswick, with only one percent of the original forest habitat left. The hemlock grove found on the nature preserve has a dense canopy, limiting snow accumulation, and provides shelter for various mammals.
The elusive nocturnal Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has been found to nest in the preserve and the song of the endangered Chimney Swift (Chaetura palegica) has been heard. This bird draws attention from their loud and theatrical nesting habit in which thousands of Chimney Swifts gather together at dusk to roost together at one site. However, adequate nesting and roosting sites are becoming less available due to changes in chimney structures and limited large standing snag trees remaining, causing the birds’ decline in numbers.
Access and Activities
The entrance to the Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail is located 4.4 km down the NB-895 after turning off the NB-905. The entrance is a gravel road on the right, with a Mapleton Acadian Trail Forest sign. Head down the gravel road until you come to a gravel parking lot and trail head.
Visitors are required to stay on the trail when visiting the nature preserve. Trail is steep in sections, level of difficulty is rated at moderate.