The Arthur Kyle Nature Preserve consists of 2.83 hectares (7 acres) on the Middle Becaguimec Island, located near the Town of Hartland, where the Becaguimec Stream flows into the Wolastoq (Saint John) River. It is located between the Hugh John Flemming Bridge on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Hartland Covered Bridge.
Born in Hartland in 1921, Dr. Joseph Kyle, an ophthalmologist who practiced in Niagara Falls, Ontario, donated Middle Becaguimec Island to the Nature Trust in March 2004 to protect and preserve the island for the benefit of nature and future generations of New Brunswickers.
The island is a gravel bar, submerged for a portion of the year, with a wooded and shrub-covered area at the southern end. It is home to the Anticosti Aster (Symphyotrichum anticostense), which is federally listed as a threatened species. This nature preserve gave the first formal protection to this plant, which has a range from the upper shores of the Restigouche and Wolastoq (Saint John) River, to the Gaspé Peninsula, Anticosti Island, and northern Maine.
The Anticosti Aster is a slender perennial plant that grows 50-60 cm tall. Its small daisy-like flowers bloom in late summer, have a yellow center and pale purple or blue outer rays, and occur on very long stalks. The leaves are narrow and often arching. The Anticosti Aster is dependent on cyclic disturbances caused by spring high waters to keep shrubs and other competing species from taking over the habitat and gradually eliminating the aster.
Becaguimec Island is also home to Brunet’s milk-vetch (Astralagus alpinus), stemless locoweed (Oxytropiscam pestris), blue flag Iris (Iris versicolor), and giant Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus).
Access and Activities
You can view this island preserve and its fauna and flora from the shore or from a canoe on the beautiful St. John River. A convenient place to view the island is from the Trans Canada Trail in the local park located across Mill Street in Hartland.
*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.