The Blueberry Hill Nature Preserve is located on the boundary in the Grand Bay-Westfield area and the City of Saint John. This nature preserve is 19.8 hectares (48.9 acres) and has an easterly shoreline along the Saint John River at Grand Bay. The Blueberry Hill Nature Preserve is one of the last undeveloped properties in the area and supports a variety of ecosystems and walking trails. The Friends of Blueberry Hill serve as stewards of the preserve. The group is made up of 150 members from surrounding communities who have been very involved with the preserve. They have initiated projects such as stewardship fundraising, culvert removal, road and trail planning and the installation of a new bridge.
Blueberry Hill’s historic significance resides in the remnants of the “Old Stevens’ Family Farmhouse” which is still visible on the site. Built in the early 1800’s near the top of the hill by the Stevens family, the property once featured plum, pear, and apple orchards. The Stevens family also farmed pigs, cows and sheep while growing grain, oats, and hay.
This preserve contains five main habitat types:
A gramminoid meadow and small brook. In the southern portion of the property, a large wetland complex borders Henderson Brook. This has at times been modified by beaver activity;
Dry open old field in various states of forest regeneration;
Shrub wetland found along the western portion of the preserve with young red ash, mountain ash and speckled alder;
The northern portion of the preserves loops down to the Grand Bay shoreline and is dominated by mature red spruce, white and red pine;
A rocky shoreline along Grand Bay.
The preserve is home to the threatened Anticosti Aster (Symphyotrichum anticostense). By 2000, the plant had only been found at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and in isolated sites in New Brunswick and Maine. However, more recent botanical surveys have revealed multiple new locations of this species, including the Arthur Kyle Nature Preserve near Hartland, and this preserve.
Access and Activities
The main entrance to the preserve is from Bayview Road in Grand Bay-Westfield where there is a parking area and a walking trail to the preserve. Since the completion of the bridge crossing over Henderson Brook, there is increased accessibility through the preserve with 1.3 km of walking trails for visitors to enjoy.
*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.