At 12.7 hectares (31.38 acres), Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve is located on Lower Presque Isle Island (also known as Peele Island) in the middle of the Wolastoq (Saint John) River in Simonds, NB, about 8 km upstream from Arthur Kyle Nature Preserve in Hartland and about 10 km downstream from Green Island Nature Preserve in Florenceville-Bristol.
Since 1850, potatoes have been farmed heavily along this stretch of the Wolastoq (Saint John) River surrounding the island, causing erosion and topsoil runoff in areas with a minimal buffer zone. In 2014, the island was purchased by the Nature Trust from Martini Realties Ltd. of Montreal to protect and preserve important habitat for Species at Risk.
In 2015, the Nature Trust held a competition with students from Florenceville Elementary School to name the island nature preserve and engage them with local conservation and stewardship efforts. The name selected, Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve, was submitted by Mrs. Shaw’s grade three class and inspired by the healthy population of eagles often seen flying over the island and surrounding areas. In their submission, the students explained that they had learned from talking to their parents and other adults in their community, that the eagle population at one time was not doing well in the area, but, because of changes that were made to protect them, they were able to rebound. “We think that this shows that changes that we choose to make CAN make a difference,” stated their submission. “We believe that the majestic eagles will be watching over the island and its many creatures and plants for years to come.”
Half of the island is identified as Provincially Significant Wetland, while the remaining area consists of forested land, as well barren sand and rocky cobble along the perimeter. This particular substrate provides critical habitat necessary for the survival of important Species at Risk. Local citizens help to steward the nature preserve, keeping a watchful eye on the island and the species at risk it protects.
A survey of tree and shrub species on the island is to be scheduled in the coming years.
Access and Activities
Due to the presence of the endangered Species at Risk, please view this island preserve and its flora and fauna from the shore or from a canoe or kayak on the beautiful Wolastoq (Saint John) River. A convenient place to view the island is from the Trans Canada Trail on Main Street in Simonds. Although the island is accessible only by boat, the following recreational activities are possible here: bird watching, swimming, boating, picnicking, and wildlife watching.
*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.