The James C. Yerxa Nature Preserve is 3 hectares (7.4 acres) and resides along the Keswick River and Highway 105. It is known for its large hardwood trees and the presence of numerous rare and uncommon plants.
Mr. Leonard Yerxa donated this preserve to the Nature Trust in late 2002 in memory of his father, James C. Yerxa, for whom the preserve is named after.
The site is representative of the richly fertile alluvial silver maple floodplain forest of the lower Wolastoq (Saint John) River and its tributaries. This preserve contains Appalachian Hardwood forest, which has declined in the province since the late 1800’s due to extensive development for agriculture, and more recently for housing.
The preserve also contains an old oxbow of the Keswick River and is host to organisms that are uncommon in New Brunswick such as the Rugel’s plantain (Plantagorugelii). Other plants found here are the red maple, American elm, highbush cranberry, chokecherry, elderberry, hawthorn, and red osier dogwood. In addition to plants, the area attracts many water birds when the rivers flood in spring. Rare birds such as the cinnamon teal (Anascyanoptera) and glossy ibis (Plegadisfalcinellus) have been seen here.
Access and Activities
Located approximately 15 km west of Fredericton, NB., visitors can access Yerxa Preserve by a dirt lane off Highway 105, immediately west of the Keswick Ridge bridge. Park in the turn-around area near the river.
There are no hiking trails, however this preserve is a great get-away for local artists who are inspired by its natural beauty.
*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.