Found along the coast of the Acadian Peninsula, the Joseph Allain Nature Preserve is comprised of two separate properties located near the Village of Néguac, about 35 km northeast of Miramichi in Northumberland County.
The larger portion of the nature preserve (8.9 hectares or 22.1 acres) is situated directly on the southern shores of the Acadian Peninsula. With no road access it borders the Miramichi Bay, where the Rivière-Des-Caches ends and mixes with Atlantic waters. Across the river and west of Hay Island (or Ile-aux-foins Park) is the remainder of the preserve (0.23 hectares or 0.57 acres), which is accessible by Joseph Road.
The Joseph Allain Nature Preserve was donated to the Nature Trust in 2014 by members of the Allain family, Edouard Allain and his sister Marielle (Allain) Lachance, former residents of the Village of Néguac. The donation was made in memory of their grandfather Joseph Allain who was once the lighthouse keeper on Hay Island and owned much of the surrounding coastal land in the village. A portion of the land known as “Pointe-à-Morin” (“Morin’s Point”) holds important cultural heritage for the region as a past Acadian settlement, and was used as a trading post in the late 1700s.
Néguac is a Maritime multicultural mosaic made up of Acadians, Mi’kmaq First Nations, and Anglophones. Because of the harsh climate and poor quality of soil in this area, the village’s economy has relied primarily on fisheries and forestry. Currently, the Village of Néguac is known as Atlantic Canada’s Oyster Hub.
The ecosystems protected within the nature preserve includes upland forest, barrier beach, salt marsh and bog. A portion of the land (approximately 8.4 hectares or 21 acres) is recognized as Provincially Significant Wetland, providing important habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Many great blue herons frequent the nature preserve and other potential bird species to be found in the area include Northern pintail, common goldeneye, osprey, common merganser, and more.
The Joseph Allain Nature Preserve adds to efforts in the region to protect crucial waterfowl and shorebird habitat. To the north of the nature preserve is land protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, including the Néguac Sandspit and the Tabusintac Estuary Nature Reserve, which is recognized as an Important Bird Area and one of only two Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in the province. Located approximately 6 km offshore of Joseph Allain Nature Preserve in Miramichi Bay is also the Portage Island National Wildlife Area.
Access and Activities
The largest portion of the Joseph Allain Nature Preserve currently has no road access, though it is accessible by boat from the Rivière-Des-Caches. The smaller portion is located on Joseph Road. Due to the sensitivity of the wetland habitat, visitors are asked to enjoy the beauty of the preserve and take advantage of the bird watching opportunities from a boat or from the shoreline.
Nearby Ile-aux-foins Park in the Village of Néguac offers an unsupervised salt water beach with opportunities to swim and bird watch with observation towers for better views. The park also offers boardwalks with interpretation guides explaining the flora and fauna found within the park.
Directions to the Joseph Allain Nature Preserve from Fredericton:
• Follow NB-8 N to NB-11 N to Néguac, NB (210 km).
• Turn right onto Rue Joseph Street.
*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.