The Slippery Mitten Nature Preserve is made up of four parcels of land totaling 36 hectares (88 acres) and includes part of a 10 km trail system, which is popular for hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The nature preserve is also within walking distance of Crabbe Mountain—an alpine ski hill with the largest vertical descent in the Maritime Provinces.
In 2014, Earl Brewer donated the land to the Nature Trust, creating the present day nature preserve to ensure the land will remain undeveloped and enjoyed by local residents and visitors.
Historically, the area was used for forestry. The Slippery Mitten trails were recently established, allowing local residents and ski groups to take advantage of the outdoor recreation it provides. Since 2001, Brian Clark, a retired paralegal, and Tony Little, a retired forester, have developed and maintained the trail system, putting hundreds of hours of work into the trails each year.
Since the 1700s, the original forests have been altered by tree harvesting and agriculture. Mixed stands of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), tolerant hardwoods, spruce (Picea), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) were more abundant in the distant past. The area still consists of mixed-wood forest with aspen (Populus), red maple (Acer rubrum), white spruce (Picea glauca), and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) being common and mature eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), white birch (Betula papyrifera), and some gray birch (Betula populifolia) found in the older growth eastern portion of the trail.
This nature preserve can be found within the Valley Lowlands Ecoregion, which is the largest of New Brunswick’s ecoregions and is known for its ecological diversity. With the majority of the preserve covered in mixed-wood forest, wetlands and small streams are also present. The preserve hosts an array of common New Brunswick wildlife such as moose (Alces alces), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is also in the area, as the species has been observed using neighbour’s bird feeders. By taking a fairly ‘hands-off’ approach to land stewardship, the Nature Trust will give this forest time to regenerate.
Access and Activities
Although motorized vehicles are not permitted, this nature preserve is great for hiking, walking, running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife watching. The Wostawea X-Country Ski Club, based in Fredericton, and running groups use these trails.
The Slippery Mitten Trail consists of four groomed trails: The ‘B’ Line, Sue’s Straight-a-way, Phillips Flyer and Fathead’s Fartlek; six packed trails: Little Cross-Cuts 1-6; and a snowshoe trail: Sammy’s Shoepacker (see trail map here).
Directions from Fredericton:
Cross the Westmorland St. Bridge
Continue onto Ring Rd/NB-105 N (Continue to follow NB-105 N)- 17km
Turn right onto NB-104 N (signs for Burtts Corner/Millville) – 20.8km
Turn right onto Central Hainesville Rd- 8.0km
Turn left onto Flume Crescent Drive where Slippery Mitten Trails can be accessed
*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.