Fundy National Park, Saint John, NB, Canada | CruiseBe
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Fundy National Park

Natural sights
national park, nature beauty

Fundy National Park is located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma, New Brunswick. The Park showcases a rugged coastline which rises up to the Acadian Highlands, the highest tides in the world, and more than 25 waterfalls. The Park covers an area of 207 km2 (80 sq mi) along Chignecto Bay, the northwestern branch of the Bay of Fundy. When one looks across the Bay, they can see the northern Nova Scotia coast.

At low tide, park visitors can explore the ocean floor where a variety of sea creatures (e.g., dog whelk, periwinkles, various seaweeds) cling to life. At high tide, the ocean floor disappears under 15 m (50 ft)of salt water.

There are 25 hiking trails throughout the park. The Caribou Plains trail and boardwalk provides access to upland forest and bog habitats. Dickson Falls is the most popular trail in the park.

Park amenities include a golf course, a heated saltwater swimming pool, three campgrounds, and a network of over 100 km of hiking and biking trails. During the winter, Fundy National Park is available for day use, at one's own risk. Visitors use the park to go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobagganing, and winter walking. The cross-country ski trails are groomed by the local Chignecto Ski Club.

A variety of scientific projects are ongoing in the Park, with the primary focus on monitoring the park's ecology. Recent projects have focused on re-establishing aquatic connectivity in the park (Bennett Lake Dam, new Culverts, Dickson Brook restoration. Species such as the endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon, Martens and Fishers (members of the weasel family), brook trout, eel, and moose are monitored regularly.

The Dobson Trail and Fundy Footpath extend out of the park to Riverview and to St. Martins respectively. A unique red-painted covered bridge is located at Point Wolfe.

Other rivers that flow through the park include the:

  • Broad River
  • Point Wolfe River
  • Upper Salmon River


Natural environment

According to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the park is located in the Level III- Eastern Temperate Forests (Maine-New Brunswick Plains and Hills) ecoregion. According to the Ecological Framework of Canada, the park is situated in two distinct ecoregions. The southern section of the park falls in the Fundy Coast ecoregion. This region experiences cool, wet summers and mild, rainy winters. Its coniferous forest consists of red spruce, balsam fir, and red maple with some white spruce, and white and yellow birch. Some sugar maple and beech trees are also found here at higher elevations. The northern section of the park falls in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands ecoregion. This ecoregion experiences summers that are warm and rainy, and winters that are mild and snowy. Its mixed-wood forest contains mainly sugar and red maple, white and red spruce and balsam fir trees. Finally, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature the park is located in the New England-Acadian forest ecoregion.


The park is home to 658 species of vascular plants, 276 species of bryophytes, and more than 400 species of lichens. The Fundy forest is generally a mixed-wood forest composed of red spruce (Picea rubens), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), white birch (Betulla papyrifera), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and red maple (Acer rubrum). The mixed-wood forest floor is blanketed with moss, wood fern (Dryopteris), and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis).

Pure hardwood stands (distinguishable communities of tree species within a forest) account for 5.4% of the Fundy forest cover. The most abundant pure hardwood stands are yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) and white birch (Betulla papyrifera). There are also some sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum), and beech (Fagus) stands. Carolina springbeauty (Claytonia caroliniana) and trout-lily (Erythronium americanum) bloom in the hardwood forest every year.

The coniferous forest in the park represents the boreal element of Fundy’s forest cover. Although pure stands of conifer are rare in the park, the Fundy forest has some of the last pure stands of red spruce (Picea rubens) found in eastern North America.

The bogs of the park are blanketed with sphagnum moss (Sphagnum) from which grow black spruce (Picea mariana) and Eastern larch (Larix laricina). Within the park’s Caribou Plain bog, three carnivorous plant species are found: pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea), sundew (Drosera anglica), and bladderwort (Utricularia).

Some rare plant species are also found in the park. Bird’s-eye primrose (Primula farinosa) is found along the Point Wolfe and Goose River coastal cliffs, and several other rare flora species, namely slender spikemoss (Selaginella viridissima), squashberry (Viburnum edule), green spleenwort (Asplenium viride), rare sedges, and fir clubmoss (Huperzia selago), are found along the eastern branch of the Point Wolfe River and the lower part of Bennett Brook.


Animals that inhabit this national park are snowshoe hares, chipmunks, cormorants, red squirrels, pileated woodpeckers, little brown bats, peregrine falcons, black bears, coyotes, beavers, white-tailed deer, white-winged crossbills, various mice and shrews, juncos, sandpipers, raccoons, warblers, plovers, great blue herons, and northern flying squirrels.

Tourism and administration

Located in Alma, New Brunswick, Fundy National park is operated by Parks Canada an agency of the Government of Canada that is managed by Environment Canada. For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Parks Canada plans to spend $693.7 million to manage its 44 national parks, 964 places of national historic significance, and 4 national marine conservation areas. Of these national historic sites, 167 are directly administered by Parks Canada.


The park received 240,481 visitors during the 2012-2013 year; a decrease of 7% compared to 2011-2012. It is the most visited Parks Canada site in New Brunswick. Data from previous years reveal that 40% of people who camped at the park were from New Brunswick, 8% were from Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island, and 52% were from outside the Maritimes. In 2005, visitors from outside of the Maritimes were 59% adult couples and 29% families; while visitors from the Maritimes were 67% families and 24% adult couples.


Fundy National Park lies between the Saint John River system and the Petitcodiac River system. Easy inland portage routes used by native peoples joined these waterways. It appears that the exposed coastal paddle was not a favourite route of travel. Humans left little evidence of their passing in what is present-day Fundy National Park until European settlement began in this area around 1825. This is a late date for settlement considering that, nearby, Acadians had arrived in the 1600s, and Mi'kmaq and Maliseet long before that. The rugged coastline and quickly rising highlands were not particularly inviting. Rocky, acidic soils combined with cool summers and harsh winters were not conducive to prosperous homesteading. It was a good place for trees, however.

The unexploited wilderness soon became attractive as a source of lumber for the rapidly growing city of Saint John, eighty kilometres to the west, and for export to England, the Caribbean islands and New England.


Point Wolfe Saw Mill

Today you can still find pieces of brick on Point Wolfe beach from the 20 metre tall smokestack that once stood at the Point Wolfe sawmill.

Several small communities grew within the existing park boundaries, populated by immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and England. The more desirable coastal land was the first to be settled. Many immigrants received land grants on the highlands where conditions were not good for farming, and many abandoned their land within a generation. The coastal settlements fared better. Small sawmills, shipbuilding and fishing operations thrived during the 1800s. Point Wolfe village, with its sawmill at the mouth of the Point Wolfe River, became the main settlement in the area.

Point Wolfe Village

The millpond and the buildings of Point Wolfe village are no longer there but throughout the park evidence remains of the settlers who lived here before the park.

Jobs were seasonal in nature. Most men worked in winter lumber camps and on spring log drives as primary sources of income. Summer and autumn work focused on their farms. Women remained on the homestead year-round, left to manage the complexities of the household, farm and child rearing.

As with any resource-based industry, times change. The easily accessible trees had been cut by the late 1800s. Sawmill refuse had clogged rivers and nearby coastal areas, harming fish populations and preventing Atlantic salmon from entering rivers to spawn. The fishery declined. Wooden boats and sail gave way to steel and steam. By 1922 the large mills, river drives and shipbuilding were no more. People emigrated, seeking better opportunities in cities elsewhere in Canada and the United States. A period of decreasing population and declining economic activity followed.

Years later, in 1948, this area was chosen as New Brunswick's first national park, both to stimulate the economy and to preserve the area's natural beauty.

Fundy National Park was proclaimed in the Canada Gazette on April 10, 1948. The minister responsible, the Honourable James Allison Glen, headed the Department of Mines & Resources from April 18, 1945 to June 10, 1948 under William Lyon Mackenzie King.


The park includes several communities when it was expropriated including:

  • Hastings
  • Upper Salmon River
  • Butland Settlement

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