Proposed Development Plan: The Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail is an ideal link between the NB Trails, the Daly Point trails in Bathurst, the International Appalachian Trail and the trails in Mount Carleton Provincial Park. A lot of planning, time, and money has already been spent on the trail. The first priority is to establish the links between NB Trails and the Mi’gmaq Trail at Pabineau Falls. At present, the start of the trail is on the west side of the river but the planned bridge was never constructed. Therefore, from the beginning, it discourages hikers from using the trail since there is no access to the trail on the east side of the river. By staying on the east side of the river, the trail could be extended along the river, heading down-river to the railway line at the Gloucester Junction. At the Junction, the abandonned rail bed, which goes to Caraquet, could be used to make the link to NB Trails. The name of the trail should incorporate the name Nepisiguit. This would differentiate it from the Micmac Trail in Nova Scotia and the Mi’gmaq Route in Quebec. Also, because it follows the Nepisiguit River from its origin to the mouth of the Nepisiguit River, the River is a constant companion to the hiker. The Trail is divided into sections so as to make it more manageable. This was based on walking about 20 km for a day’s hike. The Trail can be further sub-divided by establishing 10 km picnic sites thus breaking up the trail in 10 km segments. This would give the option of doing a 10, 20 or 30 km day hike. Here are draft ideas on the 20 km Sections and the 10 km segments for comments or discussion. Gloucester Junction was used as the starting point and Pine Point as the end. There can be different options as to where a hiker makes his or her starting/finishing point.
SECTION 1 GLOUCESTER JUNCTION TO MIDDLE LANDING (about 20 km)
This consists of approximately 7 km of new trail to establish and approximately 11 km of completed trail. The completed trail needs to be cleaned and worked on. The 10 km picnic area would be at Pabineau Falls. By having the bridge constructed, this could also be an alternate starting point.
SECTION 2 MIDDLE LANDING TO THE NARROWS (about 20 km)
This section needs about 7 km of new trail on the east side of the River. The 10 km picnic area could be along the Nepisiguit Basin. This site could be serviced from the Knight’s Brook access by canoe. About 2 to 3 km of new trail is needed along the Gorge and the Head Pond. The remaining part of the trail to the Narrows is in fairly good condition. There is an access road to a camp (Pine Tree Camp) above the Head Pond that traverses the Trail. Maybe the owners of the camp may be interested in maintaining the Trail to the Narrows.
SECTION 3 THE NARROWS TO COLES BROOK (about 20 km)
This would be the most remote part of the Trail system. At the Narrows, an access trail is needed to get from a logging road to the Narrows (about 400m), At present, there is a cut line that leaves the road and goes to the River. A wilderness campsite would have to be established. For maintenance of the section, a possible access point could be along Taylor Brook from the Taylor Brook Road. The 10 km picnic area could be established at Nine-Mile Pool and serviced by canoe from Hyw. # 430 and the Nine-Mile Brook road. Around the Coles Brook area, a wilderness campsite could be established. Access to this site would be along old logging roads.
SECTION 4 COLES BROOK TO FORTY-FOUR MILE BROOK (about 20 km)
This section would be along the south side of the river until reaching Heath Steele Bridge. From the Bridge, it is recommended to change the location of the trail from the south side of the river to the north side. This would involve brushing out 50 km of new trail. On the aspect of accessibility, maintenance and safety, it would be well worth the effort. The 10 km picnic area could be a location along the river between the Bridge and Forty-Mile Brook.
SECTION 5 FORTY-FOUR MILE BROOK TO INDIAN FALLS DEPOT (about 15 km)
This could be a highly used section of the trail and by making the section access points shorter, it would be used by more people of all ages doing a short day stroll. There are many (at least 5) small trails at intervals of 2 to 3 km leading to the river as access points. Because of these access trails, the establishment and maintenance of the Trail will be fairly easy. Of course, the picnic spot would be Indian Falls.
SECTION 6 INDIAN FALLS DEPOT TO SOUTH BRANCH NEPISIGUIT RIVER (about 15 km)
This section also has many access trails to the river. This would make it easier to establish a new trail and maintain it afterwards. The area already has established picnic sites at the TV Tower Road and Devil’s Elbow. Governors Wilderness Resort at Popple Depot is an ideal place for lodging and meals. For the persons who prefer wilderness camping, a wilderness campsite could be established at the mouth of the South Branch of the Nepisiguit River.
SECTION 7 SOUTH BRANCH NEPISIGUIT RIVER TO SILVER BROOK (about 20 km)
The trail along this section is in fairly good condition. From Popple Depot to the Park boundary, the Trail is located in the Protected Natural Area. To join the existing trail, the hiker would cross the bridge at Popple Depot, skirt the DNR camp and join the already established trail. The picnic site area could be established at the Pentland Brook Pool. To service this site, access would be by the Old River Road and crossing the river by canoe. For the wilderness camping, there are two alternatives. If the McEwen Bridge is rebuilt, the campsite could be at the McEwen Landing. If not, a wilderness campsite could be located at the Silver Brook Farm site. Because this site is more remote and in the Park, it may be more difficult to establish.
SECTION 8 SILVER BROOK TO PINE POINT (about 11 km)
This section is entirely in the Park and discussion with Tourism and Parks must be established before any plans are finalized. The proposed trail would follow along the west bank of the Nepisiguit River to the head of the “Rock Garden”. Then, the proposed trail would follow the valley between Mount Cooney and Mount Teneriffe, an old historic trail. This would join the existing trail at the head of Moose Lake.
DEVELOPMENT PLAN GOALS
- How can this be accomplished?
- We want to establish a group similar to Friends of the Fundy Footpath.
- We want to establish a working relationship with the Pabineau First Nation, the originators in the establishment of the Trail.
- We want to work with NB Trail Council Inc. so as to provide us with support, incorporate their goals and planning with ours and to serve as the organization who will establish the links to NB Trails and the International Appalachian trail for the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail
- We want to work with the Provincial & local governments
- We want to work with DNR Bathurst Headquarters and Regional Office so as to have support, technical advice and approval for any changes to the location of the trail.
- We want to establish a rapport with UPM Kemmene, the Crown License Operator in the area where the Trail is located, for support and technical advice.
- We want to work with land owners for access to their land in establishing the historic trail.
- We want to work with Department of Tourism and the staff of Mount Carleton Provincial Park so as to make the link between the Appalachian Trail and the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail.
- We want to work with Governors Wilderness Resort so as to have a link between the tourist operators and the Trail.
- We want to work with the Forest Technician & Environment schools at the Collège Communautaire de Bathurst.
- We want to work with Daly Point Nature Reserve
- We want to work with the Local & Provincial Advisory Committees of the Natural Protected Areas.
- We want to work with anybody who is willing to help, support or encourage the project.