nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘virtual cycling along the Baie-des-Chaleurs in New Brunswick’ Category

preserving coastal marsh (day 24 and 25)

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The last few days of my virtual biking have reminded me of the need to preserve coastal areas, including barrier beaches and coastal salt marsh.  Day 24 and 25 of my virtual travels took me along Youghall Beach near Bathurst.  This barrier beach has been almost entirely developed with seasonal and year-round residences.

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24-25

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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8-24  March 24, 2014   35 minutes (south of Youghall Beach to  Youghall)

8-25  March 25, 2014   30 minutes ( Youghall to south of Youghall) 

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aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left)  (image from Street View)

aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left) (image from Street View)

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Peters River salt marsh

Peters River salt marsh (image from Street View)

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One of the reasons to protect barrier beaches from development is the close association with coastal marshes and their sensitive wild life.  For example, the coastal marshes in the Bathurst area, including the coastal salt marshes of the Peters River near Youghall Beach, are home to the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  The Maritime Ringlet (Coenonympha nipisiquit McDunnough) is a small butterfly with a wing-span of four centimeters.  It is buff-and-rusty-coloured, with a dark eyespot.

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This butterfly is endangered, because it faces extinction.  It is ‘endemic’ to the salt marshes of the Baie-des-Chaleurs – this is the only place in the world where this butterfly lives.   The butterfly can only live in the salt marsh – the Maritime Ringlet caterpillar lives on salt marsh grasses (Spartina patens) and the adult uses Sea Lavender (Limonium nashii) as its nectar source.

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Government and conservation groups in New Brunswick have worked together to educate homeowners about protecting the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  They list practical steps people can take to ensure the habitat of this endangered butterfly is protected.  These include: not filling in the marsh, not burning marsh grasses, not using vehicles in the marsh, not picking marsh wildflowers such as Sea Lavender, and not going into the marsh.  For more information on the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly and its protection, see  http://www.bathurstsustainabledevelopment.com/userfiles/file/HSP%20Final%20MR%20ENGLISH%20brochure.pdf

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March 27, 2014  'Maritime Ringlet Butterfly'  Jane Tims

March 27, 2014 ‘Maritime Ringlet Butterfly’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2014  Jane Tims

between the salt marsh and the sea (day 21, 22 and 23)

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My virtual biking in early March took me along the last length of coast before Bathurst.  This is an area of coastal salt marsh and barrier beach.  It is also an area where a lot of coastal development has occurred.  My bike ride revived many memories of days when I worked on the provincial coastal policy.

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21-23

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-21  March 1, 2014   40 minutes  (Petit-Rocher-Sud to east of Nigadoo)

8-22  March 4, 2014   30 minutes (east of Nigadoo to  Beresford)

8-23  March 8, 2014   30 minutes (Beresford to south of Yougall Beach)

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The prominent landscape feature in the area is a huge coastal salt marsh and a barrier beach.  I certainly understand why people would want to live near to the sea.  However, the development of the barrier beach can harm the beach environment, puts the health of the ecologically important salt marsh at risk, and sometimes creates a safety issue for the homes and cottages along the beach (people who live along the beach are at risk of coastal erosion, storm surge and walls of ice that build up along this coast).

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Beresford Beach aerial

aerial view showing Beresford barrier beach, the coastal salt marsh behind it and the waters of the Baie-des-Chaleurs (map from Google Earth)

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The community of Beresford has preserved a portion of the beach and marsh, creating the Passerelle, a long boardwalk to enable people to appreciate the marsh and the bird life there.  The Passerelle can also be seen in the upper left corner of the aerial view above (a white, curved structure crossing a corner of the marsh pond).

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viewing area along Beresford Marsh

a view of the Passerelle boardwalk on the Beresford Marsh (image from Street View)

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Once private land is developed, either for seasonal or year-round residential use, the only way to protect the beach and salt marsh is to encourage homeowners along the barrier beach to live as gently as possible.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

 

 

fencing us in (day 19 and 20)

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When I first moved to New Brunswick, rail fences could be seen almost everywhere in rural areas.  The design was simple – stacks of very long cedar logs in a zigzag without posts at the junction. The logs were piled from 3 to 4 high and were very weathered.  These fences used cedar in the construction because of its natural ability to withstand rot.

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As the years go by, these fences have gradually disappeared from the landscape.  Part of this is because the fences eventually deteriorate.  Also, people salvage the rails for landscaping and other projects.

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19-20

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-19  February 25, 2014   30 minutes  (Petit-Rocher-Nord to Petit-Rocher)

8-20   February 27, 2014   30 minutes (Petit-Rocher to Petit-Rocher-Sud)

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Although I haven’t seen the zigzag style of rail fence on my virtual bike trip along the northern New Brunswick coast, I have seen other rail fence designs.  These fences are also built of cedar, but the rails are supported at the junctions by short lengths of cedar …

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rail fence Nash Creek

rail fence near Nash Creek (image from Street View)

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or on a sort of ladder, consisting of two posts and cross-members …

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rail fence Pointe verte

rail fence near Pointe Verte (image from Street View)

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When I was younger, sitting on a fence like any of these was on my list of favorite things to do.  Today, our property is fenced with a zigzag style cedar rail fence, built by my husband who is proud to say not a nail is used in the construction …

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nailess rail fence round our property

zigzag rail fence round our property

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I wonder if there are nails used in this rail fence …

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March 5, 2014  'rail fence'  Jane Tims

March 5, 2014 ‘rail fence’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

flags all flying (day 17 and 18)

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During my virtual travelling along the north shore of New Brunswick I often see flags flying, representing the esteem of people for their country and their heritage …

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17-18

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-17  February 21, 2014   30 minutes  (Belledune to Devereau)

8-18   February 25, 2014   35 minutes (Devereau to Petit-Rocher-Nord)

(I also took a quick sidetrip on the highway south to Madran – the beauty of travelling virtually)

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All along the coast of northern New Brunswick, people are proud to display their flags.  As I ‘cycle’ along the road I see three flag designs …

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The red and white Canadian flag with its maple leaf …

Canadian flag

a Canadian flag near Campbellton (image from Street View)

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the New Brunswick flag (based on the province’s Coat of Arms and depicting a red lion and a ship) …

nb flag

the yellow, red and blue New Brunswick flag showing the ship from the Coat of Arms (image from Street View)

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and the Acadian flag …

Acadian flag

the blue, white and red Acadian flag showing its gold star (image from Street View)

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The Acadians are the descendants of French colonists of the 17th century who settled in Acadia (the Maritime Provinces, parts of Quebec and Maine).  Today, over 1/3 of New Brunswickers are Acadian and New Brunswick is officially bilingual (French and English).

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The Acadian flag represents Acadians all over the world.  The flag is blue, white and red, like the flag of France.  On the blue field is a gold star, the Stella Maris (Star of the Sea).  The star represents the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Acadians.

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Along the north shore of New Brunswick, the colours of the Acadian flag are represented on various objects, including telephone poles in some communities …

painted pole

a painted telephone pole in Madran (image from Street View)

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on lobster traps …

LOBSTER TRAPS_crop

colours of the Acadian flag on a lobster trap (image from Street View)

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and on rocks …

February 25, 2014  'roche Acadienne'  Jane Tims

February 25, 2014 ‘roche Acadienne’ Jane Tims

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The Acadian flag and its representations remind me how proud I am to live in a province that includes the rich culture and history of the Acadian people.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

industry and old barns (day 15 and 16)

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One of the best things about ‘biking’ a new section of road every time I exercise is – I never know what theme is going to suggest itself …

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15-16

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8-15  February 12, 2014   30 minutes  (Jacquet River to Culligan)

8-16   February 16, 2014   35 minutes (Culligan to Belledune)

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This session of virtual touring took me to Belledune.  The area is quite industrialized, since it is the site of the Xstrata Zinc Canada Brunswick Smelter  …

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smelter

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and the location of the Belledune Thermal Generating Station …

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power plant

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The smelter is a primary lead smelter and refinery.  Its air emissions are controlled by various process-specific pollution control equipment including a scrubber and baghouse facilities.

The 450 MW (megawatt) generator burns coal and has a ‘scrubber’ to help remove sulphur dioxide emissions. At the present time, there are only two thermal generating stations still operating in New Brunswick. Most of the rest of our power comes from hydroelectric and nuclear stations; we also have some wind power.

I studied the air emissions of both the thermal generating station and the smelter at Belledune.

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At first glance, this industrial activity in a mostly rural area may seem out-of-place.  However, the smelter and generating station use the Port of Belledune.  This is a world-class deep water port in the Baie-des-Chaleurs with year-round cargo handling ability.   The port, one of Atlantic Canada’s most successful, offers a gateway to North America.

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In the midst of all this industrial activity, in my search for paintings to represent my ‘travels’, I chose images of the rural landscape …

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an old barn with red doors …

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February 21, 2014 ‘barn along the bay’ Jane Tims

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and a barn near a huge Mountain Ash, its red berries magnificent …

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February 22, 2014  'red berries - Mountain Ash'  Jane Tims

February 22, 2014 ‘red berries – Mountain Ash’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

islands and gorges (day 13 and 14)

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My virtual bike ride continues with a ride from Blackland to Belledune …

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13-14

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-13  February 5, 2014   20 minutes  3.0 km (Blackland to Sea Side)

8-14   February 8, 2014   35 minutes  7.0 km (Sea Side to west of Belledune)

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As I have said, I have often visited the area I am ‘biking’ through as part of my past work.  In the 1970s and 1980s, we visited many sites in the area to measure the levels of air pollutants in local lichens.  We collected lichens of the genus Cladina (reindeer lichens) since they absorb all of their nutrition from the air and air pollutants accumulate in their tissues …

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DSCF2040

species of the lichen ‘Cladina’ grow in tufts on high elevation, rocky areas and in low-lying bogs

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One of our sampling locations was Heron Island, an island 3.5 km long, lying just off the coast …

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satellite image of Heron Island (map from Google Earth)

satellite image of Heron Island (map from Google Earth)

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I have been on the island several times … it was a good place to collect lichens since there are not many local emissions to contaminate the sample (no cars, dusty roads, and so on).

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The island is a landscape of low-lying salt marsh and beach as well as forested and grown-over old-field areas.  On the boat on the way to the island, I remember watching scallop fishermen working on their barges in the shallow waters.  Although people have lived on the island as recently as 1940, the island is now protected and co-managed by the provincial government and First Nations peoples who have traditionally used the island as a summer residence.

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Today’s painting is of a rather stormy day along the bay shore just east of Heron Island …

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February 11, 2014  'Baie des Chaleurs'   Jane Tims

February 11, 2014 ‘Baie des Chaleurs’ Jane Tims

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Also in the area where I was ‘biking’ is the very hilly landscape of the Jacquet River.  The high elevation plateau has been deeply eroded by the Jacquet River – the river and its tributaries flow through deep gorges.  The 26,000 hectare ‘Jacquet River Gorge’ is one of New Brunswick’s Protected Natural Areas.  Reaching the locations of our lichen collections took us deep into the area and I remember how steep the hills (and the roads) were as we went to our collection sites.

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February 17, 2014  'lower Jacquet River'  Jane Tims

February 17, 2014 ‘lower Jacquet River’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

rural relics (day 10 to 12)

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On my virtual bike trip along the north coast of New Brunswick, I am seeing many aspects of rural New Brunswick that are almost relics in our modern world.

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11 to 12

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-11  January 31, 2014   45 minutes  3.0 km (Eel River Bar to Charlo)

8-12   January 28, 2014   30 minutes  7.0 km (Charlo to Blackland)

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relic:

  1. object that is interesting because of its age or association
  2. surviving custom, belief or object from a past age

(Oxford dictionary)

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One of these relics is the rural mailbox.  Amid controversy, the single mailbox at the end of a driveway is gradually being replaced, so there are very few end-of-drive mailboxes along the route I am travelling.

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We had a mailbox for many years and it was always fun going to the end of the drive to get our mail.  Once when I was at my grandfather’s farm for a vacation, my Aunt Anna sent me a parcel so I would have the fun of getting a box in the mail.  I remember well reaching up to get the parcel and I remember what was inside – a snow globe!

getting a parcel in the mail

getting a parcel at my grandfather’s mailbox

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About ten years ago, we were shifted to a community mail box.  We have a key and an assigned box.  It is still fun to get the mail, but less convenient …

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mailboxes near New Mills

mailboxes near New Mills (image from Street View)

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Another relic of a more self-sufficient way of life is the remnant apple orchard.  In some cases, the apples are still used by thrifty families, but often the fallen fruit is left for the deer …

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orchard near Blackland

orchard near Blackland (image from Street View)

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I also see derelict barns and sheds along the road, abandoned as people give up farming and a more rural way of life …

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February 11. 2014 'old shed near Charlo'   Jane Tims

February 11. 2014 ‘old shed near Charlo’ Jane Tims

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Do you encounter remnant bits of our past in your travels?  Do they bring back memories?

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

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