Building the Footpath
The Fundy Footpath is the result of hiking and explorations of the Fundy Coast by outdoor enthusiasts. The trail was originally blazed by Jack McKay in the 1980′s and fell into disuse, as backcountry hiking was not yet in vogue. In the course of our hikes and explorations of the Fundy coastal wilderness, my brother, Gilles, and I decided to reestablish the hiking trail. Over the next 3 years we flagged a temporay trail up to Seely Brook.
In 1992, a project co-sponsored by the Moncton Outdoor Enthusiasts Club and the Fundy Hiking Association Inc. with funding by the Fundy Model Forest ensured establishment of the path from Goose River to Little Salmon River. The experience and coaching by Dobson Trail committee veterans such as Edwin Melanson and Cecil Steeves with his trusty Ford 150 proved invaluable in finding access routes to the proposed trail over the winter. Come spring we were ready to clear the trail of overhanging branches and paint permanent blazes. The most difficult task was finding routes in and out of the 200 meter deep ravines and building switchbacks. The Fundy Footpath was completed in the fall of 1994.
The friends of the Fundy Footpath, the members of the Dobson Trail committee, and the Moncton and Fredericton Outdoor Enthusiasts Club help maintain the Eastern Section of the Footpath. The Western Section of the Footpath from Little Salmon River to Big Salmon River was established in 1998 and is maintained by the Fundy Trail Development Authority Inc. The Fundy Footpath wilderness trail extends from the Fundy National Park boundary to the Big Salmon River Interpretive Centre.
The Maritime Acadian Highlands are part of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The splitting and continental drift of the former continent of Pangea separated the mountain range to its present positions in North America, Europe and Africa: the Appalachian Mountains in the USA and Canada, Scotland, Galicia in Spain, and the Atlas Mountains in Morroco.
The rugged geology and natural beauty found in the Bay of Fundy wilderness is what inspired us to build this footpath. This unique ecosystem can only be appreciated on foot, surrounded by the ambience of the Bay of Fundy microclimate. The frequent fog and mist lend an other-worldly appearance to the rugged geological faults of the coast, outcrops and the deep V-shaped river valleys. Century old trees, thick and dark forests, are contrasted with spectacular vistas from the uplands when fog and mist are cleared by the warmth of the mid morning sun. The Acadian Forest has been developing for 10,000 years; the predominant tree species are: red spruce, balsam fir, maple, and yellow birch. The footpath crosses sections of the remaining old growth forest.
The primary use of this forest in the past two centuries has been its tall conifers for ships masts, and lumber for the emerging cities of the eastern seaboard. The rivers were used to drive the logs to mills and shipping docks; sluiceways can be observed at Little Salmon and Goose Creek. Today the forests are a primary source of lumber and wood fibre for pulp production, and a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts.