|Difficulty||Moderate||Features||Hill, Forest, Streams|
|Trail Type||Loop||Trail Markers||Blue Squares|
|Distance||3.2 km||Scenery Rating||Beautiful|
|Estimated Time||1 hr 45 mins||Mainteance Rating||Well Maintained|
|Trail Surface Type||Forested||Cell Phone Reception||Variable - Weak|
|Elevation Change||91 m||GPS file||Available on request|
|Dog Friendly||Yes||Fees Required||None|
View Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail in a larger map
From Route 1 take exit 233 at Peticodiac. Head west on route 905 away from Peticodiac. Drive for 17 kilometers and then turn left on route 895 towards Parkindale. Drive for 4.4 kilometers and you will see a small sign for the entrance to the Mapleton Acadian Forest on the right.
The Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail has a little bit of everything. Start by climbing the hill through and old clearcut and passing by some spruce that were left because they are bumpy with large burls. You will soon come to a trail junction. Turn right and cross a beautiful stream valley before looping around the spruce covered peak of Gowland Mountain. Return to the junction and continue on the trail to pass through a hemlock forest, a jack pine forest and eventually a hardwood stand where you will find another small stream and a lookout platform.
Pass by an old mine site that is described on an intepretive sign before emerging into a field that will take you back to the car. While crossing the field you can see Gowland Mountain ahead and to the left.
Welcome to the Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail
This trail offers you a chance to explore a part of the Acadian Forest - a special forest type found only in the Maritimes, southern Quebec and the northeastern United States. The Acadian Forest is important because it is where the evergreens of the northern Boreal Forest meet the colourful hardwoods from the south. This meeting area results in great diversity, not only in trees (32 species), but also in birds (225 species), plants and animals. Due to certain types of forest harvesting, habititat desctruction by development and introduced disease, the Acadian Forest is listed as an 'endangered forest' by the World Wildlife Fund.
In the past, people have affected this forest through forestry, farming and mining. You will see how the forest has reacted, and is reacting, to these impacts. As you travel along the trail, try to minimize your impact on the environment and this private land. Enjoy your walk. Travel at your own risk.
The Mapleton Acadian Froest Trail has been developed by the Elgin Eco Association. This trail and interpretive signs were made possible by the generosity of the landowners, Clarence and Stephen Stiles, and the following sponsors: NB Wildlife Foundation; Mountain Equipment Co-op; Fawcett's ACE Building Centre.
Look closely for signs of animal life. White-tailed eer and snowshoe hare browse on abundant new growth available following a clear-cut. Seedlings grow from seeds dropped by birds or blown by wind. The extra light, in the openings left by harvesting, allows sun-loving species like birch, cherry and raspberry to thrive.
These plants are the first in a succession of trees and shrubs that appear after a forest disturbance. Over time, species grow, die and are replace by others more suited to the changing conditions. The parade of plants (forest succession) continues, until a mature forest is established.
However, some present day forest practices, which involve complete removal of forest cover and relatively short intervals between harvest do not allow sufficient time (150+ years) for an Acadian Forest to develop. Removing scattered trees is the best way to harvest while trying to maintain Acadian Forest conditions.
This ground-dwelling sparrow is well known for its loud clear song, "dear sweet Canada, Canada, Canada"
Often most commonly called a rabbit, this hare changes colour from brown to white with the seasons. It's large hind feet act as snowshoes to help it travel over the snow.
Dark Spruce Forest
As you walk through this spruce forest do you notice how cool and dark it is? This dark forest was once a sunny field, but over time, white spruce trees have claimed the field. Now the high-spreading limbs of these closely spaced trees block the sunlight. There is not enough light for the lower branches to produce food for the tree, so they die and drop their needles. The lack of sunlight and thick layer of needles prevent most plants from growing: only clumps of moss thrive here.
The abundance of spruce cones offers plenty of seeds as food for red squirrels and birds, like crossbills.
A quick glance at some tree trunks might make you think they swallowed something. These old swellings are burls, caused by erratic cell-growth similar to cancer; however, burls do not seem to harm trees. Sometimes burls are used for making interesting wood ornaments.
White-winged Crossbills would enjoy the abundance of cones in this forest. With bills that cross at the tips, these birds can easily remove seeds from the cones. Crossbills are wanderers whose travel depends on the cone crop.
It is easy to see that this area was once farmed. Grass is still the major ground cover. Interspersed with the grass are trees and shrubs that are the early successional stages of a field becoming a forest. Low shrubs like blueberry, blackberry and meadowsweet, plus taller trees like red maple, hawthorn, apple and birch are all open-growing species that will eventually die as they become shaded by bigger trees. While present, the fruits of these shrubs provide food for several species of birds and animals (ruffed grouse, mice, robins).
The scattered, large white spruce trees are surrounded by sprays of seedlings poking through the grass. With lots of light and space, these young trees will do well, but in time they will become too crowded and the weaker ones will die, allowing the stronger trees to form a mature forest similar to the Dark Spruce Forest.
Notice the vertical scars on some of the younger maples. Scarring is the result of deer rubbing against the trees to remove the velvety layer from their antlers. Both deer and snowshoe hare use this area for feeding as can be seen from the numerous nipped twigs.
Rugged Grouse, commonly called partridge, depends on camouflage for survival. When disturbed it bursts into flight with a noisy whirring of wings. In mating season the male beats his wings against the air to attract a female. This 'drumming' begins as slow thuds, increasing rapidly before fading to a muffled roll.
Old Forest beside the Field
Listen to the babbling brook. A short side trail offers a closer look. The stream valley, too steep for farming or harvesting, provides a glimpse of a portion of an Acadian Forest that has only minimally been disturbed by human activity. It is home to large yellow birch, sugar maple and beech trees with an understory of hardwood trees and shrubs.
The old road you recently crossed led to a farm field. Soon you will join an interesting old path; smooth and gently sloping, its purpose remains a mystery, but maybe it was related to hauling rocks to the long rock pile. Removing rocks from the flatter regions allowed those fields to be cultivated.
This large hawk is often seen and heard in this area.
White Birch and Jack Pine Stands
White Birches are everywhere and all about the same age and size. How did this happen? Probably this old field was cultivated shortly before being abandoned. The bare, well-drained soil would have been ideal for the growth of seeds, blown from an adult birch.
Close by is an abrupt change from white birch to a much darker jack pine forest. Even-aged stands of jack pine develop following a fire because heat is required to open the layer of resin sealing the cones. The jack pine trees are about 12-15 years older than the white birch, indicating that the sloping field where the jack pine is growing was the first to be abandoned (about 1960). Perhaps a fire shortly after abandonment released seeds from a mature jack pine tree, allowing the seedlings to grow.
The shaded water of a woodland stream is cool, oxygenated and laden with nutrients. Life in the rushing water is challenging. Current makes it difficult for aquatic creatures to move, hold still, eat or lay eggs. Small insects are often restricted to the undersides of rocks, gravel or logs. Larger animals, such as fish, rest in calm pools and rely on the insect life for food.
This valley is another location where the steepness of the ravine reduced human impact. Notice the towering hemlocks as well as the white ash, yellow birch and Ironwood (now fallen). All are typical species of an Acadian Forest. Trees provide the shade and present soil erosion, essential factors in maintaining cool, clear water. The shady water-splashed rocks at the stream edge are ideal for the growth of moss.
The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in Canada. It is known for making large rectangular cavities in trees and stumps as it searches for insects, especially carpenter ants. It usually nestws in cavity in a standing dead tree.
Ecologically Sensitive Forest Community
You have reached a special part of the Acadian Forest. This rich northern hardwood forest made up of yellow birch, white ash, iron-wood, beech and sugar maple. This is one of the few places where this combination of hardwood species can be found, thus it has been designated as an 'ecologically sensitive forest community'.
Many old hemlocks have died, allowing light into the forest. Even through they have fallen, these trees still benefit the forest. Notice the large, shiny, reddish-brown fungus (hemlock conk) growing on the trunks. Fungi cannot make their own food so they live off food made by other plants. This particular fungus recycles the wood into the soil and releases nutrients so other plants can grow. Look closely at the fallen trunk and you will see many small trees and plants. The fallen trunk is a moist, nutrient-rich nursary.
Cavities in trees provide homes for animals and birds. Watch for cavities nearby. One is almost like a tunnel.
The black-throated green warbler is a bird of coniferous and mixed wood forests. Its lispy song - zee zee zee zo zee - is more commonly heard than the bird is seen, as this warbler feeds on insects high in the trees.
Northern Flying Squirrels
Have you noticed the wooden boxes attached to trees in this vicinity? These next boxes for flying squirrels were made by students at Petit-codiac Regional School and Salisbury JMA High School in 2006.
Flying squirrels are small, grey, nocturnal mammals that live in mixed wood forests with large trees, both living and dead. The squirrels nest in tree cavities, hence the purpose of these nest boxes. Flying squirrels do not really fly. Instead, they glide from tree to tree, often covering distances of 50 m. A flap of skin extends from the front to the hind foot on each side of the body. When leaping from trees, the squirrels extend their legs, causing flaps of skin to stretch and allowing the squirrels to glide. When landing, the squirrels flare their flaps of skin to slow down, and immediately scurry to the backside of the tree to avoid being caught by owls. Some of their other predators are house cats, foxes, coyotes and weasels.
Food for flying squirrels includes nuts, seeds, bird eggs and insects, but a large portion of their diet consists of fungi. By consuming fungi, northern flying squirrels play an important role in the Acadian Forest. There are underground fungi that benefit trees by forming an association with the tree roots. This fungal association assists the trees by increasing their nutrient uptake. Through feeding on these fungi and dispersing fungal spores in their droppings, the flying squirrels help the forest.
The stone retaining wall near you is the side of a ramp used for unloading ore. From 1937/38 to 1942/43, a manganese mine operated uphill from here. A horizontal shaft was dug into the mountain. Once the ore was loosened, it was loaded into trolleys on rails and trucked to this location. Here is was washed and otherwise prepared for trucking to Saint John.
Manganese, a hard greyish-white element, is valued for manganese-oxide used as an alloying agent to toughen steel. This was vital for railway switches and machines subject to a lot of wear and strain.
After the mine closed in the early 1940's, the lumber from these buildings was used to build what is now the Elgin Country Market.
Other trails in the region:
Trail last visited May 19, 2014.
Page Last Updated August 11, 2018.