Parc Des Sources Trails
|Estimated Time||15 mins|
|Surface Type||crushed rock|
|Elevation Change||31 metres|
|Trail Markers||none but easy to follow|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
The trail descends several steps and then enters the woods next to a small stage. The trail then loops around a small open area culminating in a pond at the back of the loops. There are several picnic tables and a shelter along the trail. There are also many interpretive signs. If you keep right after entering the woods you can follow an old road through the woods along the side of the park. This trail emerges into a field behind the pond.
There are also several springs coming out of the ground that cross the park and feed the pond. This is where the park got its name.
From the Sign
The Tamarack or American Larch is the only conifer to lose its needles before winter. Contrary to other conifers, larch trees have deciduous leaves, which means that they fall every year. When referring to conifers, we could speak of leaves, but for clarity's sake we use the word needle. Of the 3 species of larch in Canada, only the Tamarack inhabits our region. It can reach 28 meters in height and 65 cm in width. It grows mostly in humid and swampy soil. The seeds inside their cones mainly feed redpolls, goldfinches, and siskins. Its wood is very hard and resistent to rot. This is why we often use it under water as posts and stakes. Its needle-like leaves can be used to prepare herbal tea or as an atiseptic.
From the Sign
The Golden-crowned Kinglet owes its name to its cap: yellow-orange ringed with black among males and yellow ringed with black among females. It is a tiny bird measuring 10 cm. It has a surprising voice for its small stature, which can be heard long before it is seen. Its song is a series of high-pitched notes that become a trill (tsee, tsee, tsee...). It is also frequently found in coniferous forests because it particularly enjoys large White Spruce, which is commonplace in this park. Its cousin the Ruby-crowned Kinglet also lives here. Its eyes are ringed with white and has a red crown often hidden by the feathers on its head. You can meet the Golden-crowned Kinglet year-round in our region, whereas the Ruby-crowned Kinglet migrates. These are tiny olive-green birds with very distinct white wing bars. They are insectivorous, which means that they feed on insects, and are very active. They can be recognized by their constant shoulder-flicking and continuous motion, jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree, often towards their tops. Birdwatchers find it very challenging to follow them with their binoculars.
From the Sign
This species is found across Canada except for Anticosti Island and was introduced to Newfoundland in 1963. The males are a bit bigger than the females. This squirrel is different from Eastern Grey Squirrel because of its reddish colour and much smaller size. It generally lives in nests of leaves and twigs that it builds in trees, 5 to 15 metres above ground. Sometimes it may use a woodpecker's nesting hole or even the abandoned nest of a crow of a bird of prey. Its life expectancy is about 3 to 4 years in its natural habitat. In our region, the American Red Squirrel mostly feeds on the seeds of confier cones. This species - called rodents - is disliked by many because it often gets into attics, garages, and even in cars, which can cause a lot of damage. However, this species helps our ecosystem's diversity. As it feeds it hides the cones here and there and breaks them open, which spreads the seeds or lets them scatter on the wind, thus helping our forests to naturally regenerate. In addition, the American Red Squirrel is itself food for many predators, like the American Marten, the American Mink, the Fisher, the Red Fox, weasels, and some birds of prey. So, in the end, it is more useful than it is harmful.
From the Sign
When water springs naturally from the ground, it is often the point of origin of a stream, but it can also feed a pond, a lake or flow directly into the sea, like our own rivers, or seep back into the ground. The Mineral Springs Park owes its name to the great number of sources located on its site. Spring water is crucial on a planetary level, and we can consider ourselves very lucky to have this invaluable wealth all around us. Here in the Acadian Peninsula, our drinking water sources are renowned throughout Canada. Note that more than 97% of the water on Earth is salt water and the rest is fresh water. Of this percentage, 2% of the fresh water is in the form of ice caps, of which less than 1% is underground and surface water (lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, sources). Potable water is essential to all living organisms on Earth. It nourishes plants and animals of all ecosystems, even those in the desert. Our very survival as human being depends on it and yet we are the ones who pollute it the most.
From the Sign
Swamps and Dead Trees
Wetlands are part of freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps, and peat bogs. The water is considered fresh water as long as the salt level remains below 0.02% (equivalent to a pinch of table salt in a barrel of water). Such places seem lifeless, but in reality they are buzzing with activity. Innumerable living organisms use this type of environment to eat and reproduce. Species as colourful as the Wood Duck often use hollowed-out trunks of dead trees for nesting. The Mallards, American Black Ducks, Goldeneyes, Mergansers, Pileated Woodpeckers, and Flying Squirrels also make their nests in these places. Other than birds, wetalands are an excellent place of refuge for mammals and amphibia, such as salamanders, toads, frogs, tree frogs, without forgetting newts. All of these species are very sensitive to climatic changes and are the best indicators of how our evironment is doing. In this way, they are living barometers. Dead or dying trees play a positive role in the biodiversity and health of our forests. Dead trees not only offere a source of essential nutrients and enrich soil, but without them many species of birds would disappear. This is what would happen to certain woodpeckers that live in the Boreal forest, such as the Black-backed Woodpecker and the Three-toed Woodpecker. In addition, wood-boring insects eat dead wood and do not generally attack healthy trees. They contribute to the decomposition process once the tree is on the ground. Dead trees are Mother Nature's real masterpiece. Regard them with admiration rather than destroy them.
From the Sign
Sugar Maple is also called Sugar tree, Hard Maple, Rock Maple, Flame Maple, Wavy Maple, or even the famous bird's-eye Maple. Along the stretch of the path, the Sugar Maple is only present here. In our region, it is also the preferred species by maple producers for preparing maple syrop. Forest stands composed mainly of this tree are called maple groves or sugar bushes. The name of this species reflects two important characteristics of the Sugar Maple: its wood is very hard and its sap is sweet. Its wood is the most sought after in Canada. Among others, it is the #1 wood for bowling alley flooring. Did you know that the first trains did not run on iron rails, but rather Sugar Maple rails? It is also rich in potassium. In the mid-19th century, 80% of the potassium in North America was produced from this tree. The Sugar Maple only exists in North America and the maple leaf has been on our country's flag since 1965.
From the Sign
Muskrats that live in this swamp are found throughout Canada and the United States. This species was introduced in Europe in 1905, swept across a good portion of Eurasia, and now spreads from Scandanavia to Russia all the way to China. This mammal's name comes from two scent glands located under the skin near its anus, which produce a musk that it uses to mark its territory. The prefix "rat" is due to its tail that looks like the Brown or Norway Rat's tail. The male and female Muskrats are almost identical. It often causes damage to dams, banks, and agricultural drainage canals, yet it provides a beneficial aeration to the ground in which it lives. Its presence can be identified by a conical lodge of 60 to 120 cm in height, constructed with vegetation and mud. Up to 6 Muskrats can inhabit the same nest. Females can have up to 3 litters per year of 2 to 11 young each. They feed on various aquatic plant materials, but also on molluscs and amphibia. It is active from dusk until dawn and is an excellent diver. It can stay below the surface at least 20 minutes. In case of danger, it slaps its tail on the water just like its cousin the Beaver, although not as hard because of its weight and of the shape of its tail, which is not flat like the Beaver's. It is the most abundant of all fur-bearing animals. The Muskrat has many natural predators, like the Mink, Coyote, Red Fox, Black Bear, Lynx, Otter, certain owls and birds of prey, to say nothing of the domestic dog and its principal predator - the human being.
Trail Last Hiked: July 18, 2021.
Page Last Updated: December 12, 2021.