Red TrailIrishtown Nature Park
|Estimated Time||1 hr 30 mins|
|Surface Type||crushed rock|
|Elevation Change||23 metres|
|Trail Markers||red paint/markers|
|Scenery Rating||special features|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|Dog Friendly||on a leash|
The Red Trail starts at the back of each of the main parking lots. After traveling a short distance you will come to a small dam that forms the reservoir. The water going over the dam falls into a stream below. The trail crosses the dam and continues through the woods, roughly following the stream and crossing the Yellow Trail several times. The trail then turns away from the stream and continues through the forest. Eventually you will come to a junction in the trail. The trail that you come to is an old raildbed and continues straight in either direction. Turning right will take you out of the park to Caledonia Drive. Turning left will take you to a small bridge that crosses a narrow section of the reservoir. The bridge and surrounding raised trail provide views up and down the reservoir, and of the grassy wetlands along the edge of the reservoir. This should provide opportunities for viewing waterfowl.
After crossing the bridge and the reservoir you will cross the Yellow Trail at the reservoir's edge. Continue straight and you will eventually cross the Yellow Trail again going off into the woods on your right. shortly after crossing the Yellow Trail the Red Trail takes a sharp turn to the left and continues through the woods . You will eventually come to another trail on your left. Continuing straight will take you out to a small strip mall on Elmwood Drive. Taking the trail to the left will take you back to the parking lots.
For directions to the park go to the Irishtown Nature Park page.
The Red trail starts from either of the parking lots on Elmwood Drive. You can also access the Red Trail by parking on Caledonia Road and entering the park on the access trail.
From the Sign
How Do Plants Move?
Plants move into new places by spreading their seed around in different ways.
Who can make a maple key spin like a helicopter the furthest? How far can you blow a head of dandelion seeds?
The club moss has dust-like spores that blow on the wind instead of seeds. Its giant relatives grew in the time of the dinosaurs.
The seed pods of the jewelweed plant will explode when they are ripe. Try touching one.
What do you think happens to the seeds of the fruits that the animals eat?
Check your clothes. Have you picked up any hitchhiker seeds during your walk through the woods?
How Do Plants Eat?
Can you make your own food? Plants can. Green plants use chlorophyll to turn carbon dioxide and the energy from the sun into sugar, oxygen and water. Check your pants. Do you have grass stains on your knees? That's chlorophyll.
Gently turn over a leaf. Can you see the veins? They shuttle water and other nutrients around the plant. Can you find plants with branching veins and plants with parallel veins? Hint. Check out a blade of grass.
From the Sign
Trees of the Acadian Forest
The Acadian Forest - Irishtown Nature Park is part of the Acadian forest region where trees from the north and south mingle. 23 species of trees have been found in the Park.
Which species of tree is it? Check the leaves and bark for clues.
Look around. How many different kinds of trees can you see?
Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis - The yellow birch has golden bark.
Grey Birch Betula populifolia - The Grey birch has triangular patches on its chalky white bark.
Red Maple Acer rubrum - Leaves of the Red maple have 3-5 lobes and toothed edges.
Striped Maple Acer pensylvanicum - The Striped maple has leaves with 3 lobes and distinctive stripes on its bark.
Largetooth Aspen Populus grandidentata - The Largetooth aspen got its name from the larget teeth on the edges of its leaves.
Trembling Aspen Populus tremuloides - The Trembling aspen has smaller teeth and a slender leaf stalk. Can you hear the leaves chattering in the breeze?
Tamarack Larix laricina - The soft needles of the tamarack turn yellow and drop off in the fall.
Balsam Fir Abies balsamea - The balsam fir has flat needles with two silvery lines on the underside. It was proclaimed to be an official symbol of New Brunswick on May 1st, 1987.
White Spruce Picea glauca - Spruce needles go all around the branch. White spruce are found in upland areas and their small cones turn red brown in the fall.
From the Sign
Irishtown Nature Park provides good habitat for beavers. Here they find plenty of spce for lodges, water and some of their favorite foods like Aspen and Poplar.
Look for the Signs - The Beavers may seem quiet at the Irishtown Nature Park in the fall and winter months, but if you look closely you will see the signs that they continue to inhabit the waterways of the reservoir.
Who's in Charge Here? - Beavers have a strong family structure. Males and females stay together throughout the year and form a lasting bond. Beaver kits are born in the lodge in late spring. Young beavers stay with their parents for up to two years and even help to care for their younger borthers and sisters.
The female is the dominant member of the beaver colony. She's always on the lookout for danger and warns the other beavers by slapping her tail hard against the water. WHACK!!
Underwater architects - Beavers create lodges by piling up sticks and mud, and gnawing an inside chamber. Many of the lodges at Irishtown Nature Park are also built into the bank. Beavers leave an air hole at the top of the lodge and continually pack mud on the outside. The mud freezes and it makes a strong exterior wall that discourages predators from walking across the ice to disturb the lodge.
Why Do Beavers Fell Trees? - Beavers fell trees to feed on the tender bark of the young, upper branches and to cut branches into smaller lengths for the construction of dams and lodges.
Beavers plan ahead for the cold winter months. In the fall they cut down trees and store them in food piles under the water. They make frequent trips under the ice to the food pile. They rarely need to leave the lodge or the protection of the water.
Beaver or Muskrat? Beavers hold their broad, flat tails under water when they swim. Muskrats are smaller than beavers and wave their tails back and forth over the water.
From the Sign
Birds of the Water
Look Out Below - Bald Eagles are larger than Osprey and are identified by their white head and tail.
When Osprey search for good they beat their wings and hover over the reservoir. They plunge into the water feet first when they see a fish.
Make Way for Ducklings - Mallard ducks often nest along the shoreline. Their nests are made of grasses, leaves and reeds. The mother lays 8-10 eggs and 23 days later the ducklings are born.
Irishtown Nature Park is home to a variety of water birds that feed in the water and build nesting sites. It is also an important area for migratory birds. Flocks of Common Mergansers and shorebirds like the Spotted Sandpiper are some of the park's migratory visitors.
You can become a bird detective. Carefully survey the water and shoreline around you. Do you see any bird activity? The five 'S' of successful bird watching will give you clues about how to identify the birds... Size, Signs (color, field markings), Site (habitiat), Shape, Sound
Call of the Wild - Kingfishers are recognized by their large blue-gray heads, big bills and rattle-like call. They hover and plunge into the water in search of food.
Taking the Plunge - The Common Loon is a large swimming bird with a dagger like bill. It is known for its tremelo-call or laugh.
Stalking Around - The Great Blue Heron is a gangly blue-gray bird with a long neck, long legs and dagger-like bill. In flight it folds it's neck to make an 's' shape. It silently stalks its prey along the edge of the lake.
Other Trails in the Park
Trail Last Hiked: August 3, 2016.
Page Last Updated: February 5, 2017.