Irving Nature Park

Prior to visiting the east coast for the first time, I was informed that “Irving owns everything” and it’s kind of true. J.D. Irving Limited has business activities in the industries of forestry, paper products, agriculture, food processing, transportation and shipbuilding which means that if you consume something in New Brunswick, chances are, you bought it from Irving. Buying construction materials to build your house? Irving. Heating your stove with propane? Irving. Expecting a shipment via transport truck or rail? Irving. Putting fuel in your car? Irving. Eating food? Irving. Catching a Moncton Wildcats game? Irving. Wiping your butt? Irving. Seriously: Irving Tissue produces Royale, Majesta and Scotties.

The commoner’s version of this.

Last but not least, Irving owns dozens of New Brunswick media outlets including radio stations and newspapers who have to adhere to a strict policy of journalistic integrity when they report on Irving activities.

Anyway, these are the folks who created the Irving Nature Park, and here it is.

Even though I was ill at the time, it was so refreshing to see the ocean again. I got to compare what I saw with my experience growing up on the Pacific coast, stooping to examine the sand, stones, and seashells along the shoreline.

That was my future husband.

Located conveniently close to downtown St. John, New Brunswick, the park was opened in 1992 and is one of the most popular attractions in the province. It encompasses 600 acres of forest, salt marsh, and Atlantic Ocean coastline along the bay of Fundy. You could say it puts the “fun” in Fundy! *Waits for chorus of laughter* *Dies of old age*

According to the Irving website, the park has:

  • 11km of rugged Bay of Fundy coastline
  • 6 different ecosystems with a diversity of flora and fauna
  • 8 walking trails of varying lengths
  • Boardwalk extending into the salt marsh
  • Seal observation deck (the animal, not the singer)
  • Lookout tower – the park’s highest point with 360° view of  land and sea
  • Free interactive educational programs and activities
  • Free picnic sites and gas barbecues

Tourism New Brunswick‘s website included another tidbit about the area’s attractions:

“The geological history of this area is fascinating. It contains the pre-glacial outlet of the Saint John River, as well as marine clay containing 13,000 year-old clam shells.”

Unusable clay and inedible clams, people!

Four years after opening, someone had the foresight to begin a tree planting project near the park entrance. The hedges of white cedar grew for twenty years and the site was re-opened in 2015 as The Children’s Forest containing two hedge mazes and a new play park.

This is where my friend’s son decided to pee.

In 2015 the INP hosted its 5 millionth visitor, Lorelle Nason, because apparently someone was keeping count this whole time. If you want to visit the park you can pop in all year but if you want to bring your car then your window of opportunity is from May to October.

Apparently I have a thing for marshes. Read about them in Quebec here and in Manitoba here.

That lovely comic with the dog was written/drawn by artist KC Green. This is his website.