Many New Brunswickers have likely driven past Saints Rest Marsh on numerous occasions on their way to the city of Saint John. I have often looked out past the marsh at the many cargo ships entering or leaving the harbour city. Even while working on this Conservation on Canvas project, I have driven past thinking that I should stop one of these days and spend some time exploring the Saints Rest Marsh -- F. Gordon Carvell Nature Preserve. Finally last summer, I took the opportunity to visit after a formal business meeting in downtown Saint John. It was strange to make a visit wearing business attire and in the rare occasion (for me) of even sporting a tie. But I had my camera with me and I decided to take the time to enjoy nature this late afternoon on a beautiful summer's day. This also happens to be a rare instance when it is possible to take in two Nature Trust preserves as Manawagonish Island can be observed from the marsh.
I started by taking in the view of both marsh and island from behind the Visitor's Information Center on the main route into town. Then I decided to visit the Irving Nature Park, which offers an even closer view of the island from the shoreline. At the main entrance to the park, you can walk about 200 meters or so and find a boardwalk path that takes you out onto the marsh itself. It was great to get out on the Marsh. The only issue I had on this particular day is that the view I wanted to capture had me facing toward the bright, low lying sun.
About a kilometer or so into the park from the main entrance, there is a lookout tower where you can gain a wonderful perspective of one end of Saints Rest Marsh where it meets a strand of forest as well as the coastline.
Only five days after this first visit, I was able to return to Saints Rest Marsh on our way back from a short family camping trip to the Bay of Fundy. My four year old son Greyson joined me for this second trek up to the lookout tower in the Irving Nature Park. It was earlier in the afternoon than my previous visit, so the lighting was completely different. Also, the tide was much higher.
We had a family picnic in a rest area near the trail leading to the lookout. This area also afforded a great view of Manawagonish Island. Then all four of us -- Bridgette, Greyson, Lilyanne, and myself -- walked out on the boardwalk through the marsh on our way out of the park.
Sneak peek: Below is just one portion of the painting that I have finished since these visits to Saints Rest Marsh. Come see the full works at the Conservation on Canvas exhibition at the New Brunswick Museum opening this September!
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator