Miramichi Mondays #2: Salmon Conservation & Kouchibouguac Nature Park

Kouchibouguac
Miramichi
Website

Hey there! Welcome to Week 2 of Miramichi Mondays where I recount the awesome experiences I have had in the Miramichi Region this week. For those of you who don’t know I am a huge science nerd and am studying biology at MUN. This week was all about embracing my inner biologist and visiting some scientifically important sites here on the river.

Thursday:
I went to the Miramichi Salmon Conservation Centre in South Esk. When I was growing up my family managed a sporting lodge so I have always been interested in the sport of salmon fishing. Being a biology student and science lover I was very excited to visit the hatchery for the first time since elementary school. Miramichi is world renowned for it’s angling and the Salmon Conservation Centre plays a major role in making our river a global attraction especially given recent declines in Atlantic Salmon Populations. Miramichi is home to the oldest salmon hatchery in Canada. The Conservation Centre catches adult salmon in the fall; the fish then spawn and produce eggs. It is evolutionarily beneficial for salmon to reproduce at this time so that young salmon will develop in spring / summer waters where food is more plentiful and survival is more likely. The hatchery cares for the eggs until they develop into fry, which are released in the early summer. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the process, which prepares the fish for release. The fish are weighed, placed into labeled holding containers and the containers are put in an oxygenated tank system developed by the hatchery’s biologist Mark Hambrook. The fish are then transported to various locations around the Miramichi region to conserve our salmon population for future generations. This is a location I would recommend for science lovers, environmentalists, fishermen and inquisitive children. Tours of the location are available.

The Hatchery

Monday:
On Monday I grabbed a family friend, packed up our supplies and headed to Kouchibouguac Nature Park. We got to spend the night in an oTENTik which is “roughin’ it” without actually “roughin it”. The camp sites are very private and the oTENTik itself has lots of room for sleeping. We were pleasantly surprised to find all the supplies we needed for cooking were found on site, so we ditched our mediocre spatula in favour of the one provided. There is a BBQ that comes along with the oTENTik as well, but as far as I can tell you bring your own propane. Now came the fun part (since we didn’t bring propane): getting a fire on the go for supper. They had the perfect little fire pit but I think I missed that badge in girl guides. After TWO HOURS of rearranging brush, wood and finally sacrificing some paper plates to burn we had the fire roaring. We were almost ready to call it quits and order canteen food but we survived (we also may have indulged in a few chips while trying)! I cooked up a delicious meal of ribs and potatoes over the fire in my cast iron skillet while Tay gathered us more twigs to keep the fire going. We were so tired that we both fell asleep at 9:30.

We had an early rise this morning (some of us earlier than others). After only ten minutes this morning I got the fire blazing, I’m basically a pro now. We fried up some bacon and hash browns and headed off to the beach. On the board walk to Kelly’s beach we caught a glimpse of the elusive Piping Plover, an endangered shore bird. We also saw gulls, tern and I caught a glimpse of a scurrying water vole. The protective dunes make Kouchibouguac a dream of biodiversity. We enjoyed our time on the white sand beach, catching rays and watching the waves wash the shore. When we finally got over heated we headed to the canteen where we finished off our afternoon with a poutine (of course!)

oTENTik from the outside

Excited for an Evening of “Roughin It”

Ribs over the fire

Beach Boardwalk

Common Tern

Enjoying the Beach

Beauty of a Day!

While in Kouchibouguac Park I stopped by the Kouchibouguac Resort which offers a convenient location only minutes from the park. A great option for those not interested in “roughing it” There are motel units as well as rustic, cozy cabin / chalets. The chalets are equipped with a kitchenette.

Friendly Service

Chalet

Sitting area of chalet

Chalet Bedroom

Motel Room

This week I’ll be heading upriver to Doaktown / Boiestown and on the weekend I will be hitting up 1809 the Rodd’s Patio Party (I can’t say no to $5 nachos or sangria) 5-8 on Friday. Hopefully I no longer smell like campfire by then. For the rest of the weekend I plan on taking in Canada’s Irish Festival. If you haven’t got your passes yet head to http://canadasirishfest.com/ “Whiskey, Bailey’s, Guinness, Drunk or Sober” Don’t be left out in the cold (and sober) because you were too late getting your passes! Also, if you pick up your passes from the office or online this week you’ll be entered to win $50 in bar credit. (If you win because you read this, I like beer).

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