December 2006: Kouchibouguac National Park


New Brunswick, Canada

The park was established in 1969 to protect a variety of distinct landscapes, mostly aquatic in nature. The park takes it name from the river native Mi'kmaqs called "river of long tides." Tidal water from the Northumberland Strait reaches several miles upstream through the flat woodlands. Kouchibouguac covers more than 90 square miles and features salt marshes, bogs and lagoons in addition to its rivers.

Hiking at Kouchibouguac takes place across ten mostly short (less than an hour), pw-friendly nature trails. Dogs are permitted on all trails save for the Kellys Beach Boardwalk Trail. For dogs itching to get a paw in the sand, take the Osprey Trail along the Kouchibouguac Lagoon or along the narrow Callanders Beach on the Saint Louis Lagoon. The walking is easy here and it is a simple matter to visit all the habitats in a single day; several of the nature trails feature self-guided interpretation stands. The longest hike in the park traces the journey of the Kouchibouguac River for its final seven miles before reaching the sea. Some of the best trails in the park are on water. Eight flat water rivers permeate the park's interior. The Alpine Bog Trail leads to a 20-foot high observation tower that is dog accessible. Do not allow your dog off the wooden boardwalk - moose and other animals have perished after being trapped in the mucky bog.

SIDETRIP: Bouctouche Eco-Heritage Trail System (off Canada 11 in Bouctouche):
Here you can find ten miles of groomed paths through the town of Bouctouche and the Black and Bouctouche rivers. The trail begins at the Irving Eco-Centre, created to preserve a 7-mile dune that stretches across the Bouctouche Bay. The dune is one of the few remaining sand dunes on the northeast coast of North America. 

The park is located in New Brunswick on Highway 11 on the shores of the Northumberland Strait.