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Dolan Woodlands Nature Preserve Announced in Miramichi

Dolan Woodlands Nature Preserve. Photo by Peter Gadd

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick announced in August, the conservation of over 16 hectares (41 acres) of extensive mixed forest and wetland habitat, which includes part of the Carding Mill Brook tributary of the Miramichi River, in Miramichi.

Located in the former village of Nelson, the property has been named the Dolan Woodlands Nature Preserve after the Dolan family who generously donated the land to the Nature Trust for its permanent protection in 2018. The property borders the popular Miramichi Cross Country Ski Club and protects land where some of its trails are located.

The Dolan Woodlands Nature Preserve has a rich history in the Miramichi area, as the woodlot was originally purchased in 1845 by John (Doolan) Dolan. He arrived in Miramichi in 1830 at age 15 from Ireland with his father, mother, and younger brother Thomas, and the family lived on Beaubears Island for the first 20 years of their new life, originally working in the shipbuilding industry.

Throughout the years, the Dolan family have been wise stewards of this property, enjoying the surrounding nature which would become a touchstone for many members of the family. The intentions of the family’s donation include to honour their ancestors, to ensure the land will be conserved, in perpetuity, and to give back to the community of Miramichi, where this nature preserve will be enjoyed for future generations.

The nature preserve protects an extensive network of wetlands, including forested wetlands, which provide important habitat for many plant species, including highbush cranberry, rattlesnake root, wild cucumber, and hawthorn. The extensive mixed forest located on the preserve is rich with white ash, pin cherry, eastern white cedar, white spruce, aspen, white birch, balsam fir, larch, and red maple. This habitat supports various species of wildlife including ducks, brook trout, moose, deer, beaver, raccoon, as well as many species of birds and amphibians.

The wetlands and riparian zone surrounding the nature preserve are important to the sustainability of the Carding Mill Brook and the quality of the water in this brook. This brook is a direct tributary of the salmon bearing Miramichi River.

To celebrate the announcement a grand opening celebration took place at the nature preserve on Saturday, September 7th, 2019.

This article was first featured in the 2019 Christmas Issue of Giv’er Miramichi Magazine.

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