Discover the new path and protected natural site of the MRA
The Meduxnekeag River Association will be hosting an event on Saturday morning, November 27, to help attendees discover the value of becoming a MRA member and explore its newly acquired trail.
The MRA is running an in-person membership drive starting at 11 a.m. at their new property at the end of Searle Street behind the Dairy Queen in Woodstock.
Holly Melanson, MRA’s Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, described the event as the association’s first annual membership campaign. She said MRA supporters could purchase the membership for $ 25 in person at the event.
âThe event will include raffles and giveaways, as well as a walk on one of our trails,â said Melanson. âMeet us in the parking lot of the newly acquired property located at the end of Searle Street (behind DQ) in Woodstock.â
For those unable to attend Saturday’s event, Melanson said supporters can purchase memberships from the online store of the MRA’s website at www.meduxnekeag.org.
She said each member will receive an MRA 2022 bumper sticker.
Melanson said MRA’s unique new 49-acre waterfront property within the city limits of Woodstock follows a recent partnership agreement with landowner NB Power.
She said the deal would see the MRA manage the property through a conservation easement to ensure protection from future development in perpetuity.
MRA administrator George Peabody said MRA officials were excited about the property’s potential.
âThis is our only property within the city limits and also has the potential for a fully accessible trail,â he said. âIn addition, part of the easement agreement requires us to consult with the Wolastoqey community on the management of the property.
Peabody said the property offered new opportunities for MRA, adding that they looked forward to working with the Wolastoqey community on the new project.
Melanson said that a key feature of the property is a well-maintained 1.2 kilometer linear trail that offers beautiful views parallel to the Meduxnekeag River.
She said the property includes a large wetland and woodland area that provides critical habitat for various birds and small animals such as squirrels and snapping turtles.
âIt’s an easily accessible shared space where everyone can enjoy the magic of nature,â said Melanson.
She said the trail is open for walking, running, birding, biking and snowshoeing.
Melanson said the Town of Woodstock previously maintained the trail, adding that the MRA is currently in discussions with city officials in the hopes that it will continue to support the conservation and upkeep of the property.
The newly acquired property within the city limits is in addition to the more than 1,000 acres of the MRA nature reserve located outside of Woodstock. Most of the land protected by the MRA is in the watershed of the Meduxnekeag River.
Melanson said the new trail is unique to MRA as it does not own the land but protects it through the conservation easement.
The newly acquired Old Trail at Woodstock is one of the many maintained trails in Meduxnekeag Nature Reserve.
Melanson said the MRA operates six marked trails along Red Bridge Road, west of Woodstock. Three of them cross the Wilson Mountain site, starting at 260 Red Bridge Road. Users can access three trails leading to the nearby Vandine Falls site at 200 Red Bridge Road.
MRA also operates a marked trail off Plymouth Road and another off Bell Settlement Road.
Melanson said the MRA’s Bell Forest does not offer a marked trail, but a forest path allows people to walk through the forest to Bell Settlement Road.
Melanson said the MRA hopes to add more land to the growing reserve in the future, but it remains unclear whether that means additional trails. She said the council would make this decision after acquiring any new property.
Melanson explained that the MRA’s membership drive and other fundraising efforts are helping them protect this land, maintain current trail networks, organize tours of schools and workshops, and add more protected land.