Located on the east coast of New Brunswick, in Canada's Maritime Provinces, Kouchibouguac National Park preserves a small part of the unique ecosystem in this part of the world. The amazing coastal dunes here run for miles along the NB-side of Northumberland Strait, just north of the tip of the Province of Prince Edward Island.
The nearest major International airports are at Moncton, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Park is easily reachable by car once you are on the ground.
The land portion of the Park is generally quite flat and slopes gently toward the coast, with occassional knolls or water features providing some elevation or steep banks. For it's relatively small size, the park area is comprised of a varied habitat of forest (54%), peat bogs (21%), lagoons & estuaries (18%), salt marshes (3%), barrier islands (2%) and freshwater habitats (1%).
Fondest memory: For me, the most unique part of the park was it's barrier islands of sand dunes. To quote Parks Canada: "The Barrier Islands are the Park's most distinctive coastal feature. North Kouchibouguac Dune, South Kouchibouguac Dune and North Richibucto Dune form a system of wave-built islands and spits backed by lagoons and estuaries. Barrier Islands are among the most dynamic of coastal land forms, undergoing continual changes caused by wind and wave activity, ice scour and tidal currents and circulation. Plants well adapted to the stresses of blowing sand, excessive dryness, wind and salt only sparingly colonize them. Marram grass (Ammophila brevigulata) is the only plant that can stabilize sand initially and it dominates the vegetation on the active sand dunes." The map gives a good overview of the miles of delicate barrier islands along this part of New Brunswick's coastline - a feature well worth preserving in my opinion.
I had only a short time to enjoy Kouchibouguac, so most of my activities were confined to the central area of the Park where most of the facilities are located. This map gives a closer view of the roads, trails and facilities located here.
The 'black' lines show the very good road system that allows easy access to this portion of the park, while the northern and southern sections are more difficult to get to without some serious planning. The 'red' trails are extremely easy biking trails suitable for families with small children and allow for a leisurely tour of both the coastal and inland areas of the Park. Straight through the middle of the Park, starting a short way from the entrance at lower left and proceeding to the coastal inlet at the middle-right is the much more challenging 6.3 km (4-mile) Major Kollock Creek mountain biking trail. The small 'yellow' trails located here and there are hiking trails equipped with interpretive signs explaining the various ecosystem at those locations. The 'red' portions of the coastal dunes are off-limits due to bird nesting activities.
I could have used a lot more time here to properly absorb what I was seeing!