The 2014 Parks Canada NB Sustainable Tourism Award winning Daly Point Nature Reserve is a haven of biodiversity, and a true natural gem. Located north on Bathurst’s picturesque harbour, its varied habitats of salt and fresh water marshes, Acadian Forest, abandoned fields and cobble beaches, are conveniently linked to one another by a system of walking trails, boardwalks and bridges, making for easy access to a nature lover’s paradise!
The result of a historic partnership between the mining industry and the Department of Natural Resources, Daly Point was designated a nature reserve in 1989. Through careful planning and management by dedicated volunteers, like the late naturalist, Ron Gauthier, its natural wonders were made accessible to visitors through an upgrade to a system of original rustic trails, and the construction of an observation tower. The Reserve was deeded to the City of Bathurst in 2000. It remains in its care to this day, under the auspices of the Daly Point Nature Reserve Commission, established in 2005, which has developed a vision and a long-term strategy for sustainability.
Over 10,000 visitors from every corner of the world come to the Reserve each year to enjoy its tranquility and natural beauty. They are warmly received at the Interpretation Center, where they may also purchase mementos.
Visitors may participate in one of the many four-season activities available through the Reserve’s educational and recreational programming. These include bird watching, floral identification, observation rallies, and moonlight snowshoeing, just to name a few. The Reserve also offers a guided excursion from Tourism NB’s Experience Collection. “Blooms, Birds and Butterflies” is offered from May to October.
Through partnerships with provincial and federal groups, Daly Point ensures environmental education is a mainstay. In 2008, a stewardship agreement was signed with Ducks Unlimited. Another three-year agreement signed in 2012 brings over 200 grade 4 students each year to visit the salt and fresh water marshes. Here they learn about the importance of wetland conservation through activities, such as bird watching, critter dipping and environmental games. These form the basis of Ducks Unlimited Project Webfoot.
The Reserve’s salt marsh is home to the endangered Maritime Ringlet Butterfly, a relic species found only around the Chaleur Bay. Every year, funding from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust fund allows for the continued monitoring of this fragile species, to ensure its survival.
More recently, a partnership with the Maritime College of Forest Technology is underway for the management of the City’s 50-acre woodlot just across the street from Daly Point. The College will be employing a strategy of selective cutting, and biodiversity preservation and enhancement for the purpose of creating a “teaching woodlot”.