The following blog post is part of the People Behind the Trails series that is meant to celebrate people who have a positive impact on hiking trails in the province. We hope it will inspire you to, in your own way, give back to the beautiful trail systems in the province.
Here is Barb’s story:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I have always loved the outdoors and am passionate about learning about, and teaching children about nature. I taught “The Great Outdoors” program to youth as a 4H leader for a few years, and while working in youth ministry for my church, I often take the children on outdoor events such as hiking, camping, skiing, skating, sliding and geocaching. I have volunteered with the Friends of Mactaquac Park organization since 2007, and am presently the chair of the group. I have an outdoor job as the Director of Retail and Guest Experience at River View Orchards in Keswick Ridge, and part of my job is to get families out to the farm to enjoy quality time together. We have family friendly events and activities, wagon rides and a corn maze during our harvest season.
2. How long have you been hiking?
I grew up in Mactaquac just after the construction of Mactaquac Park in the 1970’s, so I was hiking the trails at Mactaquac as a teenager.
3. What is your first memory of hiking?
My first job as a teenager was at Mactaquac Park lodge, and I can remember hiking to work through the park trails, sometimes very rapidly, so as not to be late for work. That led to a love of the woods and hiking.
4. What is your favorite memory of hiking?
When my two boys were small we went geocaching in the Marysville area to what was called “A Pirate’s Cache”. We trod through many trails and spent many hours hiking through fields and woods, having to carry the young boys when they tired. Finally we spied the cache in a small cave. The looks on their faces when they saw a real treasure chest filled with gold coins, jewelry and other gems and treasures was priceless!
5. What is your favorite hiking trail in the province?
I would have to say the Beaver Pond trail at Mactaquac Provincial Park is my favorite NB Trail, just because I have made so many memories there with my children and others. It is so relaxing to sit and look out over the water to see mother geese teaching their goslings to swim, beavers slapping their tails on the water to warn me to “back off”, and muskrats bathing themselves just after daylight. A close second would be New River Beach trails. They are beautiful!
6. What do you do to contribute to hiking trails in the province?
I help, along with other members of the Friends of Mactaquac Park group, to promote the trails at Mactaquac Provincial Park. We also are stewards of the trails and report to Park management on conditions and problems within the hiking trail system. In 2014 we were instrumental in getting a new bridge built across the Beaver Pond Trail. The bridge was built by NB Trails. We also try to pick up garbage along the trails when we use them, and have held trash clean up days in the past. We have also participated in “The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup” held at Mactaquac Park for the past three years.
7. What do you think is the biggest challenge for hiking trails in the province?
I think the biggest challenges for hiking trails in the province is maintenance, and trash on trails. Some of the trails are wonderful. The ones that are used often are usually well maintained by the stewards that use them. However, I’ve been on many trails that are not maintained properly and have noticed garbage on some trails as well.
8. What can people do to help build, maintain and promote hiking trails in the province?
I think we as individual trail users can help a lot by picking up trash as we hike and use the trails to keep the path’s accessible. I want people to use our provincial park trails. If we do not use them, they may not be there for future generations. The New Brunswick government is currently considering selling our provincial parks. I hope we don’t lose these natural assets, as our families need them, now maybe more than ever.
The Friends of the Mactaquac Park group helps raise awareness of the park and all it has to offer. This effort has been successful and resulted in over 3,000 visitors during a Winter Wellness Day held on January 31. If you have visited the park please help spread the word. For more information about the the Friends of Mactaquac Park email firstname.lastname@example.org.