Maliseet Ancient Trail

Ancient Trails are of great interest to our watershed. Before the European people arrived, First Nation’s people had a great network of trails and canoe routes.

One of the most significant ancient trails used by the Maliseet First Nations was the connecting trails and waterways that joined the Saint John River system to the Passamaquoddy Bay near St George NB.

This great Maliseet Trail started at the mouth of the Oromocto River where it empties into the Saint John River. This ancient trail was a transportation and trade link to the coast.

The birch bark canoe would have been the principal mode of transportation up the Oromocto River and would have been an easy paddle to the present day Fredericton Junction.  Canoes would have been poled and paddled up stream, pulled or roped through rapids until they reached North Oromocto Lake near Harvey. An easy paddle up and across the lake to the west side. Then the hard work of carrying equipment, supplies and canoe for 4 kilometers up and across the ridge to the Magaguadavic River.

Then all would be down hill all the way to the Bay. Several heavy rapids would have to be negotiated as well as 2 waterfalls. This trail would have been the most used native trail in the province of NB. A secondary Maliseet Trail turned left to go to Little Lake. At the end of Little Lake a gravel horseback or esker joins Peltoma Lake. This was a 2.2 kilometer portage. The outlet stream of Peltoma Lake joins the Piskehegan Stream which then joins the Magaguadavic River and runs to the Passamaquoddy Bay. These routes have a very high concentration of First Nation artefacts, in fact the highest in the province outside the Famous Augustine mound found at Red Bank.

The Oromocto River Watershed wants to bring these ancient trails back to life. What a great outdoor adventure trip it will be for any advanced group wanting a super adventure experience.

The trip would take 3-4 days to complete from Oromocto to St George.

The great news is – we know the exact location of these trails and they have been GPS.

What is the next step in developing these trails?

  1. We need someone or group to take on this project.
  2. We need to define the ownership of the land where the portages exist and obtain permission to cross and use.
  3. We need to ribbon the trails.
  4. Clear the trails of brush and obstacles
  5. Making an easy walking trail and portage trail on which one can carry a canoe.
  6. Sign entrances to trails for easy discovery
  7. Create two monuments to pay tribute to First Nations and their Ancient Trails.

If you would like to be involved in this project please contact Robin Hanson, Oromocto River Watershed Association