Home to an impressive stand of eastern white cedars, Hammond River Park offers 5 kilometres of trails, interpretive signs and lush views over Hammond River and its marshlands.
Hammond River Park is a 16-hectare nature park located at 28 Reynar Drive in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, 30 kilometres northeast of the city of Saint John. If you’re in the Saint John area and looking for a leisurely hour of easy hiking, Hammond River Park provides the striking contrast of shady, almost gloomy cedar woodland and sunlit river banks cloaked with deciduous trees.
Vilis and I checked out Hammond River Park during a birding outing in early July 2017. We hiked downhill through the cedar forest, passing by ferns and moss-covered boulders in the woodland’s open understory. I heard a woodpecker rapping on a tree trunk and identified the songs of black-capped chickadee, red-eyed vireo, American robin, black-throated green warbler, black and white warbler, winter wren, golden-crowned kinglet, American goldfinch and red-breasted nuthatch.
We also heard excited children’s voices and walked past firepits and tarpaulin shelters. Hammond River Park is the training ground for a summer camp that teaches kids’ outdoor survival skills. Children from local schools also played a role in choosing ten species of flora and fauna featured on interpretive signs throughout the park: wood turtle, red-backed salamander, ironwood, apple, eastern white cedar, sphagnum moss, black-capped chickadee, pileated woodpecker, river otter and skunk cabbage.
Trails led us down to and along the lush, green river bank enticingly dappled with sunshine. We rested on a convenient bench and took in the river sights. A nearby hollow tree looked as though it could be one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s ents, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Pressed for time, we hiked back up the hillside, through the cedar woods. The next time I’m in the Saint John area, I plan to return to this delightful park and enjoy a picnic lunch as I gaze out over the river.