The Elgin Eco Association (EEA) has been a driving force rallying the community since 2004. The story of what brought them together is best told by them …
It was a bleak day in June 2002 when school buses pulled up in front of the Elgin Elementary School for the last time. Students, teachers, parents said tearful farewells. A community waved good-bye. Our school was closing.
Elgin, like many other historically vibrant rural communities, seemed to be an endangered species.
In the years since the school closure, our grassroots non-profit organization has steadily gained new members. While owning and transforming the school into an eco-centre no longer seems feasible, the EEA has not given up on the idea of establishing an “eco-centre” at another location within the community.
In the meantime, the EEA continues to work at showcasing the Elgin area, and will continue to define its purposes of promoting economic and environmental sustainability through educational projects, events and fundraisers.
For Irving Woodlands, Elgin is a neighbour and we came to know the energetic volunteers through the Tour of Elgin Mountain Bike Race. The race is held every autumn and provides a spectacular, scenic route for the 20-120km races. The coveted bronze belt buckle for the 120km race has become a proud badge of honour for cyclists that come from all over the world to participate.
This feisty little village has drawn big recognition for the event – recognized by Cycling Canada as one of the top 10 races in the country. COVID-19 didn’t stop the cyclists from taking to the trails. The community kept everyone safe.
The woods and ecosystems that surround this community have brought new life to the village. Growing the trails is something we are really pleased to support.
The new trail agreement with EEA provides for a multi-use mountain biking trail along the Will Demille Brook, which flows into the Kennebecasis River. This trail is important as it will complete a loop that will help keep bikes off ATV trails. It will also be part of the larger network of multi-use trails, which encompasses over 40km’s of handmade trails, associated with the EEA’s annual Tour of Elgin Mountain Bike Race which hosts approximately 180 participants each year.
"One of the main objectives of the Elgin Eco Association is to promote outdoor activity including hiking, snowshoeing and cycling. Our annual bike race has been growing in popularity each year and one of the reasons is because of our fast and flowy single-track trails. These trails are a huge tourism draw to our community and we are continuously building new trails each year. This agreement with J.D. Irving allows us to build a new trail on their land and is a huge next step for our volunteer led organization", says Luke Steeves with the EEA.
"The community spirit in Elgin is inspiring. We're neighbours and the trails are special places for the families of our employees and valued local suppliers who live in the area. This is a partnership that recognizes the many benefits the woods in our lives provide. New Brunswick’s renewable forests sustain great year-round activities like hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The working forests also sustains mill jobs," says Robert Fawcett, Director of Corporate Relations with Irving Woodlands.
These trails run through forests of jack pine, white spruce, hemlock, poplar, and red maple. These mountain top rugged trails pass right by a vernal pool, known for producing large quantities of wood frogs that inhabit the upland forest. This vernal pool is one of over 1,700 unique sites protected by J.D. Irving on the lands which we own and manage. Also, reported near the bike trail called the Goat Path, was a sighting of a rare Eastern Cougar in 1998 according to the federal report on the Status of Cougar in Canada.
The construction of the new trail will begin in the fall, and the EEA is hoping to have it open for when biking season begins in May.
Learn more about the Elgin Eco Association here http://eeanb.com/