Following the Napoleonic Wars in Europe from 1803 to 1815, Britain was cut off from its timber supply in Eastern Europe. Unable to rely on traditional sources, Britain quickly turned to its North American colony as a new source. Albert, part of New Brunswick counties in particular was well suited to meet this demand, thanks to the geography of the area. With its large tracts of virgin timber, located on steep hills surrounded by river valleys which empty out into the Bay was an ideal location to harvest timber. Spruce and Tamarack were two of the species cut down and sent to the mills but White Pine was especially valuable since it was used to make the masts of wooden ships. All settlers of the area had been forbidden in their land deeds to cut white pine on their lands. All of the white pine in the province was reserved for the King and his Royal Navy. By the 1820’s a number of rivers had been dammed and water wheels built to power sawmills. Timber from these mills could be utilized to build wooden ships by local shipbuilding companies or transported by sailing vessels to other markets. Demand for timber grew to the point that the 1851 census for Albert County recorded 97 sawmills operating in the New Brunswick counties.
- County: Albert
- Falls Height: 3 metres
- Falls Type: Veil
- Latitude/Longitude: N 45 49’ 24.0” / W 064 48’ 29.2”
- Property Ownership: Crown
- Rating / Difficulty: ** / Moderate (No Trail)
- River System: Prescott Brook / Lumsden Brook / Crooked Creek
- Scenic Route: Fundy Coastal Route
- SNB Map Book: Page / Map Name: Page 74 / Hillsborough 21H/15
Just above Upper Prescott Brook Falls are the remains of an old flushing dam constructed to hold back the water of the brook and used to drive logs down the brook. There has been a long history of logging in the Caledonia Highlands and it has been one of the most important industries. There are many lakes, brooks and rivers and most of had a dam built on them. Near the dam there is a gully; the remains from where a scoop pulled by a team of horses or oxen cut away the gravel and hauled it to construct part of the dam. In the winter, men working for Isaac Clayton Prescott would cut logs, haul them to the river by oxen or horses, where they were piled high. In the spring, the logs were released into the rushing water and on their way to the Prescott Mill located on Crooked Creek near Riverside-Albert.
Park at the Southern New Brunswick Snowmobile Club House @ N 45 50’ 49.1” / W 064 47’ 20.8”. Drive out Provincial Route 34 a distance of approximately 4 Km or the junction of Route 34 with the Local Route 862/865. Turn left on Local Route 862 and drive out 1.6 Km to coordinates N 45 49’ 31.8” / W 064 48’ 30.3” and park off to one side of the trail. This will place you near one of the branches of the brook. Walk along the left side of the brook to the given GPS coordinates to the waterfall. There are other waterfalls located further down the brook if one is interested in hiking down into the gorge in New Burisk.
Visit Detail: Terry Gallant, my friend, stops abruptly and turns off of the ATV rail and heads down along the brook on what was a very old logging road that is currently overgrown. It is so overgrown that there is little indication that it was used by horse and oxen to haul timber. The forest is scented with cedar and spruce. In a minute we stop at the junction of a second logging road leading up through a ridge of mature hardwood. After a short walk to see the embankment of an old flushing dam and gully where gravel was removed to make the dam we head along the edge of the ravine to the waterfall, a short distance further.
Walking in through all this foliage in silence I ponder a narrative I recently read concerning the reason people chase the perfect photograph. “It is stalking a fleeting and surprising composition, briefly highlighted by a beam of light, the flicker of a breeze, the fall of leaf, the flow of water across a rock face. There are many potential storylines, the trick is to see them and quickly weave a visual narrative of what’s going on that can tell a story to the viewer. To frame the narrative, metaphorically and actually by capturing that image using the technology of the photographer as well as their interpretation”.
The chime of water and rock boastfully permeates the stillness. Without warning the gentle Prescott, that only metres before softly coursed through alders and wetlands now drops 3 metres providing a musical interlude. Somewhat like a musical score the 1812 Overture, the brook flows from lyrical tones to explosive thunder and back within a short distance, repeating this pattern as it churns down into the Caledonia Gorge. As with all waterfalls in Canada, attention to footing is important while navigating down into the ravine. The sides are slippery, forcing us to hold onto trees and roots. The orientation of the brook allows midday sunlight to reach the falls making it extremely difficult to photograph on this trip. This might be my only chance to visit so I make the best of the situation