Chute Moulin Morneault

Waterfall Detail: The hamlet of Moulin Morneault was named for Pascal Morneault and is located alongside the Iroquois River just over a ridge of hills to the east of the Village of St. Jacques. Established as Plourde Settlement in 1789 under Free Grants Act. The first mill was built at this location in around 1814 by Peter Plourde. It was a gristmill used to make flour out of the wheat and buckwheat grown by local settlers. Later, machines were added to card wool for clothing and bedding. The Morneault family were not the original owners but held the mill within their family the longest, handing down the ownership from father to son for many years. Today, there is an idle mill powered from electrical grid, a sign of the many changes in the lumber industry were independents have difficulty competing.

The Iroquois meanders down through a beautiful valley towards the Saint John River. As the valley narrows so does the river and at Moulin Morneault it becomes constricted by a granite outcrop. Over time the river has carved a path through and it contorts around the rocks forming a wonderful waterfall. At the base is a large pool surrounded by rock and draped by mixed forest. The pool is open to daylong sunshine making the spot a haven for kids wanting to cool off.

To see these falls make drive to the Victoria Street Exit off the TCH highway in Edmundston. Head north away from Edmundston on Rue Principal, which is on the east side of the Madawaska River from St. Jacques. This street will come to a junction with a bridge across the Madawaska River to St. Jacques, East Madawaska River Road and to the right and upward, Chemin St. Joseph. Take this latter road up over the mountain and down into the Iroquois River Valley. On the map this area is known as Moulin Morneault.

Park near the country store just before the bridge. The waterfall is located 100 or so metres up from the bridge traversing the Iroquois River. There is an access road leading up from the road to home. One could either walk up along the river to the falls or drive in and ask the property owner to access the falls.

Visit Detail: It is early morning and I am meeting Allain Pelletier at the local McDonalds in Edmundston. Allain has a day of waterfalling planned around my book presentation at the Conway Public Library later in the day. Our first location to view is Chute Moulin Morneault. I have driven past this waterfall on several visits to the area to photograph Falls Brook Falls and Gagne Falls. Both located further north in Madawaska County. No sun, overcast and a light drizzle of rain, perfect weather to photograph waterfalls.

Allain stops at the closed home to the falls to ask permission to photograph the waterfall. Permission provided we park near the trail and follow the short trail down to the base of the falls. From our vantage point the waterfall is across a large dark pool. It is an excellent location to setup our camera. On this particular occasion there is a tree lodged between the rocks at the cascade. I imagine this must have been a real tough spot for lumbermen to work at. In the early morning the quiet is broken by the screech of Crows in the nearby trees. We finished our visit just before the rain began in earnest. Chasing us back to the SUV. We are off to a set of waterfalls on Ruisseau a Lavoie  in St. Basile, which is just below Edmundston.