Gaunamitz Falls

Waterfall Detail: The Gounamitz River runs crystal clear like many of the northern New Brunswick Rivers. The lesser known tributary of the Restigouche River it is the most adventurous. If you enjoy canoeing this river provides the right mix of white water along with long runs of calm relaxing pools. There are more or less four major drops that can be run depending on your skill level and water levels.

This falls is one in a series of waterfalls along the length of the river. Located at this location and commanding a spectacular view of the pool below was a warden’s camp. The foundation of a fireplace still remains. The waterfall stretches across the enter width of the river. The attraction to this waterfall is not the falls itself but the magnificent surroundings and the clear water of this watershed.

The area is also known in New Brunswick avionic history. During our battle with the Spruce Budworm a network of remote airstrips armed with Avenger aircraft was established. On June, 8th 1982 a TBM Avenger piloted by Robert McLean and owned by Forest Protection Limited out of Boston Brook airstrip crashed and burned near the North Branch Gounamitz River. Pilot McLean died in the crash.

From the bridge spanning the Little Main Restigouche River drive out the forestry road heading northwest towards Rapids Depot. This is the main road along the Kedgwick River. Drive approximately 8 km until the sign indicating Gounamitz River and Lake. Turn left and drive 15 km to the access road that leads to the river. This 2.5 km road starts off rather flat but near the river it drops precariously towards the old warden’s camp. If the downfalls are cleared it should be no problem. I suggest stopping at Canoe Arpin,  to see if the road conditions are good.

There is a short trail from the parking area.

Visit Detail: On a beautiful warm afternoon in May 2009, I am with my friend Andre Arpin. As we drive along our conversation meanders from modern forest practices, to stories about the historical log drives that took place on the many tributaries of the Restigouche. We are in the famed Kedgwick Woods and it is easy to see how expansive this part of New Brunswick is. At one point along the way we crest upon a ridge, providing and un-obstructed picture. Hill upon hill stacked upon each other stretch as far as the eye can see. This region fuels the forestry economy of Restigouche and Madawaska Counties.

Our discussion resonates around the need to properly manage this resource ensuring that all can enjoy both today and into the future.

Eventually, we turn off the forestry road and head south along a cut road on the eastern flank of the Gounamitz River. Andre informs me we are heading for one of the prime locations canoeist set into the river.

The road leading down into the valley is rather steep and sometimes blocked by trees after a long winter of heavy snow and wind. On this occasion the road is not blocked and rather dry for this time of year. Parked near the old warden camp I head for the river to shoot and Andre inspects the area. This is certainly a picturesque location. The water is crystal clear and the sky is big. A long way up the river I can see another small waterfall.

From here we are heading for Clearwater and another waterfall. So we head back to the truck and head up out of the valley.