The Secrets of the Stonehammer

In 2010, a great swathe of southern New Brunswick became North America’s first designated, UNESCO-supported Global Geopark. Here, the rocks have given up secrets of our planet’s development throughout its lifetime, intriguing the curious among us. Encompassing rocks from all geological ages except the Jurassic, Paleogene and Neogene periods, the 2,500-square-km (964-square-mile) park stretches roughly from Lepreau to Norton and from the Fundy Trail to the Kingston Peninsula .

Of the park's more than 60 significant sites, a dozen can be visited, and are interpreted either by information panels or through outfitters who can guide you on foot or by kayak. Even if you’re not among the geologists and paleontologists who would find a lifetime’s fascination within what to the rest of us are just rocks, there’s much to excite the imagination—the birthplace of the Atlantic Ocean, land that was once joined to what is now Africa, and terrain where some of the planet’s earliest creatures have left visible evidence of their existence. When you need to give your cerebral side a break, there are also physical activities from zip lining to rock climbing.

Saint John itself holds many of these sites, and a good place to start is the New Brunswick Museum, for some background information and to pick up free pamphlets. Then head out to see the Reversing Falls Rapids, where two continents collided; Irving Nature Park, with its Ice-Age stories to tell; Rockwood Park and Dominion Park, with their geology on show.

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