St. John River
Though not designated for its natural values, the St. John River – the largest watershed east of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence – is home to outstanding bird habitat and the remaining one percent of the Appalachian Hardwood Forest.
Named “Wolastoq,” or “the good and bountiful” river by the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people, the St. John River’s connection with this First Nation dates back 10,000 years. This historic waterway was also an important transportation route, first for European explorers and then as a highway for commercial goods and services throughout the history of New France and Upper and Lower Canada.
The river played an important role in settlement of the region by the French and later by the British. Called “the road to Canada” by one historian, the St. John River was the key communication route between Upper and Lower Canada and the Atlantic. The river also figured prominently in Canada’s military history, including the War of 1812.
The birthplace of the renowned Chestnut Canoe, the St. John River offers recreational opportunities for canoeists, fishers, bird watchers and boating enthusiasts and is popular with sailing, boating, and rowing clubs.
Who Manages the River?
The St. John River Society is the main point of contact for information regarding the cultural and natural resources of the river.
The high tides of the Bay of Fundy and the constricted mouth of the St. John River form the Reversing Falls, which change direction with the flow of the tide.