We all want to feel safe and secure while enjoying the outdoors, but several threats may lurk just below the surface.

You will probably hear the water before you see it. 

Gordon Falls has long been considered one of the most beloved hidden gems that New Brunswick has to offer. Situated in the Pollett River near Elgin NB, rapids, ravines, and waterfalls guide the river as it makes its way toward the Petitcodiac River. The popular swimming, hiking, and cliff-jumping destination continues to attract individuals and families summer after summer for good reason. As climate change progresses and ecosystem health declines, however, pristine-looking waters may increasingly obscure aquatic threats.

Photo of Gordon Falls by Michelle Tan

We all want to feel safe and secure while enjoying the outdoors; unfortunately, several (often invisible) threats may lurk just below the surface. Potential hazards in Maritimes Canada range from chemical pollution to biological contagions like E coli and giardia.  While it is still early in the season, toxic (cyanobacteria) algae blooms have already been detected in New Brunswick. If ingested, these toxins can quickly and seriously impact the central nervous system in humans and animals (including pets). At its worst, a gooey layer of green film warns visitors of concerning water quality. Other times, it can easily go unnoticed. 

This is not to say that you should not take advantage of our many wonderful waterbodies, just that you should do so with caution. Along with Gordon Falls, the PWA collects monthly water samples to monitor the safety of several popular swimming spots throughout the watershed. We can detect high bacteria content including E.coli, and observe changes in water chemistry. This information is made available to the public at https://www.theswimguide.org/ and on the Swim Guide app.

While water quality is continuously changing and funding constraints prevent any monitoring program from being fully comprehensive, this information can give visitors a better understanding of what concerns to look out for. Next time you’re looking to cool off this summer, check out our swim guide page and consider venturing to one of these awesome spots. To ensure the health and safety of our watershed, you can report any potential water quality concerns to https://www.theswimguide.org/. Threats may include fish kills, a bad smell, algae blooms, and more.  

To enter our Summer Giveaway, post a picture at any of our swim guide sites, tag us, and use #watershedmoments

Gordon Falls: 45.784343357682424, -65.09437828172581

Crooked Creek Falls: 45.763286, -64.748286 (see here for more specific directions)

Folly Lake (in Memramcook): 46.034603, -64.63995

Hopper Hole: 45.938825, -64.978766

Irishtown Nature Park (not suitable for swimming): 46.142093294123, -64.77211203852423

Pollett River Swimming Hole: 45.9960484, -65.091273