Morning on the Tantramar Marsh
Covered bridge on the Tantramar Marsh, Sackville, New Brunswick. TM-0102
Sun Beams on Beams
With the sunrise at my back I got a picture of the inside of the covered bridge. Sackville, New Brunswick. TM-0104
The sun rises over a Ducks Unlimited wetland preservation area on the Tantramar Marsh in Sackville, New Brunswick. TM-0106
State of Decay
A gap in the boards of an old barn makes a good home for a spider. Taken at sunrise on the Tantramar Marsh. TM-0109
Located near Sackville, New Brunswick, the Tantramar Marsh is the largest dyked, salt marshes in North America. In the previous three centuries, these marsh lands were important hay fields for the Eastern Seaboard and Europe.
Until the First World War demonstrated that the horse calvary was obsolete, the Tantramar Marsh was an important source of hay for British stables located in North America. The hay was also shipped for commercial sale along the Eastern Seaboard and Europe as late as the 1930s. As a salt marsh, with its rich, sticky, red mud and soil, the hay grown there is high in iodine. In a world where food additives were not yet being used, iodine-rich hay made the Tantramar a valuable source for healthy, high quality fodder. It was also more labour intensive to farm the large, fertile fields. Farmers would build one or more barns on their land to store the hay until it could be hauled away. This required many barns or the marsh, and just 70 years ago, there were over 400 of these small barns on the marsh. As farming technology and tractors advanced, it became easier to transport and store the hay differently, and the barns became idle and neglected. Today, less than 30 of these barns remain, but to many who have lived or visited the area, they are symbols of the town and it's history.
While I grew up in Sackville and traveled on the marshes many times, it really wasn't until I had moved away and developed my interest in photography that began to be fascinated by the marshes. Now, whenever I get the chance to be back in Sackville, I try to spend as much time as I can out in the Tantramar area with my camera, trying to catch a new vision of the familiar yet changing marshes. In my short life, the Tantramar Marsh has changed quite a bit. I can remember driving across as a kid and there being many of the iconic barns dotting the landscape. But the ever present Sackville wind, the summer lightning storms, and just plain neglect are annually reducing the number of barns that remain. [To catch a glimpse of what the landscape used to be like, visit http://www.mta.ca/marshland/topic1_environment/cunningham4b_29.htm]
© 2004-2010 Troy W. Johnstone. All rights reserved, reproduction prohibited.
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