“The Cape” is a rocky headland jutting seven and a half kilometers out into the uppermost Bay of Fundy. It offers one of the most phenomenal views of the Bay of Fundy, including a unique point of view to experience the world’s highest tides, from atop of its spectacular cliffs.
Cape Enrage gets its name from the fact that the bay-funnelled winds often strike the cape full force, especially when the dominant south-westerly summer winds are at work or certain storm systems track up the bay. Complimenting this Amazing View, the rock formation that comprises the Cape could be characterized as a “really big fossil”. The individual fossils at Cape Enrage are contained in successive beds of sedimentary rock that were laid down approximately 320 million years ago!
A diverse, tropical flora existed then and aided in the formation of the bedrock that now forms Cape Enrage’s backbone, at a time when what is now much of the eastern half of New Brunswick was situated at or near the equator. Fossils of many lowland plants can mainly be observed here, including beautifully preserved, giant horsetail-like understory trees called Calamites, and some from the much larger “scale trees” Lepidodendron and Sigillaria. The latter two are related to modern-day club mosses. An abundance of stem imprints or casts with parallel-lined bark textures and large branch knots, mostly from the Calamites, are also well preserved at the site.
Small invertebrate trackways are rare but also present. These trackways have traditionally been attributed to millipedes; however, horseshoe crabs may also produce similar designs. Some of the cliff sections also show evidence of ancient landscapes, such as fossilized in-filled river channels. These can be seen in cross section in the sandstone or mudstone rocks in the cliffs. Where they are exposed, spectacular rippled surfaces can also be seen.
Fossils at this site and others along the coast are presently the subject of some very revealing research projects in flora and fauna from long ago. The beaches are regularly searched for new specimens that may be of scientific importance. For that reason, it is illegal to remove fossils from the beach under the New Brunswick Hertiage Conservation Act, although do feel free to take pictures of them and let the staff know if you have found something you think may be unusual or of interest to researchers!
This site also has a rich human history; it has been a light station and fog alarm since 1838; the current light tower is over 150 years old! Much of what is now happening with regards to tourism at Cape Enrage began as a project to involve high school students from the Moncton area and helped to preserve the lighthouse and the site as a whole in the late 1990s in a big way.