Iconic New Brunswick flowerpot rock collapses: park official

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WATCH ABOVE: A large portion of the flowerpot rock known as ‘The Elephant’ at New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks crumbled away Monday morning. As Shelley Steeves reports, the loss may have actually brought new life to the park – Mar 15, 2016

HOPEWELL CAPE, N.B. – An iconic East Coast landmark has collapsed.

A spokesman for New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks provincial park says a large section of the flowerpot rock known as “the Elephant” caved in Monday morning.

“I get a little choked up I am a little emotional when it comes to this place I am a little emotional it is very dear to me,” interpreter Fran Steeves told Global News.

Steeves has been a tour guide at Hopewell Rocks for more than a decade. She said that of all the rocks that could fall victim to erosion, this is the last one she expected to see crumble.

The rock is one of 17 such formations on the Hopewell Rocks shoreline and is best known for its depiction on New Brunswick’s Medicare card.

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Kevin Snair, the park’s supervisor of interpretive services, says recent temperature swings likely contributed to the collapse. More rocks fall in the spring than any time of the year.

Snair discovered the caved in rock on Monday morning while walking up the beach.

“I was thinking ‘oh please let him be okay,’ and sure enough when I came to the other side he was split in half,” Snair said Tuesday.

Snair says when the snow melts, water flows into cracks in the rocks, then freezes again when temperatures drop at night, which weakens the stone.

Because of the fall, he’s asking curious visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the fallen “Elephant” to keep their distance – more rocks could tumble down at any time.

Park to be inspected

The park will now be fully inspected by geologists to be sure it’s safe for the coming tourist season.

Tourism minister Bill Fraser says that while this is a sad day for Elephant Rock, it’s an exciting day for the park as a whole.

“It’s part of our story and I think there is going to be a tremendous amount of interest this season here at the park,” he said, adding that he hopes locals who haven’t visited in a while might come back to see the change.

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*With files from The Canadian Press.

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