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Below is brief information on the two major conservation areas in and around Port Colborne. Both are important wetlands that are havens to migratory birds, and other forms of wildlife. Click on the name of each conservation area to visit their respective web-pages maintained by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Area.
The Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area
The Wainfleet Bog is located on the western edge of Port Colborne. The wetland attracts a large variety of butterflies and bird species including yellow warblers, great blue herons, egrets, gulls, terns, sandpipers and ducks. Abandoned quarries on the site contain an interesting array of coral fossils extending back 380 million years.
The 1,000-acre Wainfleet Bog is the largest remaining peat bog in Southwestern Ontario.
An important wildlife habitat, the Bog is home to a small remnant population of Massasauga rattlesnakes as well as the rare Spotted Turtle. Controlled seasonal hunting for deer and small game. One hour trail rides through the Conservation Area are offered throughout the year by HorsePlay Niagara. Located at Wilson Road off Highway 3 West.
Mud Lake Conservation Area
A special place to experience nature at its best, Mud Lake contains 160 acres of lakes, streams, wetlands and woods. The perfect spot for hiking, bird watching, and cross-country skiing or viewing the scholars from the South Niagara Rowing Club.
On the flight path of many migratory birds. More than 60 species of birds and waterfowl can be identified at this location. Controlled waterfowl hunting from late September to mid-November.
Easy access from the Welland Canals Recreational Trail or by following Elm Street North. Open all year round.
Also located around Port Colborne are these three smaller conservation areas. All are great places to experience nature, as well as spot birds and other types of wildlife.
Humberstone Marsh Conservation Area
The Humberstone Marsh Conservation Area is 202 acre (82 hectares) located in the City of Port Colborne protecting wetlands and area waterways. Enhanced by the presence of the nearby Onandaga Escarpment, this peat/muck filled basin is one of only three such features on the Niagara Peninsula (others being Wainfleet Bog and Willoughby Marsh). Passive recreational activities including bird watching and seasonal hunting can be enjoyed here. No trails or washroom facilities are developed at this wilderness area.
Gordon Harry Conservation Trail
Named after Gord Harry, long-time conservationist, former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Chairman, Wainfleet Mayor and Wainfleet resident, this conservation trail extends east to west across the Township of Wainfleet along the former Grand Trunk Railway Corridor and running parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline.
Along the trail you will see picturesque views of wooded areas, open fields and quarry lakes. The trail’s proximity to a number of wildlife areas means it acts as a travel corridor for area wildlife and you are likely to see an abundance of birds and small mammals.
This 13 km trail has barrier free access with gated entries at each road crossing. The Gord Harry Trail connects directly to Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area, and passes near Long Beach, Morgan’s Point and Wainfleet Bog Conservation Areas.
Parking is available at the Station Road and Quarry Road entrances.
Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area
Once covered by a shallow, warm sea between 450 – 300 million years ago, what is now the Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area was the site of a clay and limestone quarry from the late 19th century until the 1960’s. Fossils of the plants and animals that lived in the Paleozoic sea can be seen in the exposed limestone of the Onondaga Formation, in the quarry walls and rock tableland.
Purchased by the NPCA in 1978, today the quarries and clay pits have naturalized and are home for fish, birds, waterfowl, turtles, snakes and plants. Unique alvar communities of rock loving plants also thrive here in the shallow soils, in addition to the site woodlots and meadows.