Conservation Lands

Edwards’s Wetland & Sherwood’s BayBesley WoodsVan Niel WoodlandsRed RockIslands in The BogKate's IslandJack's IslandKen Yen IslandIsland 8MacDonald's WetlandThe Brenda Carter ConservationCarter-Phillips Nature AreaLady Kingsmill Nature Reserve

Edward’s Wetland & Sherwood’s Bay

In 2014, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust received a valuable bequest of land from the estate of a very generous woman, Ms. Elizabeth Edwards. This donation of 185 acres of land, wetlands and mature forest includes 1,600 feet of shoreline on Big Rideau Lake.

Edward's Wetland

Edward’s Wetland

Three parcels of land make up this donation. The larger 122 acre parcel consists of a wetland marsh surrounded by a healthy buffer of deciduous forest. The smaller 20 acre parcel located adjacent consists of a mature, undisturbed deciduous forest typical of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region for this part of eastern Ontario. The third parcel is located on Sherwood’s Bay and is a 40 acre parcel, a valuable deciduous forest tract adjoining Big Rideau Lake in the form of a largely undisturbed natural shoreline landscape.

The larger parcel is 122 acres of land in the Portland area. It consists primarily of deciduous forest and wetland. The wetland, which constitutes approximately 40% of this parcel’s land base, is a dense, flooded cattail-dominated marsh surrounded by a transition band of Red-Osier Dogwood, Willow and other shrubs, with a slow-flowing stream running through it.

The second, 20 acre parcel, is a beautiful and largely undisturbed area of primarily deciduous woodland dominated by mature Sugar Maples.

Sherwood's Bay

Sherwood’s Bay

Sherwood’s Bay is a 40 acre primarily deciduous woodland adjoining Sherwood’s Bay on the south west shore of Big Rideau Lake. It is one of the few remaining, highly visible stretches of undeveloped upland forested landscape left on Big Rideau Lake and is thus deserving of continuing protection. The forest is dominated by Sugar Maples, but you’ll also find Ironwoods, American Elm, and Hemlocks.

These parcels were originally protected by a conservation agreement was donated by Ms. Edwards in 2004 under the Ecological Gifts Program, a national program administered by Environment Canada. Upon her death Ms. Edwards bequeathed full ownership of the lands to the Rideau Waterway Land Trust to ensure their continued preservation. The Rideau Waterway Land Trust is a qualified recipient of donations of land under the Ecological gifts Program. All properties donated under this program must meet national criteria for ecological importance. Having met these criteria, Ms. Edwards’ land is considered to have national ecological significance.

Besley Woods

This property on Rideau Road in North Grenville Township , near Kemptville, was the first property acquired by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. Dr. and Mrs. Besley of Ottawa donated the property jointly to the Rideau Waterway Land Trust and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. The donation of this property was completed in 1997 and the property was officially dedicated and named Besley Woods on July 14, 1999.

Besley

This property is located in the former Township of South Gower and is comprised of parts of Lots 10, 11, 12, and 13, Concession 9. It has an area of 61.5 acres and is part of the Kemptville Creek Wetland Complex, a Class 1 wetland. The property has approximately 1,000 feet of frontage on the Rideau River and a significant frontage on the easterly side of Kemptville Creek. The property is, in effect, floodplain of the Rideau River .

Several types of wetland communities are found within the property. On the western margin, a typical Sweet Gale/Cattail marsh predominates along the inlet of the Rideau River . The fringing Cattails form a band some 20-metres wide. On the eastern margin, another inlet features a shrub edge of Dogwood, Alder and Sedge which, opens onto a small embayment with Water Lilies and other aquatic vegetation. The northern margin, along the Rideau River , is swamp forest of Alder , Ash and Red Maple. Inland, the remainder of the property (excepting one small tillable field) is swamp forest. The forest is quite diverse, with a mixture of tree species, predominately hardwoods, with an understudy of ferns. Tree species include Green and Black Ash, Elm, Black Cherry, Butternut, Butternut Hickory, Red Maple, Yellow Birch, Bur Oak, Ironwood, Blue Beech, Basswood and Balsam Poplar. Gray’s Sage (regionally rare) is present in healthy patches.

Van Niel Woodlands

Working with the US Conservancy, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust was able to accept the donation of this 23-acre property in 1999. The VanNiel family donated the property in memory of their parents who had vacationed in this area since the 1920’s. This property, known as VanNiel Woodlands, is situated on a rocky point on the western shore of Cranberry Lake just east of the entrance to Dog Lake , an area known as Fiddlers Elbow. This property has over 3,000 feet of shoreline on the Rideau and includes a small island that sits immediately adjacent.

Van Niel Woodlands

The property is entirely treed and has remained untouched for generations. The northerly portion supports a mature deciduous forest while the southerly area has mixed forest with a significant amount of White Pine. The dominant trees include White Pine, Hemlock, Red Oak, Red Maple and White Birch. The entire property is considered upland forest with no significant wetland areas.

The property provides habitat to a variety of songbirds, Pileated Woodpeckers, Herons and White-tailed Deer. Although the volunteers of the Land Trust have not spotted them on the property, the area is a known habitat for the threatened Grey Rat Snake. Since this property shows very little disruption and currently supports a healthy ecosystem, the management plan allows the property to be maintained in its current state with very little remedial action planned.

Red Rock

Red Rock Bay

Red Rock

Located on the northern shore of Big Rideau Lake you will find a property known affectionately to generations of Rideau cottagers and boaters as “Red Rock”. This magnificent property, with its large granite rock and sheltered cove, has provided many memories for the children of the area. A favourite summer childhood memory for many cottagers is boating to Red Rock and enjoying a picnic on the grassy knoll or a swim at the beach. The rolling granite rock, with its distinctive red colour, affords a beautiful view of Big Rideau Lake .

This area has come under heavy development in recent years. Two citizens, concerned that the natural features of this property would be lost forever, approached the Land Trust with a wish to see the property preserved in its natural state. Sue Halpenny and Christie Cass were instrumental in securing the property, and with the help of other members of the community, the property has been preserved in perpetuity.

This magnificent property is now entrusted to the care of the Land Trust and will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

An Osprey nesting platform was erected on Red Rock in late 2004 with the help of the volunteers of the Leeds County Stewardship Council.

Islands in “The Bog”

The Bog

In 2003, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust reached an agreement to acquire the twelve remaining unprotected islands in the area known as “The Bog”. The Bog is a Class 1 – Provincially Significant Wetland – the highest possible wetland rating in Ontario and is located in the north-eastern corner of Newboro Lake . In addition to being a Class 1 Wetland, this area is also designated as a provincial fish sanctuary, an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and has been identified as a key area of interest within the UN Biosphere Reserve.

The Bog is recognized as an important plant and wildlife nursery, nesting site, feeding grounds and resting place for birds, fish and small animals.

These twelve islands, range in size from a half acre to over three acres and form an integral part of this wetland complex.

Kate’s Island

Kate’s Island

Kate’s Island is situated in Whitefish Lake near the entrance to Morton Bay and is an island reminiscent of a Group of Seven painting. Donated in 1999, in memory of their mother, the Brown family has entrusted this jewel of an island to the care of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. This island lends itself to the aesthetic qualities of the Rideau Waterway. The island with its towering pine trees has provided natural habitat for the resident Ospreys of Whitefish Lake. The small natural beach will provide an area for future generations to pause and enjoy the natural beauty of the Waterway. 

Many users of the waterway have used this island as a rest spot and the Land Trust is confident that the human community and Osprey community will respect each other’s right to use the property.

Jack’s Island

Late in 1999, the Brown family donated a second island to the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. This one-acre island is located in White’s Bay in Whitefish Lake . The island is well wooded and has been used as a resting spot for day-trippers for many generations. The Brown family donated it in memory of their father, Jack Brown, who vacationed on Whitefish Lake for many years. This island is typical of many of the natural areas along the Rideau Waterway. 

It is the Brown Family’s wish that visitors of the waterway enjoy the island in its natural state just as their father did.  The Land Trust has accepted the responsibility for the care of this island and the management plan calls for the island to be monitored. All we ask is that everyone enjoys it and treats it with respect.

Ken Yen Island

Ken Yen Island

Ken Yen Island is a private island with a cottage located on Newboro Lake . This delightful retreat is reminiscent of the early style of cottages that were built on the Rideau. It is located in a natural area of the lake where the donor spent many hours canoeing the bays and wetlands and developing a deep appreciation for its natural beauty.

The donor made the decision to donate the cottage and island with the understanding that it be sold and that the proceeds be used to preserve natural areas so that future generations could enjoy them as their family has.

The Rideau Waterway Land Trust sold this property in July of 2003 and as part of the condition to sell now holds a conservation agreement on the property with the new owners. The Land Trust monitors the property regularly as per our agreement.

Edwards Wetland  & Sherwoods Bay

Edward’s Wetland

In 2004, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust received a valuable donation of a conservation agreement from a very generous woman, Ms. Elizabeth Edwards. The donation is a conservation agreement on 185 acres of land, wetlands and mature forest including 1,600 feet of shoreline on Big Rideau Lake .

Three parcels of land make up this donation. The larger 122 acre parcel consists of a wetland marsh surrounded by a healthy buffer of deciduous forest. The smaller 20 acre parcel consists of a fairly mature, undisturbed deciduous forest typical of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region for this part of eastern Ontario . The third, Sherwoods Bay , is a 40 acre parcel and is considered to be a valuable deciduous forest tract adjoining Big Rideau Lake in the form of a largely undisturbed natural shoreline landscape.

The larger parcel is 122 acres of land in the Portland area. It consists primarily of deciduous forest and wetland. The wetland, which constitutes approximately 40% of this parcel’s land base, is a dense, flooded cattail-dominated marsh surrounded by a transition band of Red-Osier Dogwood, Willow and other shrubs, with a slow-flowing stream running through it.

The second, 20 acre parcel, is a beautiful and largely undisturbed area of primarily deciduous woodland dominated by mature Sugar Maples.

Sherwood’s Bay

Sherwood’s Bay is a 40 acre primarily deciduous woodland adjoining Sherwood’s Bay on the south west shore of Big Rideau Lake . It is one of the few remaining, highly visible stretches of undeveloped upland forested landscape left on Big Rideau Lake and is thus deserving of continuing protection. The forest is dominated by Sugar Maples, but you’ll also find Ironwoods, American Elm, and Hemlocks.

This conservation agreement was donated under the Ecological Gifts Program, a national program administered by Environment Canada. The Rideau Waterway Land Trust is a qualified recipient of donations of land and conservation agreements under this program. All properties or conservation agreements donated under this program must meet national criteria for ecological importance. Having met these criteria, Ms. Edwards’ land is considered to have national ecological significance.

Island 8

Island 8

This small island is located on Devil Lake in the Township of South Frontenac and was donated by Ray and Lois Wilson in 2004. The island is in its natural state with plenty of mature trees and underbrush. It is gently rolling in nature with a rocky shoreline sand and weedy bottom.

MacDonald’s Wetland

MacDonald’s Wetland

In 2005, working with the MacDonald’s Island Cottage Association, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust preserved its 12 th property. This property, known as the MacDonald’s Wetland, has 3,000 feet of shoreline and is part of the provincially significant Big Rideau Lake Wetland Complex. It is located just off Highway 15 on the eastern edge of Portland . This property makes a valuable addition to neighbouring wetlands already protected by the Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

 

MacDonald’s Wetland

The MacDonald’s Wetland property includes a large bay that is dominated by Cattails. In the summer, it provides habitat to hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds. A second bay is part of the provincial fish sanctuary, which plays an important role in sustaining the fish populations in our lakes.

 

The woodlands surrounding these bays are forested with Sugar Maple, Beech and Hemlock. On the day that Simon Lunn, our Land Trust’ s volunteer biologist, visited the site to prepare the baseline documentation report, a Great Horned Owl was being mobbed by several dozen Crows and two Blue Jays while a Red-shouldered Hawk was calling out and circling above.

The Brenda Carter Conservation Area

The Brenda Carter Conservation

The Brenda Carter Conservation

Brenda Carter and her husband Gerard Phillips had carefully stewarded two parcels of land in the Merrickville – Burritts Rapids area to ensure that the natural habitats were not only preserved but enhanced. When it came time to work with a conservation organization to carry this work on in perpetuity Brenda and Gerard chose the Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT). 

The Brenda Carter Conservation Area was donated to the RWLT in 2009 and is the Trust’s largest conservation area. This 430 acre parcel is located within the City of Ottawa in an area known as the Marlborough Forest . With its varied terrain of uplands and the Provincial Significant Brassil’s Creek Wetlands, it supports various habitat for many species including the rare Black Tern, Blanding’s Turtle, Least Bittern and the Eastern Prairie Fringed orchid. The local community has reported sightings of black bears in the upland areas of the property. 

The Marlborough Forest area of Ottawa is a large area that includes 7 wetland complexes. Much of this area has been acquired and preserved by the City of Ottawa . The Brenda Carter Conservation Area will form a key part of the Marlborough Forest and will be left in its natural state by the RWLT to allow the natural habitat to continue to provide a refuge for the rare species within the City of Ottawa

Carter-Phillips Nature Area

Brenda Carter’s second property to be donated consists of approx. 36.6 ha (90 acres) of woodlands, open fields and wooded ravine habitat that adjoins Rideau Creek, a tributary that feeds the Rideau River (part of the Rideau Canal National Historic & World Heritage Site). The creek is flanked by woodlands, and bordered directly on its south side by floodplain habitat, and on its north side by steep soil-based banks.

The Carter-Phillips Nature Area

The woodlands, which totally cover the northern half of the property, constitute high quality interior forest habitat. This includes 6 ha of mixed woods & 13 ha of hardwood habitat, 6 ha of which have functioned for a number of years as a sugar bush. Mature tree species such as Sugar Maple and American Beech, as well as birds such as the Red-shouldered Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Winter Wren, Veery, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Scarlet Tanager, & other species representative of mature forest interior habitat that were variously recorded here by professional biologists (1999, S. Hamill; 2008, S. Lunn). ( Addendum : Of particular interest was a record of a Canada Warbler (Species at Risk) made first by song, and confirmed by sight by S. Lunn in the wetter northwest woodland corner of the property on June 6, 2009. It is unknown, however, whether this represented a breeding male or a late migrant or transient individual.) Of incidental interest is the fact that the Rideau (hiking) Trail flanks the northern property line along a dirt laneway. 

The southwestern corner of the property features a stream that first passes through a wet meadow floodplain and old field habitat (1+ ha) and then through a wooded ravine (4.1 ha) before emptying into Rideau Creek. A small trail traditionally used by the property owner skirts the eastern side of the meadow and stream area, and passes by the large (burr) white oak and basswood trees that form part of the ravines’ woodland canopy. Of note in the spring are the thousands of marsh marigold blooms found within the wet meadow and along the stream. The south eastern portion of the property is largely open grass (hay) fields or meadows categorized as agricultural land managed to support songbird habitat. A double row of planted pine trees flank the west side of the larger field, while native shrubs have been planted in the low-lying northern flank of the field.  Today the RWLT continues to manage the fields and meadows as Bobolink Habitat.

carterTree Plantings

Carter-Phillips Nature Area

In January of 1999, 24.1 ha of this property was registered under a (20 year) provincial Woodland Management Plan (MFTIP). It is largely managed in a fashion designed to support the existing biological diversity of a variety of habitats for the benefit of the native flora and fauna. Some of the sugar maples have traditionally been tapped within the sugar bush, and several cords of firewood cut annually (especially from trees killed or damaged by recent ice and wind storm activity), and as sanctioned within the MFTIP agreement. A modest forest lane loops through this section of the woodlands.

The wildlife habitat inventory & natural heritage features assessment carried out in 1999 as part of the MFTIP agreement certainly noted that a significant proportion of the woodlands support fauna and flora typical of good quality, contiguous interior forest habitats. This was verified by initial observations made during an on-site visit through the property by S. Lunn (RWLT biologist) in the summer of 2008. Important interior forest habitat features included standing dead trees, cavity trees, stick nests, fallen dead trees, mast and high canopy trees, as well as a number of ephemeral surface water wetland pools of particular value to amphibians. 

In summary, this property contains a variety of contiguous habitats that support a vibrant diversity of native flora and fauna, in particular species representative of a healthy, mature interior forest habitat. Addendum: It also features a stream flanked by a buffer of natural wet meadow and woodland ravine habitats, as well as a buffer of woodlands that flank a short section (several hundred feet) of Rideau Creek, which drains further downstream into the Rideau River , part of the Rideau Canal National Historic World Heritage Site. 

Lady Kingsmill Nature Reserve

Lake Kingsmill Nature Reserve

Lake Kingsmill Nature Reserve

This 6 acre island is located in Big Rideau Lake and it was once part of the Kingsmill estate.  It was on neighbouring Grindstone Island where Admiral Kingsmill laid plans for what is now known as the Royal Canadian Navy. 

This island is vacant of all buildings and is 85% wooded with a mix of mature forest of both deciduous and coniferous trees and the remaining 15% is a comprised of wetland that provides and important reproductive area for fish, reptiles and amphibians.  The island was donated by Bob and Arlene Rae in 2011