About James H. Fullard Nature Reserve:
When Sugarbush Island was threatened by development the supporters of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust rallied together and, after a successful community fundraising drive, enabled the Trust to purchase this special place in October 2010.
This 26 acre island is located near Chaffey’s Locks in Lake Opinicon. Sugarbush Island is an integral part of the 385 acre wetland complex known as the Murphy’s Bay Wetland Complex, a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) and Ministry of Natural Resources Fish Sanctuary. Sugarbush Island, widely regarded as one of the best natural areas in the Rideau Corridor and one of its top botanical sites, is a precious remnant of the region’s original natural landscapes.
As an RWLT protected area, the threat of development has ceased and Sugarbush Island is available to the community for passive recreational use and quiet contemplation. In 2012 a walking trail was developed leading from Davis Lock Road through the meadow and woods to the short causeway leading to the island. The property is known as the James H. Fullard Nature Reserve in memory of one of the favourite professors associated with the nearby Queen’s University Biological Station.
The lands are open sunrise to sunset May 15 to November 15. They are closed to all visitors at all other times.
Flora & Fauna:
James H. Fullard Nature Reserve is home to many animal species-at-risk including the Northern Map Turtle, Gray Ratsnake and Eastern Ribbon Snake. Its woodland areas provide rare habitat for many uncommon breeding birds, such as rare Common Nighthawk and the spectacular Red-Shouldered Hawk. The rich woodland nurtures the growth of many deciduous and coniferous trees. Large specimens of Butternut and Bitternut share the island with Sugar Maple and majestic White Pines. The understudy consists of Dogwood and other flowering shrubs while the shoreline vegetation is important to preserving the adjoining wetlands.
When travelling by car turn west from Hwy #15 at Elgin and proceed 7 km along Davis Lock Road to trailhead.
GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):