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James H. Fullard Nature Reserve


1408 Davis Lock Rd, Elgin ON

When travelling by car turn west from Hwy #15 at Elgin and proceed 7 km along Davis Lock Road to trailhead.

Hiking at J.H. Fullard is free of charge. However, donations to the Land Trust are appreciated. 

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):

Latitude: 44.5760100
Longitude: -76.2964440

About James H. Fullard Nature Reserve:

When the opportunity to acquire Sugarbush Island arose, supporters of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust rallied together. After a successful community fundraising drive, RWLT purchased 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, 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.


Sugarbush Trail

Rating: easy to moderate

Distance: 2.8 km

Hiking Time: 1 hour

Comments: Suitable for all ages and fitness levels. 

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. To read the management plan, please click here.

Rideau Waterway Land Trust, P.O. Box 42, Elgin, Ontario, K0G 1E0 Canada. Phone: +1 (343) 653 2500

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