New Viewing Platform at Ellice Swamp (media release, November 29, 2017)
November 29, 2017 – On Saturday, November 18, a few members of the Friends of Ellice and Gadshill Swamps and UTRCA representatives completed a viewing platform to enhance the nature experience of visitors to the Ellice Swamp. The new viewing platform is on the 7 kilometre Ellice Swamp Rail Trail, which was opened in 2010 with assistance from the Rotary Club of Stratford.
“We encourage people to visit Ellice Swamp, walk the Rail Trail and enjoy the new platform. It’s a great spot to view waterfowl and other wildlife, or simply take a break,” said Bill Mackie, UTRCA Lands & Facilities Supervisor. “The trail follows the former CN rail line past swamp thickets, coniferous plantations, deciduous swamps and wet areas. There is a trailhead sign at the entrance on Line 52, an interpretative sign near the wet area, and a sign at the end of the trail marked with the various vegetation communities that you pass through.”
Directions: From Stratford, follow Line 119 north through Gadshill and turn left (west) onto the 52nd Line. Continue on the 52nd Line past 122nd Road, and watch for the Ellice Swamp entrance sign on your left.
Ellice Swamp is open for hiking on Wednesdays and Sundays, excluding the week of the December deer hunt.
The Friends of Ellice and Gadshill Swamps have worked over the past decade to create and maintain outdoor opportunities at both wetlands. Examples of other projects completed by the Friends include roadside clean-ups, information sharing, and resource enhancements.
The Friends have also initiated efforts to control the spread of Phragmites australis, an invasive plant in Ontario. Phragmites not only negatively impacts wetland ecosystems, but also impedes municipal drains and impacts farmland drainage.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.swampfriends.ca
Covering approximately 856 hectares (2115 acres), Ellice Swamp is the largest woodlot in Perth County. The swamp is located between Stratford and Milverton in the northeastern portion of the Thames River watershed, between the North Thames River and the Nith River, which is a tributary of the Grand River. The swamp is drained by two Black Creeks, one flowing north to the Nith River and the other southwest through Sebringville to join the North Thames River. The wetland is largely owned by the UTRCA.