Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area
Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area trails, washrooms, parking lots, and visitor centre are open to the public for day-use only.
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The Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area, in Ontario, is a significant wildlife area. It has a wildlife education center, and contains important habitat for many species at risk.
Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area (NWA) is part of the Wye Valley, near Georgian Bay, Ontario, southeast of Midland. It is a significant area for wildlife. The NWA, with 47 hectares (ha), was established in 1978. It is located next to the Wye Marsh Provincial Wildlife Management Area, an important wetland managed by Ontario.
The NWA includes a wildlife education center, built on old farmland. This centre complements the ten National Wildlife Areas that are great places to Connect with Nature.
Wye Marsh NWA is comprised of:
- old agricultural fields
- a mixed forest area
The wetlands of the adjacent Wye Marsh Provincial Wildlife Management Area are approximately 1.5 kilometers (km) by 4.5 km in size. They are made up primarily of cattail marsh with small areas of fen. The marsh and adjacent wooded uplands provide many different habitat types for wildlife. Former agricultural lands are not currently farmed or mowed.
Wye Marsh is also part of the Wye Marsh Important Bird Area.
Along the valley, there are many birds, reptiles, mammals and other wildlife. Wye Marsh is the well-known site of a reintroduction program for wild trumpeter swans. Beginning with a single pair of captive swans less than 20 years ago, there are now 150 Trumpeter Swans found in the marsh. This is a significant portion of Ontario's wild population of this species.
Wye Marsh also offers nesting and breeding habitat for a wide variety of common and rare species of:
There are a number of species at risk living in the Wye Marsh NWA and surrounding area.
Some threatened species include:
- least bittern
- eastern hognose snake
- Massasauga rattlesnake
- branched bartonia
Some species of special concern include:
- monarch butterfly
There are also watch-list species, including:
- black tern
- caspian tern
- eastern bluebird
- trumpeter swan
- eastern ribbonsnake
- northern leopard frog
Find more information on Wye Marsh NWA in the summary table below.
Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.
Wye Marsh NWA is open to the public but subject to admission fees handled by the Friends of Wye Marsh. Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre offers programming for all age groups year-round, including access to long and short hiking trails as well as a marsh boardwalk. Friends of Wye Marsh, a not-for-profit organization, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada and others, operate the Centre.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Wye Marsh NWA, include:
- wildlife viewing on designated roads and trails and in designated parking areas
- hiking at the locations referred to in item 1
- participation in a group meal or a group event involving 15 or more people in designated areas
- pperating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, at the locations referred to in item 1
- parking in designated parking areas
- non-motorized boating in designated areas
- cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in designated areas
- activities referred to in items 1 to 7 in designated areas during designated periods from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
More information on access and permitting for Wye Marsh NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office for.
Map of the area
This map showing the area between Port McNicoll and Mud Lake, Ontario. The boundaries of Wye Marsh NWA are indicated. The protected area is located to the south of Highway 12 and Lake Huron and to the northeast of Mud Lake. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/longitude||44°729’ North / 79°836’ West|
|Reason for Creation of protected area||
|Date created (Gazetted)||1978 - Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Habitat/Species Management Areas (IV)|
|Additional designations||Part of Wye Marsh Canadian Important Bird Area|
|Keystone or flagship species||Trumpeter Swan|
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)||Mammals:|
|Main habitat type||Wetlands and woodlands|
|Main threats and challenges||
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Open to the public with admission fee, Friends of Wye Marsh provide:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
4905 Dufferin Street
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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