Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area


Wye Marsh National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While most trails are open, some trails and visitor facilities may remain closed until such time that they can be safely re-opened.

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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.

Wye Marsh NWA

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:

  • uplands
  • old agricultural fields
  • wetlands
  • 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:

  • birds
  • mammals
  • turtles
  • snakes
  • frogs
Trumpeter swans

There are a number of species at risk living in the Wye Marsh NWA and surrounding area.

Some threatened species include:

Some species of special concern include:

There are also watch-list species, including:

More information on Wye Marsh NWA can be found 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 protection and conserve wildlife and their 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 activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Wye Marsh NWA is open to the public but subject to admission fees handled by the Friends of Wye Marsh. Some activities are permitted. Public notices listing the authorized activities are 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. The Centre is operated by Friends of Wye Marsh, a not-for-profit organization, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada and others.

Contact the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office for more information on access and permitting for Wye Marsh NWA.

Map of the area

Wye Marsh NWA boundaries
Long description of the map

Map showing the area betwen 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 north-east of Mud Lake. The scale on the map is in kms. 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.

Summary table

This table provides summary information for Wye Marsh NWA.
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 44°729’ North / 79°836’ West
Size 47 ha
Reason for Creation of protected area
  • Public education and interpretation
  • Presence of Species at Risk
  • Provincially significant wetland
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)


Special concern

Other species


Reptiles & Amphibians:

  • northern leopard frog
  • eastern ribbonsnake
Main habitat type Wetlands and woodlands
Invasive species
  • common reed (Phragmites australis)
  • alder
Main threats and challenges
  • Adjacent land use conflicting with the management objectives of the NWA
  • Invasive alien species
  • Unauthorized use (hunting, off-road vehicles)
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:

  • programs to the public
  • long and short hiking trails
  • marsh boardwalk
  • interpretive center with an exhibit hall
  • video theatre
  • snack bar
  • gift shop
  • washrooms

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T4

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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