Paddling through the “Everglades of the North”
It’s a foggy spring morning, quiet and still, not a whisper of wind in the air, and you’re paddling through a forest of silver maple, hackberry and bur oak trees. The canopy above is perfectly reflected in the glass-like water, which floods here each spring, and you are kayaking along the third largest wetland in southern Ontario: the Minesing Wetlands. It’s astonishingly serene and beautiful for being so close to civilization. Muskrats swim by, there’s an eagle’s nest up ahead and bird call is all around. The forest opens out into what is a lake at this time of year, with flooded water as far as the eye can see. Crisp spring air fills your lungs.
This was the reward for a small group of Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff and supporters who woke up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning in early May to paddle through the Minesing Wetlands.
This spring has been a particularly bad one for flooding in Ontario. From the Ottawa Valley to Essex County to Bracebridge, communities across the province are struggling to keep the water back from their homes and businesses.
Intact wetland systems like the Minesing Wetlands not only filter and purify our water and provide habitat for a multitude of species, they also do a fantastic job of absorbing flood waters. In fact, it is one of their key roles.
Related blog posts
The Minesing Wetlands specifically hold waters that could otherwise threaten communities like Wasaga Beach and Angus. And with over 70 per cent of southern Ontario's wetlands lost since European settlement, conserving our remaining wetlands is critical.
We’re seeing dramatic weather events like severe flooding and storm surges more frequently. And with our climate in crisis, we need to be conserving the natural places that are known to help play a role in mitigating the effects of these threats.
With the generous support from individuals and organizations, NCC and our partners have protected over 13,600 acres (more than 5,500 hectares) in the Minesing Wetlands since 1974. Staff from organizations like Ontario Power Generation, who have been a significant supporter of the Minesing Wetlands, joined us that day to see first-hand that these wetlands are worth protecting.
To learn more about the Minesing Wetlands and why it’s known as the “Everglades of the North,” click here.