Tamarack at the Mary West Nature Reserve. (Photo by Chelsea Marcantonio/NCC staff).

Tamarack at the Mary West Nature Reserve. (Photo by Chelsea Marcantonio/NCC staff).

New public trails open at Mary West Nature Reserve, near Campbellford

December 19, 2023
Cambellford, ON


Nature Conservancy of Canada announces new walking trails and native plant seed orchard

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a newly opened trail system and native plant “seed orchard” at its privately protected Mary West Nature Reserve, near Campbellford. NCC celebrated the new trails and seed orchard at a grand opening event this fall.

Nature enthusiasts and hikers are invited to get out this winter and start exploring the Mary West Nature Reserve, which features 2.8 kilometres of walking trails that wind through forests, wetlands and along a picturesque creek. New boardwalks and interpretive signage help create a positive visitor experience. The trails are open year-round for daytime foot access, and leashed pets are welcome.

NCC is also working to restore old farm fields at the site into a seed orchard of dense native wildflower plantings and grassy meadows. This will result in a source of locally grown native seed for NCC’s tallgrass prairie and oak savannah habitat restoration projects across Northumberland County, and will provide opportunities for community volunteers to help contribute to habitat restoration over the long term.

The Mary West Nature Reserve is located at 1186 County Road 35, in Campbellford, across from the well-known Westben Theatre. Nestled in Trent Hills, the reserve contributes to the ecological integrity of the Trout Creek and Trent River watersheds by conserving and enhancing wetland and forest communities. This 38-hectare property is home to species at risk, such as butternut, wood thrush and snapping turtle. Donated to NCC by the estate of Mary West in 1991, the property protects an intact natural woodland. This nature reserve also provides carbon storage and flood mitigation, as well as clean drinking water for the community.

The newly established trail system, parking lot upgrades and the establishment of the native plant seed orchard were supported by numerous partners and donors, including the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, Ontario Power Generation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, The Galen Foundation, Mike Wilson and other donors wishing to remain anonymous.

This project showcases how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than one million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.


“The new trails at the Mary West Nature Reserve are a fantastic community asset for the Campbellford area. We hope these new trails encourage people to get out and experience the unique sights, scents and sounds of nature this winter while travelling through this beautiful forest and meadow." Mark Stabb, Program Director, Central Ontario East, Nature Conservancy of Canada

"Nature trails and conservation areas are important for communities and the protection of natural ecosystems. Our government is pleased to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its efforts to build and maintain lands that benefit the environment. The NCC provides opportunities for people to explore, learn about and enjoy the beauty of sourthern Ontario's natural habitats, and we are happy to support them." - The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought people together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $1.4 billion, ten-year fund (2021–2031) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada to help conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon; (2) improving land management practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emission-causing impacts on Canada’s ecosystems; and (3) restoring degraded ecosystems. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.

For photos and video, click here.

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Brianne Curry
Communications Manager, Ontario
C: 519-520-1340

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