Hodgson Family Nature Reserve, Napanee Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

Hodgson Family Nature Reserve, Napanee Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

Key wetland north of Napanee protected

October 21, 2020
Napanee, ON


Nature Conservancy of Canada conserves 124 hectares of key wetland habitat

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners today announced the protection of the 124-hectare (306-acre) Hodgson Nature Reserve, 30 kilometres northeast of Napanee.

A collection of fen, swamp and upland forest habitats, the Hodgson Nature Reserve is a long-sought-after parcel that connects lands protected within Menzel Centennial Provincial Park. The reserve is also part of the provincially significant Westplain Mud Lake Fen Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.

For more than 25 years, the national, not-for-profit, private land conservation organization worked to ensure that this special place was conserved. NCC started acquiring lands in the area in 1993, thanks to the generous support of Dieter Menzel, who made many donations to NCC to honour his late wife, Oivi. His support led to Ontario Parks establishing the 914-hectare (2,258-acre) Menzel Centennial Provincial Park in 1997, on the 100th anniversary of the Ontario provincial park system. This latest acquisition of the Hodgson Nature Reserve fills in an important gap at the western edge of the Menzel Centennial Provincial Park, thanks to contributions from the Hodgson Family Foundation, whose members have been involved in wildlife conservation in the Napanee Plain for many years. Thanks to these donors, the important Mud Lake Fen is now almost completely protected on all sides.

Wetlands are incredibly important. They mitigate floods by absorbing and holding water like a giant sponge, and they improve drinking water quality by filtering nutrients and removing sediment and even bacteria. They also provide habitat for many species of birds, waterfowl, turtles and rare plants.

The Hodgson Nature Reserve and surrounding provincial park are home to several species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, including snapping turtle (special concern), midland painted turtle (special concern), eastern wood-pewee (special concern), eastern whip-poor-will (threatened) and Canada warbler (threatened). It also provides breeding and stopover habitat for mallard, wood duck and hooded merganser.

This land conservation project was made possible thanks, in part to funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. These funds were matched by the Hodgson Family Foundation, Dieter Menzel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and many additional generous donors.


“I’d like to thank the Hodgson Family Foundation for making this conservation milestone possible and for demonstrating the essential role that private donors — like Mr. Menzel himself — can play in conservation. I’d also like to recognize the Corrigan family, who recently chose to sell the property to NCC for conservation instead of putting it up for sale on the open market. It takes collaboration to make projects like this happen.” – Mark Stabb, program director for central Ontario east, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“We are so excited to help protect this key parcel of land that exemplifies the diversity of habitats in the Napanee Region.” - Hodgson Family

“I am very grateful to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for keeping this acquisition in the forefront for years to complete the nature reserve. I am thrilled that the entire Westplain Fen and its water sources are all in permanent protection for wildlife, trees and plants and that the area is now out of danger of being developed. I want to thank the Ontario staff at NCC for their patience and diligence in making this nature reserve a reality.” – Dieter Menzel

“By working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and private donors like the Hodgson Family Foundation and Dieter Menzel, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s lands and a quarter of its oceans by 2025. In conserving this land, NCC is helping protect habitat for wildlife, including species at risk such as the snapping turtle, the midland painted turtle, the Eastern wood pewee, and the Canada warbler. We are proud to support this conservation project through the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program.” – The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.

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