Mac Johnson Creek Conservation Area

Where swans nest, billowing reeds blow & nature's bounty is enjoyed by all.

The Mac Johnson Wildlife Area is one of Cataraqui Conservation’s largest conservation properties, and also one of it’s most popular with visitors. Located north of Brockville, just two kilometres from Highway 29, it consists of 532 hectares of wetland, field and forest. The reservoir located on this property maintains water levels for the Buells Creek System which flows through the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley and the City of Brockville. The reservoir is also a Class 1 provincially significant wetland with a high diversity of plant and animal life, where you may catch a glimpse of the Trumpeter Swans. 

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About Mac Johnson Wildlife Area

For those who enjoy a nature walk, or a more stringent and challenging hike, there are a total of 11 kilometres of trails on the property, offering a chance to experience the wildlife and vegetation of woodlands, wetlands and fields. Trail 1, also known as the Wildflower Loop, has been developed into a popular and educational interpretive trail. The trails are open year-round, including for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, but are no longer groomed and maintained by Cataraqui Conservation on a regular basis.

Also known locally as the Back Pond, the Wildlife Area was renamed by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority in 1987, to recognize the efforts and achievements of a Brockville resident and early Conservation Authority member Mac Johnson.

The Freinds of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area maintain a native plant nursery on the wildlife area property. They host tree sales throughout the year to the public and use tree stock for local planting initiatives. All tree sale proceeds go back into the nursery and wildlife area.

  • Picnic tables, a large picnic shelter, firepit, and handicapped washrooms are available on the north side of the reservoir. A small picnic area is also located on Centennial Road near the Broome-Runciman Dam.
  • Cataraqui Conservation has been an active participant in the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program since 1999. While we no longer have a captive breeding pair, we are still active in the program and swans are frequent visitors to the Wildlife Area at all times of the year.
  • There are two canoe access points, one located at the reservoir by the main Debruge Road entrance and the other is located on Centennial Road near the dam.
  • The Nature Centre contains picnic tables, a woodstove and washrooms.
  • Cataraqui Conservation hosts a variety of curriculum enriched environmental education programs for all ages at the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. Visit our education page for program offerings.
  • PA Day, March Break and Summer Camp Programs are hosted in partnership with the Frontenac Arch Biosphere. To register for their programs please visit their website.

Learn More About the Friends

The Friends are a volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the resources of the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area (MJWA) including its provincially significant wetland and wildlife, along with meadows and forests.

Their primary objectives are to maintain and improve the property’s facilities and protect its natural features, increase public awareness and appreciation of the conservation area, support on-site curriculum-based education programs, develop and organize special family-oriented events, and raise funds from the community to support this work.

Activities & Membership

Fun at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area

Share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to be featured #MacJohnson

Activities & Facilities

Help us protect Mac Johnson and make sure all visitors have an enjoyable experience


Please stay on the marked trails. Do not walk on the groomed & track-set trails, stick to Trail 5 and the service roads.

Dog Walking

Dogs must be on a leash at all times for the safety of your pet and courtesy to other visitors.

Cross-country Skiing

Trails are in their natural state, Trails 1 to 3 are groomed when conditions permit.


Trails are in their natural state, Trails 1 to 3 are groomed when conditions permit.

Pack In & Pack Out

Please do not litter. Leave only footprints and take only photos.

Nature appreciation

Wetlands, woods, meadows and shoreline areas provide many opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Native Plant Nursery

Seeds & cuttings collected from native stock for reforestation activities. Plant sales available.


Latest from the Friends of Mac Johnson

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tree nursery

Friends of Mac Johnson - Potting New Trees

The Friends of Mac Johnson received their annual bare root tree order yesterday and are now busy potting over 600 trees. Most of these trees won't ...
students at an earth day clean up

Earth Day at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area

This is what Earth Day in the Cataraqui Watershed looks like! When members of the community come together to support the environment, in a very mea...
mac johnson tree nursery

Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area Spring Tree Sales (May & June)

Join the Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area at their Annual Spring Tree Sales Location: The Friends' Tree Nursery 4673 Debruge Road (at Tin Cap)...