Marshlands Conservation Area

Preserving Nature in the Heart of a Cityscape.

It has been a long-term goal of Cataraqui Conservation to acquire the floodplain and wetland areas along Little Cataraqui Creek in the City of Kingston. Over the past five decades, land has been bought as it becomes available on the open market, creating what is now termed the Marshlands Conservation Area. The purpose is to protect the floodplain and the provincially significant wetland from being developed, as it provides wildlife habitat, flood storage and green space in the middle of an urban area – all of which are important to the region’s biodiversity and sustainability.

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About Marshlands

The property has limited public access, with roughed-in trails in some places, and more developed trails in others. The focus is on land preservation as opposed to recreation, although the trails are ideal for nature lovers, especially those enjoying the cool breezes coming off the river and its tributaries in the summer.

The trailhead provides the main Kingston access to the Rideau Trail which has 387 km of cleared and marked trails between Kingston, Perth and Ottawa. The Rideau Trail is maintained by volunteers from the Rideau Trail Association with support from Cataraqui Conservation who maintains the parking lot and surrounding area at the trailhead.

Marshlands has been known by various names over the years including Little Cataraqui Creek Valley Lands, Cataraqui Marhslands Environmental Protection Area and Cataraqui Bay Marshlands Conservation Area. The name was changed to Marhlands Conservation Area to avoid confusion with Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area north of Highway 401.

The land acquisition for the area includes all the floodplain and wetlands along the main branch of the Little Cataraqui Creek between Lake Ontario and Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, which is located north of Highway 401. Currently Cataraqui Conservation owns most of the east side of Little Cataraqui Creek between King and Princess Streets. We also own some land along the west side of the creek as well as a small piece of land at the corner of Portsmouth Avenue and John Counter Boulevard. Two other public landowners, the City of Kingston and the Correctional Service of Canada, own significant amounts of floodplain and wetland areas along Little Cataraqui Creek.

The wetland and forested areas of Marshlands provide many opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature appreciation. The area's rich biodiversity is evident and glimpses of Barred Owls are always a highlight.

Sights at Marshlands Conservation Area

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Activities & Facilities

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


Please stay on the marked trails, off trail use is not permitted.

Dog Walking

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

Nature appreciation

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

Pack In & Pack Out

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

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