Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) staff are once again welcoming visitors at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area’s Visitors Centre, which reopened for the season on May 3. Since its construction in 1991, the building has served as an educational and interpretive centre for tourists, students and nature enthusiasts.
“For decades, the Visitors Centre has been a part of the Cooper Marsh experience,” says Scott Braithwaite, the new Cooper Marsh Nature Interpreter. “All are welcome to drop by the Centre during their visit at the Marsh, where they can take in educational and taxidermy displays, look at specimens under a microscope, discuss and record wildlife sightings, or simply take a break from the heat on a warm day.”
The Visitors Centre is open Wednesdays to Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The RRCA is looking forward to hosting educational programs and workshops for school groups in partnership with the River Institute. Residents are also encouraged to follow the RRCA on social media to be notified when registrations for public workshops become available.
Visitors to Cooper Marsh will also notice that the Conservation Area’s parking lot has received a significant reconstruction thanks to a non-repayable contribution of $90,000 from Regional Tourism Organization (RTO9). This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). RTO9 received $4.65 million from FedDev Ontario to help local tourism organizations and businesses safely welcome back visitors, recover from the impacts of the pandemic and prepare for future growth.
“The Raisin Region Conservation Authority is making Cooper Marsh Conservation Area more accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” says the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “This spring, and all year long, residents and visitors can visit this incredible outdoor space and experience southern Ontario’s beautiful wildlife.”
The reconstruction project solves the springtime saturation issues, which had plagued the parking lot in recent years and would leave it prone to deep ruts. A new design also offers a more efficient use of the parking space, which helps accommodate the high visitation numbers at the Marsh. Page 2 of 2
“Cooper Marsh Conservation Area is an important eco-tourism site for the region, receiving tens of thousands of visitors each year,” says Lisa Van De Ligt, RRCA’s Communications and Stewardship Team Lead. “We’re thrilled to see this major improvement made possible by RTO9’s generous investment.”
Nestled on the picturesque north shore of the St. Lawrence River, Cooper Marsh Conservation Area is located a few minutes’ drive from South Lancaster. The 663-acre wetland is home to a rich variety of plant and animal species and is part of the larger Charlottenburgh Marsh – one of the most significant wetlands in Ontario. The RRCA actively maintains, enhances, and restores this natural area, which also features viewing blinds and towers, and a five-kilometre system of boardwalks and nature trails. Nearly 50,000 people visited Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in 2022.
The RRCA is reminding visitors that some of the Conservation Area’s trails are currently closed due to substantial repairs to the Marsh’s system of pumps and ring dykes.
RRCA’s Charlottenburgh Park near Summerstown is also set to open on May 19. The Marina at Gray’s Creek Conservation Area reopened on May 1. For more information, visit rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938- 3611 or email@example.com.