Down on the boardwalk

Members of the Friends of the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary celebrate the new section of boardwalk, during Nature and Wildlife Day at the Sanctuary. President Chuck Clavet cuts the ribbon. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

INGLESIDE — The Friends of the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary unveiled one of the first sections of revamped boardwalk at the provincially owned facility last week. The celebratory event coincided with the annual Nature and Wildlife Day that also drew hundreds of visitors to the Sanctuary Sept. 25.

The group cut the ribbon on 570 feet of rebuilt boardwalk traversing a swampy area at the start of the Red Wing South nature trail.

Made of white cedar affixed to a floating pontoon system, the new boardwalk section — installed at a cost of $260,000 — replaces an earlier one that sat on posts but was badly weathered and rotted.

Starting last fall, the improvement was done as the first phase of the Friends’ ‘Get on Board’ boardwalk rehabilitation project.

“It’s the first of many … there are seven sections left to put in,” declared Friends President Chuck Clavet, estimating another 500 feet requires replacement in 60- to 100-foot sections on Sanctuary trails. “We’ll be starting on the on the Red Wing North trail this winter,” he said. After that, they will tackle the Blue Heron Trail system boardwalk — decommissioned a decade ago “and never replaced,” he said.

The Sanctuary’s original boardwalks date back to the late 1980s, he said, emphasizing the Friends undertook the replacement not as a “gift” to the St. Lawrence Parks Commission — which owns the property — but for the “people of SD&G and the whole planet.”

Going forward, the Commission “has to maintain the place,” he added.

The fundraising effort for the remaining boardwalk improvements remain ongoing. See the Friends’ Get on Board web page.

Clavet also pointed to nine new park benches made by Jamie Poulin’s woodworking class at Tagwi Secondary School from lumber left over and donated by one of the Ingleside solar projects. The Sanctuary also anticipates a higher population of purple martins, with a new 20-foot “purple martin condo” recently erected on site.

See a gallery below of the critters and birds during Speaking of Wildlife’s and Falcon Environmental’s shows at Nature and Wildlife Day at the Sanctuary.

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