Restoring pathways to discovery at Cooper Marsh

Recipient: Cooper Marsh Conservators Inc.
Region: South Glengarry Township
Program: Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund
Total funding received: $125,726

The newly restored boardwalk at Cooper Marsh has revitalized a key nature attraction.
The newly restored boardwalk at Cooper Marsh has revitalized a key nature attraction.

For generations, Cooper Marsh Conservation Area has been a popular destination for bird-watchers, students, eco-tourists and naturalists. Located along the St. Lawrence River, between Cornwall and Lancaster in South Glengarry Township, Cooper Marsh is one of Ontario’s most significant wetlands.

Time and weather had taken a toll on the popular boardwalk that snakes through the marsh, making it unsafe and facing closure. FedDev Ontario’s support through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund gave the Cooper Marsh Conservators’ Get on Board charitable fundraising campaign the boost it needed to replace the aging boardwalk structure.

Dr. Robin Poole, who led the efforts on behalf of Cooper Marsh Conservators Inc. (CMC), credits FedDev Ontario’s contribution for being able to complete the boardwalk rebuild in just two year’s time. The boardwalk is now safe, wheelchair accessible and will last for generations to come.

Cooper Marsh is a major attraction, helping to support the local economy by drawing over 15,000 visitors annually to its eight kilometres of trails. Since the boardwalk’s completion, the number of visitors continues to rise with many visitors travelling from much farther away. “The restoration work at Cooper Marsh is a very significant and important contribution that greatly benefits the local and regional community, including many visitors from Quebec,” says Poole.

Raisin Region Conservation Authority manages the site with on-site educational and interpretation programs provided by CMC partners, including the River Institute and the Cornwall and Area Birding Club. The revitalization project, which is currently extended to improve facilities for wildlife breeding habitat and wildlife observation, is not only about rebuilding a place in which to explore nature, but also about looking towards a sustainable future for the area.

“Everybody you meet at the Marsh, many with children, all say how much they love the new boardwalk,” says Poole. “You see the smiles on their faces and that makes you very happy to see the impact of this restoration for them, as well as those of us that love nature and Cooper Marsh.”

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FedDev Ontario made it possible to complete the restoration work involving boardwalk construction in a much shorter time period than would have otherwise been possible.
Dr. Robin Poole, Chair, Cooper Marsh Conservators Inc.