“A garden of wildflowers” – this phrase recurs again and again in descriptions of the 33-hectare Petrel Point Nature Reserve. The wonderful sprinklings of pink, mauve, red, blue and yellow that fill the wetland through the seasons can only inspire a passion for nature.
The reserve is a spectacular example of Great Lakes Coastal Meadow Marsh, a globally rare habitat. Slight changes in elevation in the wetland separate distinct communities of plants, many of them rare.
Plants and Animals
Petrel Point Nature Reserve is home to many unusual wildflowers due to its basic (high pH) groundwater. A dense white cedar swamp surrounds the reserve’s meadow marshes.
The meadow marshes support a diverse community of carnivorous plants, including horned bladderworts, sundews and pitcher plants. Orchid lovers will find showy lady’s-slippers, rose pogonia, grass-pink, small purple-fringed orchids and broad-leaved twayblade scattered throughout the reserve.
Due to the delicacy of the plant life at Petrel Point, visitors must explore from the walkways provided. The boardwalk is currently undergoing repairs in some sections to improve safety and accessibility for outdoor recreation experiences and better protect its sensitive ecological features.
There are a number of other interesting areas nearby, including the Oliphant Fen, Reid Point Conservation Area, Walker Woods Conservation Area and Sauble Falls Provincial Park. Ontario Nature helped raise funds to purchase the Reid Point and Walker Woods properties.
From Highway 6 turn west at the town of Mar on Red Bay Road. Drive along Red Bay Road to its end at Huron road. Drive north on Huron Road roughly three kilometres, then turn left (west) on Petrel Point Road. Petrel Point Road divides the northern and southern halves of the reserve. Please park only on the north side of the road.
View Petrel Point Nature Reserve in a larger map.
Thank you for the generous support towards Petrel Point Nature Reserve’s accessible boardwalk from the following sponsors:
The Government of Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund
The Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund
The J.P. Bickell Foundation
The Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation