Social Distancing at Luther Marsh

Luther Marsh is in the headwaters of the Grand River. The Grand River Conservation Authority maintains a dam that has created a lake, which helps control water flows in the river. The marsh is a birder’s paradise, especially during the spring and fall migration season, as 263 species have been identified. Watch out for the endangered spotted turtle and Butler’s garter snake, which have been found here.

We took advantage of an hot, sunny day in August to go for a paddle on the lake. There were half a dozen other cars in the parking lot and a couple of other pairs of paddlers heading out onto the lake. However, once we were on the lake no-one else was visible. It was a windy day and a bit choppy, but we paddled hard into the wind, passing a beaver lodge and a flock of ring billed gulls feeding on a raft of floating vegetation. Returning to the access point, we coasted, letting the wind push us back.

A few ancient willow trees, reminded us that the Mohawk name for the Grand River was O:se Kenhionhata:tie or Willow River.

If you plan to paddle at Luther Marsh, check the GRCA webpage for advisories: https://www.grandriver.ca/en/outdoor-recreation/Luther-Marsh.aspx. Note that the area is closed to boats in the spring until July 31, to allow an undisturbed nesting season. Note also that hunting is permitted in the fall, although gun hunting is never permitted on Sunday. Information on hunting season is available on the Ontario government website: https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary.

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