About Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve
Fees: Parking is $7.50 per day; free with HCA Membership Pass.
The Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve is a unique natural area. The area is 414 acres in size and is located at the headwaters of the Spencer Creek Watershed. The area is an important groundwater recharge area and is considered a provincially significant wetland.
An abandoned quarry at the site was rehabilitated, resulting in the creation of a rare type of wetland. Environmental improvements to the area resulting from the restoration are significant and include the expansion of a fen plant community — the rarest form of wetland in Ontario — creation of additional habitat for rare plants and animals already in the area, a new breeding area for leopard frogs, snakes, and a variety of small mammals, such as groundhogs, foxes and bats. A mix of coniferous and deciduous trees will create a canopy that, over time, will provide valuable shelter for wintering birds and mammals. The area contains a trail system and interpretive panels.
Dr. Robert G. MacLaren was a naturalist who pushed for the conservation of nature in Hamilton and other parts of Canada through his work on the Bruce Trail and other projects. Located in a clearing in a forest of hemlock, in an environmentally significant area not accessible to the public, is a memorial plaque mounted on a granite boulder, MacLaren Rock. The plaque reads:
Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
Dr. Robert G. MacLaren – A tribute
He walked afield, savouring all the goodness of our great country. And with patient care taught those with less experience how to know a woodland flower, fern, night-flying moth or fungus nestled in the tangled twigs of forest floor. His knowledge was profound, diversified, exact, a wonderous gift. Befitting such a man, a man of science whose life was dedicated to his fellows.
By John J. Carey