Distance Walked: 7.35 km
Walking Time: 1 hr, 45 min
Trail Rating: Easy (with options for moderate and more challenging hills to up your game)
Location: 9 Ranchview Road (one of several access points)
An incredible oasis, with seemingly endless paths to explore, it’s easy to forget that neighbourhood subdivisions closely encircle Richard’s Marsh.
An abundance of wildlife call this marsh home. Great blue herons, virginia rails, pacific tree frogs, red-tailed hawks, piliated woodpeckers, mallard ducks, little brown bats, river otters, voles, beavers and long-toed salamanders are examples of some local residents. Fun fact: many marsh birds have extra long toes that give them the ability to walk or run on the surfaces of wetland plants. I would never have guessed this.
Also commonly found here are cattails, reed canary grass, salmonberries, western hemlocks, sword ferns, and, of course, dragonflies. (Source: Richard’s Marsh interpretive signs.)
Wetlands currently cover six percent (8.6 million square kilometres) of the earth’s surface. This figure has rapidly declined over the years. Fortunately, increased awareness is now causing more wetlands to be conserved, restored and recreated.
Freshwater marshes are one of the most productive ecosystems. They are incredibly nutrient-rich; thus, they sustain diverse plant and wildlife communities. Marshes are also extremely effective at cleaning polluted waters. Marsh replicas are now used to treat wastewater for farms and industry.
Richard pointing out that this marsh bears his name. Unfortunately, we do not know the history behind this.
Following this hike, I joined up with some girlfriends to explore Hamilton Marsh and revisit French Creek Harbour. While Hamilton Marsh was fairly quiet, we did spot a juvenile bald eagle, and orcas playing at the harbour. What else could you ask for on a Wednesday afternoon?
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