Gardiner, Grace and Neilson Properties

The Gardiner, Grace and Neilson Properties are all located 40 kilometres (24 miles) west of the City of Ottawa in the Appleton swamp, just north of the town of Appleton. The Appleton swamp is an extensive riverine swamp and marsh complex associated with the floodplain of the Mississippi River.

The Gardiner Property is a 10-hectare (25-acre) landlocked property that was acquired in 2000 through a donation by Shirley M. Gardiner. The Grace Property is an 8-hectare (20-acre) property that was acquired in 2006. The Grace Property includes some frontage on the Mississippi River. The Neilson Property is a 20-hectare (50-acre) property that was acquired by the Trust in 2016 as a donation from the estate of Mrs. Jeannette Neilson.

The properties are all managed for the Trust by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority with the purpose of maintaining the natural features and biodiversity of the properties. There is no public access to these properties for that reason.

Heritage value

The properties are situated in the Appleton swamp, which is recognized as a provincially significant Class 2 Wetland and Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) due to the unique representation of riverine marsh, swamp and upland forest on clay plain. There are several old and very large peach-leaf willow trees, provincially significant bird species (such as northern harrier and black tern) and regionally significant scaldweed (a parasitic plant) found within the properties. The loggerhead shrike (endangered in Ontario) has been observed within the Appleton swamp within the vicinity of the properties. The main vegetative community is a mixed swamp association of eastern white cedar, red maple and black ash. Along the river are extensive strips of shallow-water wetlands characterized by broad-leaved herbs, floating-leaved herbs and grass-like plants.