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Miller Creek Wildlife Area Review
Update May 9, 2017 – just returned from a visit here. The Peterborough Field Naturalists have upgraded the trail signage but due to the rainy Spring we’ve had, the loop trail was impassable. It probably will be, for quite some time too.
Unlike most WAs, Miller Creek is very accessible, clearly marked, easily navigated, and rather well used. However, very much like most WAs, you can miss it very easily if you’re not watching closely. Head East on East Communication Rd (the 7th Line) out of Bridgenorth (NW of Peterborough on Chemong Lake). Once you pass Holden Rd on your left, slow down and watch carefully to your right. This is what you’re looking for:
This link will open Google Maps at the location https://goo.gl/maps/2hk9GGJn2HvgLiCb8 The “parking area” is limited to one midsize car. There is another spot directly across the road that just fits a Honda Fit. The large map at the start of the trail is nice, but the trail is very well marked and well maintained. There are a number of unmarked, yet obvious trails throughout the area. If you just follow the loop trail, you’ll get about a kilometer of easy exercise. There are no particular challenges, nor difficulties to be encountered here.
The trail starts with a pleasant enough walk through a heavily canopied forest with black currant bushes along the sides. It crosses open meadows, winds through cedar lowlands, and mixed forest.
For the most part, it skirts the massive wetland for which the area is preserved. This same wetland can be viewed from a two-tiered viewing platform on a side trail labelled as such.
Right at the point where the marked trail turns to begin the return to the “parking area” there’s an unlabelled trail continuing straight ahead which then turns right and leads out onto a causeway of sorts. It’s just a relatively high(er), and dry(er) path leading straight across the wetland. It is an interesting walk for awhile until the trail becomes too wet to continue. So it’s a return trip, yes, but there’s something about being out there, surrounded by wetland. It’s almost surreal, and a little bit unsettling. I experienced a similar feeling on the boardwalk at HR Frink CA.
I followed-up with a satellite view of that causeway return trail once Home, and it appears to just fade away as it approaches the 5th Line. Possibly it runs into the 6th Line which also fades out around the same spot. At any rate, you’d never make a reasonable loop out of it without an awful lot of road walking.
The Final Take
There was surprisingly little open water on both our visits, this year and last. The “wetland” could’ve been traversed with relative ease from the viewing platform to the wooden bridge that Miller Creek (I assume) flows under. The wife and I wondered where all the water in the website pictures went. It appears to have been rather dry for quite some time, giving us cause to wonder how old are those pictures on the web ? Though, despite being a “Provincially Significant Wetland” and a huge deluge the night before, the walking was rather good on the officially marked trails. A lack of insect escorts was another plus. As well, for being a Wildlife Area (notorious for being untended) the trail maps, trail markers, Viewing platform, and grooming of the trails themselves, were quite impressive. Of course (and as usual in a WA) there is limited parking and absolutely no facilities of any kind. There weren’t any significant botanical sightings nor any unusual creatures spotted, though to be fair, both our visits were in the Fall of the year. We’ll have to try again in the Spring of 2015 and see if that changes our impression.