Largest public forest
in Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton
- The Marlborough Forest is located a few kilometers west of North Gower along Roger Stevens Drive. It is the largest piece of protected property in the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. It is a vast resource, consisting of 7,226 hectares owned by the Region, and 469 acres of Crown land. Over 2,000 hectares is wetland, including areas drained by Stevens Creek and Brassils Creek.
- The total acquisition boundary for the Marlborough Forest contains approximately 12,200 hectares.
- Settlement in the actual area of the forest began in 1826 with the construction of the Rideau Canal. The "great fire of 1870" burned over much of Carleton County including Marlborough Township, the site of most of the Marlborough Forest. By 1900 most of the land had been cleared. It proved of limited value for agriculture, however, because of shallow soil and poor drainage. It has now reverted to mixed conifer and hardwood bush, overgrown fields, plantations, and wetlands.
Wetlands make up 36% of the total area of Marlborough Forest, serving as valuable water catchment and storage areas and wildlife and flora habitats.
- The Forest was started in the 1980s when the Region spent $3.3 on an initial purchase of 7,400 ha. of the land in the 1980s. It has been declared a "natural environment area" that is held under the Region's protection.
- In addition to the Rideau Trail the Marlborough Forest features the Cedar Grove trail (with parking lot on Roger Stevens Drive), and a number of snowmobile trails maintained by the Rideau Snowmobile Association.