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How to Get ThereMac Johnson Wildlife Area is located on Debruge Road, east of Tincap, 4 km north on Hwy. 29 from Hwy. 401 in Brockville.
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Mac Johnson Wildlife Area
Also known locally as the Back Pond, the Wildlife Area was renamed by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority in 1987, to recognize the efforts and achievements of a Brockville resident and early Conservation Authority member Mac Johnson.
Buells Creek, with its potential for providing power to operate mills, attracted settlers to the area. William Buell, after whom the creek was named, was a merchant who settled at the mouth of the creek in 1784. Buell's activities opened up the area for further settlement, settlement which led to the development of Brockville, and in which Buells Creek played a key role. At one time, Buells Creek supported eight mills, these being Brockville's first industries.
As a result of the mill ponds which were located along Buells Creek in the early 1800s, the water level of the creek was quite high. The marsh, at the headwaters of the creek, was also dammed to supply water for a mill, bringing its water level to a height comparable to or above the current level.
With the end of the milling era in the late 1800s, the headwaters of the creek were given over to a new industry. It was officially known as "Peat Works" and was operated by a Mallory family. The marsh was drained, and the extraction procedures began. However, the operation soon ran into financial difficulties and was abandoned.
After this initial drainage of the marsh, further drainage was attempted, to enable the area to be used for agricultural purposes. It was discovered, however, that much of the marsh was unsuitable for grazing due to the land's lack of solidity. According to local accounts the land remained very wet and mucky after draining, and heavy objects would sink into the mud as if it were quicksand. Many horses and cows were reported lost in this manner. The Cataraqui Region Conservation Report (1968) states that the area was "found to be a 'floating bog' as far back as 1958." This "floating bog" interpretation, if correct, would explain this phenomenon.
In 1967 the Broome-Runciman Dam was built to regulate the flow of water in the Creek.
From 1966 to 1970, the CRCA bought the lands around the Buells Creek area that today form the Wildlife Area. The properties were bought from a variety of vendors including, Mallory Estate, Wood Estate, H. Wordon, Wright Family, Brown Family, Fitzpatrick Family, Warren Family, McLarry Family, DeBruge Family, Stewart Family, Elizabethtown Township, Smith Family, Reynolds Family, V.L.A., Campbell Family, and the City of Brockville.
Also known locally as the "Back Pond," the Wildlife Area was renamed by the CRCA in 1987, to recognize the efforts and achievements of a Brockville resident and early Conservation Authority member, Mac Johnson.
©2010 Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority