Quill Lakes Viewing Areas
There are two fully developed viewing areas designed to maximize your viewing experience, the Wadena Wildlife Wetlands and the Foam Lake Heritage Marsh.
Wadena Wildlife Wetlands:
The best place to access the Quill Lakes and view birds is at the Wadena Wildlife Wetlands. Part of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve, the site is Saskatchewan's first accredited Watchable Wildlife Viewing Area.
Located only a few minutes from Wadena on the shore of Little Quill Lake, the Wetlands have 5 unique trails, boardwalks, a canoe launch, two observation towers and numerous observation platforms to maximize your viewing opportunities. Interpretive trails include the "Plover's Path" which travels along the shore of Little Quill Lake beside the Jesmer Marsh, "Blackbird Alley" which travels along a series of board walks through the Milligan Creek Marsh, and "Wildflower Way" which follows the shoreline where native prairie plants blossom. Interpretive signage along the trails highlights wildlife and viewing opportunities.
Picnic and washroom facilities, a shelter, and informational signage are all located next to the main observation tower at the entrance.
Birds commonly seen include white pelicans, black crowned night herons, American avocet, eared grebes, a variety of waterfowl, yellow headed blackbirds, and marbled godwits. You might even see the endangered piping plover. Each spring and fall hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, ducks, and snow geese stop at the Quill Lakes. From mid August through September a waterfowl feeding station is operated at the Wetlands allowing visitors the unique experience of seeing flocks of tens of thousands of ducks.
The Wetlands is open free of charge, and operates spring until fall.
Foam Lake Heritage Marsh:
Over 4,000 acres in size, the Foam Lake Heritage Marsh is a large prairie wetland managed by Ducks Unlimited Canada. It is considered one of the finest marshes in Western Canada, dubbed the "gem" of prairie marshes because it provides ideal habitat for nesting waterfowl. The marsh has been designated an important bird area by the Canadian Nature Federation for waterfowl and wading birds.
The marsh supports many species of waterfowl, a variety of shorebirds, waterbirds, and songbirds as well as many different mammals. During the fall bird migration-one day bird counts have exceeded 50,000 waterfowl-including snow geese, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, and ducks. In addition to the wetland areas-Ducks Unlimited Canada has also restored and manages over 2,000 acres of grasslands around the marsh, supporting a rich variety of native plants, grasses, and wildflowers.
The Town of Foam Lake has developed four self-guided viewing sites within the Marsh. Each is complete with hiking trails, lookouts, interpretive signage, and a washroom. There is no entrance fee and these sites provide access to view waterfowl, songbirds, and other wildlife, so that you may experience and learn about the importance of conserving wetlands and the wildlife they support.
DU Nature Watch Opportunities:
View, print or download the following brochures.