Swan Lake Sanctuary

Swan Lake Sanctuary

In 1998 the area of land between highway 5A and Princeton-Summerland Rd and north of the Sunflower Downs Raceway became known as The Swan Lake Wildlife Viewing and Restoration project. It is now referred to as Swan Lake Sanctuary. Action was taken to protect the area from development and many years were spent convincing the government of that need. The 57 hectares area consists of a kettle lake surrounded by a riparian zone and grasslands.

A kettle hole is a bowl-shaped hollow left by a melting glacier. When a glacier melts, large pieces of ice become separated from the main body of the glacier. These pieces leave holes where they rested. Most kettle holes are between 30 ft. to 50 ft. deep. If a kettle is fed by underground rivers or streams it becomes a kettle lake. If it receives water from precipitation or ground water table, it is called a kettle pond, or kettle wetland if it is vegetated. Swan Lake is a kettle lake.

Over the years, seeding of native grasses, the removal of some invasive plants and the development of hiking trails has made this a wonderful place to visit. The addition of 2 bird blinds, several benches and picnic tables has made it enjoyable to view the diversity of wildlife found here. The fences surrounding Swan Lake have been replaced and gates were put in to keep this land from being used by motorized vehicles. Much of this work was done in partnership with the Katimavik Organization and the Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists. In more recent years, an outhouse has also been built. Maintenance of this area makes it an ongoing project. Black Bears, Badgers, Weasels, Coyotes, Mule and Whitetail Deer, Elk, Long-toed Salamander, Great Basin Spadefoot Toad, Northern Alligator Lizard and other reptiles. Over the years 128 species of birds have been sighted here.

Printable Checklists

Swan Lake Brochure (PDF)
Swan Lake Bird Checklist (PDF)
Princeton Area Flower Checklist (PDF)


Parking is available in two locations with a short walk to a gate into the sanctuary itself.

Photo: Swan Lake Through the Blind
View from the blind – Photo by M. Masiel