- Exit the 401 at interchange 157 (Iona Rd) south east
- Turn left (north east) onto Fingal Line
- 34469 Fingal Line is the main entrance, 34764 Scotch Line is the entrance to the tallgrass prairie and viewing stand and 35000 Scotch Line is the entrance to the South Woodlot Trail/hunting areas
The Fingal Wildlife Management Area (FWMA) exists on an old World War II air force training base. Some of the habitat restoration activities included the removal of the military infrastructure, development of a series of ponds, planting of trees and shrubs, establishment of hedgerows, food and cover plots and brush piles. Today, the area is complete with interpretive hiking trails, a viewing station and hunting during the fall from controlled access points in the south parking lot.
It is on 724 acres of crown land and is co-managed through a partnership agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Elgin Stewardship Council. Close to 100 acres of this land consists of natural habitats including forest, deciduous and coniferous plantations, tallgrass prairie, ponds and hedgerows. The purpose of this land use is to provide habitat for upland game species, as well to provide wildlife-based recreational activities like hunting, hiking, research, environmental education and nature appreciation. 395 acres is under active farming. Having these different land uses together provides a demonstration area to show how wildlife and agriculture can co-exist.
Since 1997, when the Elgin County Stewardship Council entered into a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to co-manage the property, a number of projects have been completed as follows:
- Annual Youth Hunting Day Events
- Establishing a 40 km trail network for the public to use
- Adding interpretive signage to help visitors learn about the property and wildlife that depend on the variety of habitats present
- Working with local groups including the local army cadets to assit with management of the site
- Developing a new partnership with the London Royal Astronomical Society for viewing stars at night
- Establishing a reforestation plot to compare the differences in survival and growth of native hardwood seed and seedlings
- Building of new viewing stands over looking the tallgrass prairie field
- Developing a management plan for the site
FWMA has three main hiking trails; War-of-Roses, Tallgrass Prairie and South Woodlot. The tallgrass prairie trail has a viewing stand within that over looks the Carmichael Pond. Here is a great place to see many waterfowl, or even eat your lunch. The War to Roses Trail is a 1.5 km route that follows the old Air Force road system, combining nature and history together.
During breeding and migration season, over 200 species of wildlife can be identified. This vast amount of wildlife at Fingal makes it perfect for wildlife related activities, including hunting. Each year over 200 ring-necked pheasants are released for hunting to compliment the other small game species that can be harvested on site during the open season and in accordance with Provincial Hunting Regulations. Hunting small game is permitted on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during appropriate seasons and in accordance with Provincial Hunting Regulations. Hunting for deer and wild turkeys is not permitted at FWMA at any time. Access to the site for hunting purposes is controlled through the south parking lot along Scotch Line where there are 10 marked parking spaces to control hunter numbers. Parking and hunting in an unmarked space is prohibited. For more information on rules and regulations concerning hunting at FWMA, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Aylmer District office at (519) 773-9241.