Chapman Mills Trail Opens With New Accessible Bridge

The trail at Chapman Mills Conservation Area has fully reopened just in time for spring – and it’s more accessible than ever.

A new pedestrian span was installed overnight on Sunday, March 19, replacing the old wooden bridge that had reached the end of its lifecycle. The new bridge is wider with more accessible slopes and railings. The ramps on either end are also longer and safer.

“We are thrilled to reopen with even more accessibility and safety features at one of our busiest properties,” said Chelsey Ellis, RVCA’s conservation lands manager. “We thank the community for their patience while we completed this critical project.”

The 23-acre conservation area on the shores of the Rideau River is in walking distance from two seniors’ residences and surrounded by family-friendly neighbourhoods.

While the trail still includes some steep slopes, the new pedestrian bridge will allow people of all ages and abilities to more fully enjoy the site’s 1.5 kilometre boardwalk trail, which connects to multi-use pathways south of Vimy Memorial Bridge.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF) secured funding to complete the project, including $150,000 from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Local donations and community support were also key to bringing the project to life.

RVCA staff have been working with renowned accessibility consultant Marnie Peters to create a matrix of the world’s best outdoor accessibility solutions and apply them to all infrastructure projects going forward. Another accessible bridge project is also underway at Baxter Conservation Area south of Manotick.

About Chapman Mills Conservation Area:

Chapman Mills Conservation Area is located on the west bank of the Rideau River on Prince of Wales Drive between Winding Way and Lodge Road. It consists mainly of natural river shoreline, wetlands and flood plain areas that are unique in the City of Ottawa.

Visitors can enjoy a covered picnic shelter, scenic lookouts, walkways and boardwalks that lead pedestrians on a 1.5 km stroll through some sensitive and beautiful habitats. Interpretive signs along the way tell the site’s environmental story. At the trail’s north end visitors can also enjoy an accessible dock for launching canoes, kayaks and other paddlecrafts, as well as a viewing platform. The south end has a shoreline entrance for paddlecrafts. Parking is located off Winding Way.

The land for Chapman Mills Conservation Areas was a gift to the people of the Rideau Valley from the South Nepean Development Corporation, along with additional land ceded from Parks Canada. Minto Development Inc. provided the development funds necessary to carry out the improvements for public use of Chapman Mills Conservation Area.