Buttertubs Marsh is an oasis of stillness just minutes from downtown, lined with English oaks and Lombardy poplars from the 1920's.
There is a beautiful 2.4 km loop of wide trail (with narrow gates to prevent motorized vehicles) around a body of water buzzing with activity. Some ruins in the area, as well as the giant, bleached husks of long-drowned tree trunks, give the marsh a wonderful ambience, especially in the autumn, winter, and by moonlight. Spring and summer in Buttertubs Marsh are wonderful too, of course, but then the place has a lively rather than a Gothic feel.
Check out the small strip of city park overlooking the west part of the marshes. It's accessible from the residential area at the southwest part of the park (off Jingle Pot Rd).
The marsh is a man-made success, offering shelter to great blue herons, mallards, Canada geese, Ring-neck ducks, hooded Mergansers, and the American Widgeon. Violet-green swallows and red-winged blackbirds are not uncommon in the spring. Virginia Rails and American Bitterns are vocal denizens of Buttertubs Marsh Bird Sanctuary, which is also Vancouver Island's only documented breeding site of American Bitterns.
Because this is a sanctuary, dogs and bikes are not allowed in this park. This is supposed to be a peaceful place for the birds, as well as for the many seniors and children who walk these paths.
Back to the list of Nanaimo parks and places
Open in Google Earth (kmz file)
Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area Management Plan - an informative .pdf hosted on the City of Nanaimo Site.