Located in the heart of Sackville, not five minutes' walk from downtown shops and restaurants, the secrets of the marshes are unveiled in the 55-acre Sackville Waterfowl Park, winner of Environment Canada's National Award for Environmental Achievement. Over three kilometers of trails, boardwalks and viewing platforms lead the visitors, dry shod, through lush stands of alder and cattail and across broad expanses of open water, revealing the private lives of dozens of wetland wildlife species.
Originally, the park site was part of a vast saltmarsh, flooded daily by the Fundy tides. To the native Mi'kmaq people, the marshes were a valuable resource and waterfowl were abundant. Cattail roots were a nutritious source of food and grasses were used for basket-weaving.
Acadian settlers came to the area in the late 1600s. They began ditching and draining the marshes to claim the rich soil for farming, an activity that continues to the present day.
Nowadays, wetlands are valued for their role as water reservoirs, natural filtration and purification systems, and important wildlife habitats. In recent years, thousands of acres of wetland around the upper Bay of Fundy have been secured through the construction of structures to control water levels in large freshwater marsh impoundments
There are over three kilometres of trails, boardwalks, and viewing platforms, as well as interpretive signage, in the park that provide the opportunity to view the approximately 160 species of birds, waterfowl and over 175 species of plants that live in the Park. The Sackville Waterfowl Park was established in 1988 as a joint venture of the Town of Sackville and Ducks Unlimited Canada. The cooperation of Mount Allison University, the Province of New Brunswick, the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada, and many corporate and individual supporters in the realization of this project is gratefully acknowledged.