Wildwood Conservation Area

WILDWOOD CONSERVATION AREA – APRIL 2015

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Our visit to Wildwood Conservation Area was our first trip out camping in 2014. It was also our first trip out with our 2014 KZ Spree. The weather is always a little dicey at the end of April and into the middle of May sometimes, so I wasn’t surprised as the weather forecast got worse as it got closer to departure day.

Wildwood was the last of the three conservation areas that offer camping in the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority that we hadn’t been to. It’s located very close to the town of St.Marys and about a 2 hour drive from home for us. I reserved our site online, although we could have just chose one of the many available upon arrival. There was only one other trailer in our section of the campground. There are three areas available for camping at Wildwood, but some offer only seasonal. We camped in Area C which was serviced with 30 amp and water. As with the other two UTRC we visited, this one would have no privacy between sites during the busy summer season. Also, I found the sites to be deep but very narrow. Our trailer fit on our site #329 okay, but  it wouldn’t have on many others. As well, I found many sites along the outer edge to have a moderate pad slope. Here are some photos of our campsite:

Wildwood Dam was created in 1965 for flood control on Trout Creek and also to improve downstream flow during dry spells in the summer. The reservoir is 9.3 km long and looks like a beautiful place to kayak or canoe, providing there is no wind. This particular weekend, we didn’t bring our kayaks or canoe. We knew the weather would not be suitable. We did however bring our fishing gear, but it was too cold and rainy to be outside for very long. Supposedly there are many types of fish to be found in Wildwood including Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Pike and Perch to name a few. Another time we’d like to kayak fish here.  Here are some photos of Wildwood Reservoir, the beach and the boat launch:

Here are some other photos taken on our walk around the park:

We were very fortunate to enjoy a campfire Saturday afternoon. More rain moved in late afternoon and the fire eventually went out. It got even colder, down to 0 degrees that evening. So, we retired back to the trailer to watch TV and relax while it rained. Here are some campfire photos:

Sunday morning we awoke to a very cold trailer. Our furnace did not turn on at all overnight. We quickly turned the fireplace on while we sorted out our furnace issue. We had a little time left before check out and the day was bright and sunny, so we headed out of the park to find the other side of Wildwood Dam. It was fairly easy to find as access was from the Lake Trail which is a multi-use 13km trail that traverses the perimeter of the lake. Here are some photos of the river below the dam and the trail leading to it:

We left the park around 11am on Sunday. One thing about the St.Marys area, they love their roundabouts! It was on one of those roundabouts on the way home that we went the wrong direction and ended up heading West on Hwy#7. Fond memories!

So for a review of the park itself! This was the first weekend the park was open for business, which may play a factor in how clean it was. The comfort station was older, but kept up and very clean. The grounds were nicely kept and the trails well groomed. The boat launch looked very modern and easily accessible for non motorized craft as well as motorized. The park has installed fishing platforms out of the way of the boat launch, which is nice. The sites were decent, but at 32 feet, it would be difficult to find many for our size trailer. Length was not an issue, just width, which was further lessened by the position of the fire pits. Some sites were close to the roundabout and traffic noise would be heard regularly as it’s a main road into St. Marys. The UTRC reservation website does not show photos of campsites for Wildwood, just a description. Despite the lack of campers, regular patrols were done and the comfort station cleaned twice a day. There is a swimming pool at Wildwood, it is located in Section C, where we camped. We had power issues that appeared to originate at the post. We lost power twice during our stay here. Neither time did any breakers pop in our trailer. I went outside and moved the power cord into another receptacle on the post and power was restored. I will be watching to see if there are any further issues at the next park, but to me it sounds like it was on the parks end.

The only negative thing I can say about this park is the campsites. In the shoulder season privacy is not an issue as there are never many campers. In the summer, this park would be busy with absolutely no privacy between sites. This is something I am not fond of and would not camp here in July and August. Having said that, we would come back later in the Spring or early Fall for the opportunity to kayak and fish. Here are some links:

To Wildwood Conservation Areas Website:

http://www.wildwoodconservationarea.ca/

To reserve at Wildwood or any other Upper Thames River Conservation park:

https://secure.camis.com/UTRCA/

HAPPY CAMPING!!!

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