Ice Age Trail Rustic Features

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Village of Hartland, Hartland Trail Community

The Hartland Marsh, on a beautiful summer’s day is a rewarding place to spend a few minutes or hours. Photo by Miranda Weston, The Art of Life photography.

The Hartland Marsh hosts improved trails, boardwalks, and a 1.7 mile stretch of the Bark River. Two commemorative overlook sites, bearing informational markers, highlight your walk through the marsh. Habitat restoration activities to remove invasive species are underway.

Enjoy a tranquil view from the Leopold overlook.

As you enter the marsh from Maple Avenue, you will notice a sizable glacial hill directly next to the parking area. There is a good chance glaciers played a role in the development of this marsh. The Bark River also runs through this area, so it too, continues to actively contribute to this wetland.

A blue heron wading/waiting for its next meal.

The Ecosystem

The Hartland Marsh is a designated Class I Wildlife Habitat. Like most freshwater marshes it is a small, shallow, highly productive ecosystem. Dead plants break down in the water to form small particles of organic material called “detritus.” This enriched material feeds many small aquatic insects, shellfish, and small fish that are food for larger predatory fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. This marsh is home to cattails, sedge meadow and shrub communities as well as fish, frogs, turtles, ducks, herons, songbirds, muskrat, mink and raccoons. While wetlands may seem stable, in fact they are strongly influenced by hydrological regimes such as groundwater, surface runoff and cycles of precipitation and drought.

Hartland Trail Community

The Hartland Marsh has been a focus of many volunteer hours, restoring it to its current state of loveliness. Photo by Paul Mozina.

The Hartland Marsh is a great place to visit if you are a ‘birder’ since many species stop here during their migration. As you might imagine, it also offers many great photo opportunities for every season.

Come, take a walk, and enjoy the solitude and beauty of the rustic trail.

Enter the Cottonwood Loop. The white blaze marks this auxiliary spur to Ice Age Trail.