Impressions -Driftwood Park

Driftwood Provincial Park offers boating, hiking, camping and day use and other amenities. This stretch of the Ottawa River is very beautiful. Pines predominate in the landscape over low rolling terrain. The mouth of the Dumoine River can be seen directly across (2 km.) the Ottawa River in Quebec. The Dumoine is a favourite destination for canoeists due to the whitewater experience.

In Driftwood, the nature trail system is surprisingly extensive for such a small park which is sandwiched between Hwy 17 and the Ottawa River. There are 10 km. of trails to the west of the entrance road and 3 km. of trails to the east. They are laid out in connecting loops. They are narrow, woodland paths, but otherwise easy walking. The terrain is mostly flat, but a geological feature known as an esker, creates some steep but short inclines. Although the park is gated in the winter, you can enter on foot for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The western trails, White Pines, Burr Oaks and Chevrier Creek Trail, are set in mixed aspen/pine forest. The forest has a history of logging, fire and 3 years ago, a windstorm. The windstorm left a narrow swath of downed trees, mostly aspen, in the west of the park. Right after the storm, it was impossible to walk the trails. The trails are now cleared, but evidence of the blowdown is still viisble where shrubs have claimed the sunny openings. A Mourning Warbler was seen in one such opening, south of the Rocky Point Lookout. Walking through a Jack Pine/Red Pine forest is a quieting experience. The stillness is broken by singing Winter Wrens, Pine Warblers, and if you're lucky, Red Crossbills and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Aspens, Balsam Fir, White Birch and Red Maple add more variety to the mix of birds. Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian and Black-and-white Warblers are heard. Ovenbirds and White-throated Sparrows are common. See the list of birds identified during the 2001-2005 Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas in the bird section above.

At Rocky Point Lookout, you get a good idea of the splender of the Ottawa River. Common Loons call, reminding us of wilderness, and looking about we realize this area really is wild.

Plants that are common are blueberries, Cow Wheat, Bracken Fern, Wild Sarsaparilla, Beaked Hazel, Striped Maple, Starflower, Bunchberry, Wild Lily-of-the-valley and Bluebead-lily. Less common plants are Indian Cucumber Root, Leatherwood, Dwarf Rattlesnake-plantain, Slender Ladies’-tresses and Spikenard.

The Lookout Trail starts in a Red Pine plantation, but it does have a platform lookout, although the trees seem to have grown since the platform was built, hiding the view somewhat. There is a rectangular field further west, one of the few open areas, just down the hill from the trail and about the size suited for a tennis court. A Monarch had magically found the few milkweeds in the park and a caterpillar was basking on one such leaf.

Highlights of Driftwood PP: beach, scenery, canoeing, camping, lengthy trail system, good mix of birds, Ottawa River dragonflies.

Above excerpt from the OVTA’s Ottawa Valley Naturalists Guide