Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves

Discover Renfrew County's Many Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves

One of Renfrew County's best kept secrets are its 26 provincial parks and conservation reserves. Only two (Bonnechere and Driftwood) are Recreation Class parks with staff at visitor centres, camping facilities, regularly maintained trails, and other visitor amenities. T

he other 24 occupy small areas of crown land, ranging in size from 30 hectares to just over 2000 ha. Many have been given special conservation status in light of their unique biological and geological features. Others protect portions of significant Ottawa Valley waterways (Barron River, Bissett Creek, Bonnechere River, Grant’s Creek, Lower Madawaska River, and the Ottawa River itself). As of November 2012, these 26 protected areas total 16,157 ha (about 2.2% of the County’s area of 744,081 ha).

Many of these Parks and Conservation Areas connect almost seamlessly with Algonquin Provincial Park. At 765,345 ha, Algonquin Park is slightly greater in area than Renfrew County and is one of the largest parks in eastern North America and is Ontario’s first provincial park, designated in 1893.

Click map for a more precise location.

Placemark information comes from the Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas - it's worth exploring.

The Ontario Parks system divides provincial parks and conservation reserves into the following categories:

Recreational parks typically have good beaches, many campgrounds and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities. Most recreation parks provide services that may include toilets and showers, laundromats, interpretive programmes, playgrounds, boat launch facilities, hiking trails and picnic tables. Renfrew County Recreational Parks are:

- Bonnechere Provincial Park

Conservation Reserves are protected areas of lands and waters with defined boundaries established under the Public Lands Act, Regulation 805/94 primarily to permanently protect natural heritage features and provide recreation opportunities. The Conservation Reserves in Renfrew County are;

- Conroy Marsh

- Constant Creek Swamp and Fen

- Deacon Escarpment

- Greenbough Esker

- Hawkins Property

- Little Mississippi River Park

- Mud Lake/Creek

- Silver Creek Peatland

- Snake River Marsh

- Westmeath Bog

Nature Reserves are established to represent and protect the distinctive natural habitats and landforms of the province. These areas are protected for educational and research purposes. Due to the fragility of many of these natural features, only a few nature reserves are accessible to the public. The Nature Reserves in Renfrew County are:

- Alexander Stewart

- Centennial Lake

- Foy

- Matawatchan

- Petawawa Terrace

Waterway Parks are river corridors that provide canoeists with high-quality recreation and historical river travel. Renfrew County's waterway parks include:

- Barron River Waterway Park

- Bissett Creek Waterway Park

- Bonnechere River Watershed Park

- Grant's Creek Watershed Park

- Lower Madawaska Watershed Park

- Ottawa River Watershed Park

Natural Environment Parks act as both recreational parks and Nature Reserves. They protect wildlife, while allowing camping and other recreational activities. As of February 2008, the province lists 67 parks of this classification, including nearby Algonquin Provincial Park, a park of 765,345 hectares. Renfrew County's Natural Environment parks are:

- Bell Bay Provincial Park

- Westmeath Provincial Park