Renfrew Millennium Trail and Smith’s Creek
Renfrew’s Millennium Trail is 3.4 km long, has lighting, and is suitable for walkers, joggers, wheelchairs, cyclists, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. It follows the route of the abandoned CN Railway line, through the heart of Renfrew and imparts the atmosphere of both the town, and countryside. There are an amazing number of American elm. Beavers can be seen in the Smith’s Creek section, where logs were once driven to a sawmill in the town centre. Plaques placed along the Millennium Trail describe Renfrew’s heritage. A section of the Millennium Trail follows Smith’s Creek where in 2006, Wildlife Interpretative Gardens were developed, at Stewart’s Park and St. Joseph’s High School. Interpretive signs provide information on wildlife and riparian features along the creek such as habitat for cavity nesting birds, fish, beaver, turtles and frogs. At St. Joseph’s High School, the grade nine geography class completed soil sampling at an abandoned hay field and students planted 400 native trees and shrubs that are suitable for the conditions.
A map of the Millennium trail and Renfrew parks can be found on-line at: http://tinyurl.com/6thldeq
Centennial Trail and Ma-te-way Park
The Centennial Trail is a 2.5km trail that can be accessed from behind the Ma-te-way Park Activity Centre, where you’ll see a path into a maple and ironwood deciduous forest. Redshouldered hawk, red-eyed vireo, white-breasted nuthatch, ovenbird, veery and great-crested flycatcher inhabit this deciduous forest. On the forest floor you may see bloodroot, sharp-leaved hepatica, poison ivy, starflower, and large-leaved aster. Heading west the forest thins out to more grass and shrubby vegetation. Watch and listen for gray catbird, American redstart, mourning dove, downy woodpecker, eastern kingbird and common yellowthroat. Heading south toward Opeongo Road, (the south access to Centennial Trail), the shrubby field to your right provides habitat for monarchs, northern broken-dash (a grass skipper), black-shouldered spiny leg (a dragonfly), alder flycatcher, common yellowthroat and American goldfinch. Northern flicker, eastern wood-pewee, ruby-throated hummingbird and black-throated blue warbler may be encountered on the rest of the trail back to the Ma-te-way Park Activity Centre.
Directions » Proceed into downtown Renfrew, where Hwy 60 becomes Raglan Street. Turn onto Hwy 132 (Munroe Street) and follow the signs for Hwy 132 as it turns right on Lochiel Street and left on Lisgar Street. After six blocks, turn left onto Ma-Te-Way Park Drive. The park has ball diamonds, a kids’ water pad, tennis courts, a hockey arena, a sliding hill and access to both the Centennial Trail and the Millennium Trail.
The Old K&P Railroad Trail
The K&P trail runs from the Town of Renfrew south through Calabogie and down to Dalhousie Lake, a good 30–40 kilometers of gorgeous lakes and fields. The K&P is a wonderful trail enjoyed in all seasons by walkers, cyclists, cross country skiers and snowmobilers and provides for a range of scenic experiences with its open landscape, rock cuts and wetlands.
Directions » A bicycle or hiking trip from Renfrew to Calabogie is described on the OVTA website: http://tinyurl.com/bm6gbj9. This route is approximately 55 kilometers round trip, and depending on your speed and expertise, will take 3–4 hours. For a shorter trip, instead of travelling all the way to Calabogie, try this route: Take the K&P trail out of Renfrew, following the directions on the Ottawa Valley Travel website link above, but rather than following the route all the way to Calabogie, turn left onto Pucker Street, left on Holmes Road (gravel), right on Ferguslea Road, and right again onto Hwy 132. Follow Hwy 132 back into Renfrew and your starting point. Pucker Street straddles the Bonnechere-Madawaska (Halliday’s Creek catchment) watershed divide.
The boat launch on the Bonnechere River west of Ma-Te-Way Park on Hwy. 132 can be good for dragonflies such as Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Common Green Darner and Dot-tailed Whiteface, and birds such as Belted Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbird and Swamp Sparrow. Access is west of Ma-Te-Way Park Road along Hwy 132 about 600 metres. Turn north on Riverview Drive and drive to the river. The boat launch offers a chance to explore by canoe or kayak in the slow moving current.
This is a small manicured park with a creek flowing through a ravine. The wetland associated with the creek has dragonflies, butterflies, other bugs, frogs and plants. Dion Skipper, a pioneering species moving north was found in the grasses in the southwest end. Dragonflies include Marsh Bluet, Common Green Darner, Eastern Forktail and River Jewelwing. A nice little park if you like looking at bugs.