Renfrew is an urban centre located in the middle of farming country. There are a few public locations in town where parks and trails have been created and maintained for nature lovers.
Ma-te-Way Park is a large recreational park in the west end of Renfrew, accessed by Hwy. 132 (Lisgar Ave) as you approach the edge of town. Watch for Ma-Te-Way Park Drive and the small park sign to turn south. The park has ball diamonds, a kids' water pad, tennis courts a hockey arena and the Centennial Trail.
Access the north end of the Centennial Trail behind the arena up a short hill (about #9 on the sign) . You enter a maple and Ironwood decidous forest. Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-eyed Vireos, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ovenbird and Great-crested Flycatcher inhabitat this decidous forest. On the forest floor you will see Bloodroot, Sharp-leaved Hepatica, Poison Ivy, Starflower, and Large-leaved Aster. Heading west (toward #5 on the sign) the forest thins out and you encounter more grass and shrubby habitat. Watch for Veery, Gray Catbird, American Redstart, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird and Common Yellowthroat.
Heading south toward Opeongo Road, the south access to the Centennial Trail, the westerly trail (number 16 to 20 on the sign), you have a shrubby field on your right. This field offers a variety of insects, birds and plants, such as Monarchs, Northern Broken-Dash (grass skipp), Black-shouldered Spinyleg (dragonfly) and Alder Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat and American Goldfinch. A crossover trail takes you east to the trail numbered 1 - 4 on the sign. Around #2 is a low area of cedar where Ovenbird, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee can be heard. Other species such as Ruby-throated Humminbird and Black-throated Blue Warbler may be encountered on the rest of the trail to Ma-te-way Park.
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.
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