The 227-acre Art Rennison Nature Reserve protects the shores of the lake; a deep belt of forest; all the wetlands and rocky bluffs; and a broad connection with the crown lands of Mount Gardner. It also includes a section south of Grafton Road connecting and buffering the Ecological Reserve, which is connected by greenways to the lake area. The entire shoreline will belong to the public and have no buildings, except for a bird viewing tower in the western marsh.

The Reserve is a meeting place for a great variety of birds, plants and small animals – as well as people enjoying the trails and shores daily.

From any perspective, Grafton Lake is central to life on Bowen. It’s in the middle of the island, is a junction of island trails, features extensive wetland habitat supporting wildlife and provides water to almost half the population. And its beauty is an inspiration that should be shared.

We hope the approach we taken – preserving more than half of the property as park – can serve as a model for future developement, to ensure that Bowen remains a living island even in the face of development pressures.

“The Grafton Lake Lands contain provincially recognized Sensitive Ecosystems including wetlands, forests, riparian ecosystems, and rock outcrops. Sensitive Ecosystems are ecologically fragile or at risk ecosystems which are sensitive to human disturbance. It also contains some species at risk.” – Bowen Conservancy
Map shows Grafton Lake area, including trail route around the lake. Two obstructions are shown: a missing bridge and a dam without an access route yet. Both will be linked in future. Also, a route along the road is shown in red as it has not yet been constructed.
The Art Rennison Nature Reserve today. Areas in red are not yet constructed.

Trail nearing completion

Our new trail has a better route and footing – it’s safer, drier and more solid now. You’re welcome to walk the trails today, though you may want to backtrack at the missing bridge – and remember your social distancing!

An old bridge in the western marsh had to be removed and will be replaced in an improved location this year. The planned cross-island trail portion beside the lake relies on decisions by the Municipality, possibly this year. And a link across the dam will make a pleasant entry to the park at Grafton Road.