Bois de l'Île Bizard
GUEPE offers day camps for kids
|The Bois de l'Île Bizard offers a visit to some of the wildest and most varied natural terrain reachable by public transit in the Montreal area. The 201-hectare park in the heart of Île Bizard borders some residential development, but it also shares a long boundary with the Saint-Raphaël golf club and has a small waterfront area that faces a narrow channel that separates the bigger island from Île Bigras.
The park includes a long boardwalk over the inner marshes, stands of very tall old maples, wetlands, cedars and other kinds of woods. There are paths, some picnic tables on some of the drier land, some benches and occasional maps posted up, but the hand of man has been kept fairly light over much of the park.
Mosquito repellent is recommended for any season outside of winter.
There are many walking trails and the park is used by cyclists, and by skiers and snowshoers in wintertime.
The variety of birds as diverse as great herons, ducks and tree swallows are easy to spot and make the rankest amateur feel like a naturalist. You may not see any beavers but you will see the evidence of their dam building here and there.
Public transit access is just about possible by taking the 470 Pierrefonds Express bus from Côte-Vertu metro and changing to the 207 bus that gets you to Île Bizard, but that still leaves you with a bit of a hike to the park. Best to check the Google map pretty closely if you plan to do this.
There's also a cable ferry in summertime between Île Bizard and Laval which might let a determined walker get home via the Sainte-Dorothée station of the Deux-Montagnes commuter train line, depending on the schedule.
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