Ferrier Park lies south of Murray Avenue and between McPhillips Street and Ferrier Street in West Kildonan.
I’ve been exploring this 21.31-hectare semi-wild site, with its abundance of aspen forest, for years now during my ramblings (often with my weekend walking buddy, Peter) in that part of West Kildonan.
It’s one of the best places in the city to see wet meadow, noted Rodney Penner, City Naturalist with the City of Winnipeg’s Naturalist Services Branch, in his habitat assessment of the location a few years ago.
"The overall area has a very high wildlife value due to its diversity of habitat and size," he wrote.
Penner also wrote that there are even "small areas of partially disturbed tall-grass prairie" — one of the most endangered eco-systems in North America.
These native grass species are found only in a few remnant sites around the city.
Ferrier Park’s grade of B reflects the quality of the overall site, but there are certainly portions, particularly the prairie remnants, which may rank closer to "A" quality, said Penner in his report.
(Natural Heritage Areas are given a grade from A to D based the quality as a Natural Heritage Area. This system for grading sites in Manitoba is currently used by the Manitoba Conservation Data Centre and the City of Winnipeg Naturalist Services.)
Wandering through there on a summer’s day, one can come across big bluestem bending gently in the soft breeze, Saskatoon bushes, strawberry bushes, wild red raspberry, wild roses, Manitoba maple, to name just a few of the indigenous flora thriving there.
I’ve even encountered white-tailed deer emerging from the forested part or in the adjacent fields.
Coyotes and foxes, as well as other critters, have also been spotted in the vicinity. Various bird species nest in the forest during summer months.
The city’s planned extension of Chief Peguis Trail westward from Main Street to Brookside Boulevard will go right through Ferrier Park.
Some of that site, though, must be saved as a natural space for use by the public.
Martin Zeilig is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org