EASTERN ONTARIO — The reality of yet another winter is setting in, and residents throughout the watershed are gearing up for several months of cold weather and snow.
In preparation for the change of season, South Nation Conservation (SNC) has removed docks from its waterfront properties and will be closing its seasonal Conservation Areas in the coming weeks.
However, not all parks will be closed. People can still get outdoors this winter and take advantage of select Conservation Areas that will remain open and maintained by SNC for winter use: W.E Burton and J. Henry Tweed in Russell, Two Creeks Forest and Robert Graham Forest in South Dundas, Warwick Forest in North Stormont, and the Oschmann Forest in North Dundas.
SNC also has agreements in place with municipal partners to groom other trails and parks this winter, including Nokomis Park in Limoges and the Russell Recreational Trail.
“Over 30 kilometers of local trails will be maintained for winter fun this year,” says John Mesman, SNC’s Communications Lead. “Our family and pet-friendly Conservation Areas are accessible free of charge, and the trails are great for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, walking, and hiking.”
To respect other trail users and to ensure the protection of the ecologically significant public land, the SNC reminds people and their pets to stay on marked trails, and dogs must be kept on a leash. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on any SNC Community Land.
“We do kindly ask our visitors to continue to be respectful of other park users and facilities, and to properly dispose of garbage and to clean up after their dogs” he added.
SNC’s seasonal park closures this year come on the heels of one the Conservation Authority’s busiest summers on record. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay home and cancel their summer plans, SNC’s Conservation Areas remained open and welcomed over 150,000 visitors, mostly from May to October.
Traditionally SNC would close its seasonal parks following the Thanksgiving weekend but opted to extend access this year into November to accommodate the increased use and great weather.
SNC also advises that residents should be careful while on the river as water levels naturally rise and flows increase at this time of year, and to avoid boating near water control structures as safety booms have been removed for the winter.