SNC highlighting mental health benefits of its recreational trails on ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day’

FINCH — Today on Bell Let’s Talk Day, South Nation Conservation (SNC) is joining the conversation around mental health and promoting the benefits of being outdoors.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), higher levels of depression are reported in winter months as compared to summer months. Combined with the ongoing pandemic, people may be feeling more anxious and stressed.

Spending time in nature, getting more exercise, and maximizing your exposure to sunlight are some of the ways to combat your winter blues, depression, stress, and anxiety, according to the CMHA.

To allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely, SNC is keeping several recreational trails open and maintained throughout the winter lockdown in accordance with public health guidelines.

“Stepping outside and staying active is more important now, than ever” explains Taylor Campbell, SNC’s Communications Specialist. “Being outside around nature, hearing the birds sing, the crunching of the snow on your boots and the wind in the trees, can lower stress levels and lead to improved mood and mental wellbeing. So, please take a moment to step outside and clear your mind today.”

The following SNC Conservation Area trails are open and maintained: 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.

Residents should continue to take COVID-19 precautions when visiting parks: avoid congregating in groups, practice physical distancing on trails, consider wearing a mask outdoors, and consider visiting at another time if the parking lot is full.

“And to help everyone enjoy their outdoor experience, please be respectful towards other visitors. Many people get outdoors to enjoy nature and seek some solitude. Excessive noise, unleashed pets, and obstructive behaviour can take away from the experience, and you never know just how important that experience may be for some,” says Campbell.

For more information on SNC’s winter recreational opportunities, visit: www.nation.on.ca/recreation/winter-recreation.

Below, a ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day’ panel discussion, moderated by CMHA Champlain East Mental Health promoter Angele D’Alessio and including Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement, among others.

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