UPDATE: Keeping our communities safe & healthy

In Uncategorized by couchiching

In alignment with the province and guidelines to keep our communities safe and healthy, we would like to share some key information and reminders. As we all know, guidelines change in response to the status of the pandemic, and we will adapt to changing circumstances as needed. Please check this page for updates.

Ontario COVID information information: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/index.html

Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit: https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19

(UPDATED APRIL 8 2021)

The office remains closed to the public and staff are working from home. We are all available by email – Contact Us here.

From the government guidelines and stay at home order, the priority is to stay safe and stay home. If you go to a Reserve, stick to the ones near your residence. We are encouraging this because any accidents in the field or on the roads would put further pressure on our health care system.

The Nature Reserves remain OPEN – there are a number of Reserves that have trails and footpaths. As the Reserves provide our community with a place to exercise, and help with their physical, mental and emotional health, we will do our best to keep them open. Connecting with nature is always important to our health and it has been especially important during the pandemic. In order to keep Reserves open, we need to continue to monitor them. Volunteers play a key role in making this possible, as do the people who visit these places. The impact you have on the land impacts us all.

We are noticing an influx of trail users at Grant’s Woods Nature Reserve and some of the other Nature Reserves. We are thrilled that people love exploring the Reserves and it’s important to remember that these are wild places. The Nature Reserves are protected areas first and recreational trails second. This means we must limit our disturbance on the trails to respect the habitats and species that live there. There are 16 Reserves with marked trails, plus other natural places throughout our region. Learn about the Reserves and download maps here.

We have the following reminders if you visit a Nature Reserve:

  • Come back at another time if the parking area or roadside parking is at capacity
  • Wear a mask
  • Keep a distance from others outside of your house
  • Step off the trail to allow others to pass safely at a distance
  • Keep your dog(s) on a leash*
  • Educate yourself to manage the personal risks associated with wild spaces
  • Pack out all garbage
  • Stay on designated paths as much as possible
  • Use the Nature Reserves at your own risk and be prepared for the conditions
  • Help protect these wild places by becoming a member or donating

As a private charity, we are grateful for our members, volunteers and supporters who make it possible to protect thousands of acres of wilderness. Let’s work together to keep the Nature Reserves as wild as we found them.

Work continues to protect nature for future generations through land stewardship, building corridors of protected wilderness, citizen science monitoring and other activities. We thank our supporters who are committed to this work.

We will get through this together.

*Note: With increased trail use, there have been complaints of unleashed dogs knocking over small children on the trail and frightening families. Please consider others and keep your dogs on-leash on Conservancy Reserves so that all visitors can enjoy the experience. You may know your dog is friendly, but others don’t. At the same time, all visitors to Conservancy Reserves must understand that there are risks inherent to venturing into wild spaces, including but not limited to treacherous footing, falling trees and encounters with bears, coyotes and wolves. Plan accordingly. Keep your children and pets close and remain alert.

~ Mark Bisset, Executive Director of The Couchiching Conservancy