Cabin fever and social distancing measures have caused a higher than usual interest among Ontarians to get back to nature. In a recent survey, more than 3,000 Canadians responded that they have spent more time interacting with nature since the pandemic began.
However, sudden floods of crowds in some parks and hotspots have brought concerns about social distancing practices. Luckily, Ontario’s Greenbelt, and southern Ontario’s protected areas and trails offer a plethora of recreational activities.
Encompassing 2.1 million acres, the Greenbelt’s diverse greenspaces are ideal places to connect with nature safely while social distancing. Located within 20 kilometres of over 3 million households in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is home to several vital landscapes that offer a huge number of scenic natural areas and prime recreational spots.
Many reports, such as the Greenbelt Foundation’s Mental Health in a Changing Climate, demonstrate numerous health benefits from spending time in nature. Get back to nature and learn more about the Greenbelt first-hand while exploring the Bruce Trail, Oak Ridges Moraine Trail or Ganaraska Trails with the help of Greenbelt Hikes – a helpful resource that provides itineraries and detailed directions for a variety of trails fitting for all ages and activity levels:
Enjoy nature in the Greenbelt on memorable and outstanding walks:
COVID-19 has bike shops seeing increased sales as more people are investing in being active and getting out into nature. However, busy towns and cities with streets crowded by cars and pedestrians don’t always offer the rejuvenating cycling experience we need. Even though the weather is getting colder, cycling in nature can still be a wonderful experience. The Greenbelt Foundation’s Greenbelt Cycling Routes provide itineraries of the Greenbelt’s most impressive landscapes making it simple for both novice and experienced cyclists to experience the bounty of the Greenbelt.
Experience the Greenbelt on one of these notable routes:
Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserve Program has been protecting significant natural areas since 1961. With 26 nature reserves totaling 3,108 hectares (7,679 acres), our reserves protect some of the province’s best remaining examples of imperiled and vulnerable habitats. Our nature reserves have lots of wildlife to be seen, wonderful hiking trails and beautiful vistas.
This fall, for health, happiness, new discoveries and tranquility, enjoy exploring the beauty of a favourite natural area or explore great trails in an area new to you with inspiring wildlife and scenery.
Noah Cole is Ontario Nature’s communications technician and a regular contributor to Ontario Nature's blog and ON Nature magazine. Noah is an accomplished naturalist with a passion for protecting the great outdoors and a nature photographer. Noah is the author of Ontario Wildlife Photography (canadianimages.net).