3 Ways to Connect to Nature This Winter in the Ottawa Valley
Winter is quickly approaching the Ottawa Valley, but that doesn’t mean outdoor activities have to come to a halt.
From snowshoeing to cross country skiing, there’s an abundant amount of winter fun to be had for individuals and families alike across our community.
Before diving into a few winter adventures you can have this year, let’s recap best practices for spending time outdoors and minimizing your impact on nature.
Leave no trace
Parks across the Ottawa Valley provide stunning scenery, a home to wildlife, and an oasis for communities – even when the temperatures hit the negatives!
But human activity is a major cause of environmental degradation and related effects to wildlife.
- Plan ahead and prepare: consider things like who is coming on your adventure and their skill level, research the area, appropriate clothing and footwear, amount of food and drinks necessary, and anything else your group needs to be prepared.
- Travel on trails: stick to the designated paths to avoid trampling on vulnerable or dangerous areas.
- Dispose of waste properly: follow the “pack it in, pack it out” motto for garbage during your adventures by bringing anything in reusable containers and leaving with them.
- Leave what you find: leave rocks, artifacts, and other objects you find during your outing to preserve our natural environment and ensure others can enjoy them just as much as you.
- Minimize campfire impacts: while few of us will be camping in -30 temperatures, if you do set a fire ask yourself first if you really need it and how to minimize fire hazards, such as using a firebox.
- Respect wildlife: you’ll still find wildlife roaming during the winter, so be sure to give them lots of space and observe from afar for a safe experience for yourself, the animal, and the environment.
- Be considerate of other visitors: it’s important to be considerate of others and their space when experiencing wilderness, so keep in mind potential unruly things such as pets, zigzagging across trails, and other tricky situations.
3 outdoor activities to do this winter in the Ottawa Valley
Skating on the canal
The Rideau Canal Skateway is the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world! Open for 2-3 months per year with free access, skating across the canal is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.
Snowshoeing in Gatineau Park
You can snowshoe in many trails across the Ottawa Valley, though Gatineau Park has close to 80kms of dedicated trails snowshoe trails, ranging from beginner levels to advanced difficulties in terrain.
Cross country skiing in the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt has over 150kms of trails for cross country skiing, all of which suitable for beginners or families.
Whether you’re exploring Mer Bleue, Stony Swamp, or other trails, be sure to take advantage of this free activity this winter.