WESTPORT, Feb. 19, 2021 – A new story trail adventure at Foley Mountain Conservation Area is bringing new meaning to Ontario’s winter wonderland as families get outside this winter.
“Over and Under the Snow” by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal brings to life the magical world happening under the snow while teaching kids how different animals survive the winter.
From hibernating bumblebees to “tough guy” chickadees, the book “evokes a lot of imagination,” said site supervisor Rebecca Whitman, who is also the lead outdoor educator at the park.
“Kids can connect the words to what’s happening in the forest around them,” Whitman said. “It also gets kids thinking about animals that aren’t front and centre in the winter, like bees and frogs. It’s not always about the snowshoe hares.”
The book has been posted page by page along the beginning of the Blue Trail, which starts at the Spy Rock picnic area. At each stop, there are fun activities to try along with the pages.
Visitors can follow the story and then circle back on the road for a total hike of about 1 km, or they can hike the entire 3.2 km Blue Trail after they finish the story. And everyone should check out the unique winter view of Westport from Spy Rock before they go.
Whitman said the new Story Trail will stay up as long as the snow is on the ground – and it might even be especially exciting to visit once the snow starts to melt, because that’s when evidence of animal activity might be more visible.
This is not the first Story Trail for Foley Mountain. Last year Whitman posted The Gruffalo along the Mobility Trail near the interpretive centre, but the road to that trail is not always accessible in the winter.
While the park is open to all visitors, Whitman said those who don’t live in the local green zone should consider a hike in their own community instead, in accordance with provincial health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should bring a mask for crowded areas and be prepared to turn around if the park is too busy. Whitman said local visitors can avoid crowds by visiting on weekdays or early in the morning. Washrooms are currently available at the Education and Group Camping Area and Interpretive Centre. Other facilities are closed, and visitors should pack out any garbage or waste.
For complete details about Foley Mountain, including trail maps, rules and advance parking payment, visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/fee-required/foley-mountain-ca. For complete COVID-19 rules in our conservation areas visit www.rvca.ca/covid-19.