Aug
10

Ice Cream Float serves scoops of joy at Baxter Beach

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On a hot summer day on Baxter Beach, some interesting activity can be spotted across the Rideau River: a brightly-clad person coming and going off a dock, mysterious buckets lifted into a blue-roofed pontoon, flags fluttering in the wind.

It's nearing 1 p.m. and kids in the know are keeping a watchful eye. They can sense it's almost time, and excitement is growing.

Then: distant revving wafts across the water, and a ripple runs through the children. Suddenly every kid is on their feet, craning their necks, watching as the infamous Ice Cream Float putters its way across the water to the beach. 

"He's coming!" they shout as they race to their parents, hands outstretched, looking for toonies and loonies. They scramble to be first in line at the designated parking spot, tossing their shoes indiscriminately across the sand to prepare for their watery walk.

  7628 Hits
Sep
21

Five tips for a flawless fall Foley trip

Fall-Rainbow-Landscape

Pumpkin spice is back on the menu, which means you're probably planning your annual fall colours roadtrip to Spy Rock! Foley Mountain Conservation Area is a popular spot this time of year, and crowds are a given. Consider these tips to make sure your visit is a hit:

  2930 Hits
Jun
29

Many happy childhoods forged on Foley Mountain

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Long-time Westport residents remember life before the park

 To Pat Brown, Foley Mountain has always meant freedom.

Born at the base of the famous ridge in Westport, ON, the 85-year-old spent her childhood in the 1940s and 50s roaming the wild lands and open cattle pastures that overlooked Upper Rideau Lake.

Any chance she got, she'd head up the footpath in the morning and return home when the Catholic church bell rang at 6 p.m.

"I could have been anywhere up there," Brown laughed. 

Sometimes she would drag her dolls up the mountain to play house on a carpet of pine needles. Other times she'd dress up and perform elaborate concerts for imaginary audiences.

"I don't know who I expected to come out of the bushes to watch," Brown smiled.

  2040 Hits
Jun
28

10 things to do at our conservation areas this summer

Summer is short – embrace it at our 11 conservation areas! From fishing to frog-catching to finding fairy homes, there's fun for the whole family.  

  2429 Hits
May
25

Foley’s Forest Family: Meet Rebecca Whitman

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To think Rebecca Whitman once planned to be a doctor.

Today, Foley Mountain's long-time site supervisor can't imagine doing anything but her dream job: living on Westport's beloved wild mountain and delivering outdoor education programs for hundreds of school children, day campers and families each year.

"I look at my life and think it's a dream," said Whitman, who has also been raising her three children on site since she and her husband arrived 16 years ago. "It's just such an ideal scenario for us. It comes with its challenges, but it has so many benefits." 

  1576 Hits
May
13

So, what do conservation authorities actually do?

Mythbusting your local flood management agency


With historic flooding in 2017 and again in 2019, questions abound about what is being done - or not done - to avoid future floods.

And it has sparked a conversation about the role of conservation authorities. 

  3974 Hits
Mar
01

A Home on Foley Mountain

A home on Foley Mountain Peri McQuay was gifted an unexpected life on Foley Mountain, as wife of the property's caretaker Barry McQuay.

Living an unexpected life in a public park

Foley Mountain is home to so many creatures: the chipmunks and beavers, the dragonflies and salamanders, the famous grey rat snakes, the red-tailed hawks.

It's home for the Forest School students who, after just a few weeks, feel like part of the ecosystem. It's home for the locals who routinely traverse the same old trails, somehow always finding something new.

But for Peri McQuay, Foley Mountain has been more than a home, more than the place she lived for 30 years, writing and raising her children.

For Peri McQuay, Foley Mountain has been an unexpected and miraculous gift.

  2399 Hits
Sep
04

Fall is coming. Embrace it at picturesque Mill Pond!

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Autumn is beginning to paint the watershed red, and if you're looking to catch the fall splendour in a quiet, uncrowded location, you can't go wrong at Mill Pond Conservation Area this season.

What Mill Pond CA may lack in hayrides and pumpkin patches it makes up for with 1,300 acres of maple forests, wetlands and natural shoreline around Mill Pond near Big Rideau Lake.

  4250 Hits
Jun
28

Meisel Woods is a nature workout unicorn

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Award: Best Workout!

When it comes to scenic, secluded places to burn a few calories, Meisel Woods Conservation Area is a true unicorn: no crowds, free parking, vista views, and more than its fair share of tough trails to get your heart pumping. Hard to believe, right?!

  3054 Hits
Jul
20

Gator Aid: Deep South decoy deters beachgoing geese

If you spot an alligator lurking near Rideau Ferry beach this summer, don't be alarmed – he isn't here for you.

Unless, of course, you're a Canada Goose.

  4162 Hits
Jul
17

Soak up the summer storms: Reducing runoff at home

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You may not have heard of runoff, but you've definitely seen it.

It's those curbside streams rushing into thirsty drains during a big rainstorm; the steady trickle down a soapy driveway as you wash your car. 

Runoff is surface water that can't absorb into the ground before it reaches a waterway. In developed areas, more pavement means fewer opportunities for the water to soak in.

Runoff picks up all the oils, chemicals, dirt and pollution it finds on the road and other paved surfaces and washes them down the storm drain. Those contaminants flow into the nearest catch basin, which ultimately drains into nearby lakes and rivers. 

This can pollute the water and upset the local ecosystem. The excess water can even contribute to flooding.

  3968 Hits
Jun
21

Beach Day! Three sandy spots to explore this summer

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If it's a warm, sandy beach you're after this summer, we've got you covered.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority maintains three beautiful public beaches across the watershed: Baxter Conservation Area in Osgoode, Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area near Smiths Falls and Foley Mountain Conservation Area in Westport - each of them offering a unique beach experience away from the downtown Ottawa crowds.

  3880 Hits
May
17

Brewer Pond’s mysterious root wads a sign of maturity

Our little pond is growing up.

This spring, residents in Old Ottawa South have noticed mysterious logs and root wads rising out of Brewer Pond – something they've never witnessed since the RVCA and its partners restored the pond to a functioning wetland in 2014. 

  2330 Hits
Apr
25

Toxic Tackle: Wolfe Lake program promotes lead-free fishing

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The Wolfe Lake Association is making it easier for anglers to get the lead out of their tackleboxes – and out of the ecosystem.

For the next year, anglers who hand in their toxic lead sinkers, jigs and other lead tackle at participating retailers will receive a $10 voucher to spend on alternative lead-free gear. They can also exchange their old lead gear for lead-free tackle at various community events planned throughout 2022.

  15685 Hits
Apr
21

Conservation Areas: Hard at Work for People and Planet

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Imagine: it's mid-morning on a warm spring day. You follow a trail through a sun-streaked forest. Migrating warblers send trills through the treetops and delicate blossoms decorate the forest floor. You look up to see a red squirrel peering back at you, or, if you're lucky, a shy barred owl. 

Passing through dappled sunlight and cedar-scented shadow, the trail leads to a thrumming wetland. There, the marshlands overtake your senses: cattails bowing to the gentle wind, turtles plunking off their sunbaked logs; red-winged blackbirds sending warnings from their reedy watchtowers. 

The Rideau River laps at your feet while the blossoming sun warms your chest and fills your soul. 

  1199 Hits
Feb
17

Welcome to the Matrix: How we designed to the gold standard of trail accessibility

20220207-200250mike.maryanne.blog2 Accessibility on Baxter's trails includes everyone.

Feb. 17, 2022 – You may already know that Baxter Conservation Area's new boardwalk and bridge will offer the gold standard of universal accessibility. But what is this standard exactly, and how was it created?

That's a question for Marnie Peters, renowned accessibility consultant in the Ottawa Valley. 

  1728 Hits
Dec
01

Someone else’s shoes: Cubs take “accessibility hike” in support of Nature For All

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You've heard it before: to understand a person, you must walk a mile in their shoes.

A local Cub Scouts pack did just that recently when they walked – and rolled – in the shoes of people with disabilities at Baxter Conservation Area south of Manotick. 

  952 Hits
Sep
21

Beyond Spy Rock: Three fabulous fall hikes at Foley Mountain

Spy Rock is famous for its fall views, but it's also famous for crowds - especially during the fall colour frenzy. This year, break away from the pack and get your fall fix from these lesser-known hikes inside the park:

  3220 Hits
Nov
09

It’s a pandemic. Conservation areas have never been so important.

Fresh air. Open space. A mental balm. Or perhaps just somewhere – anywhere – to take the kids. Yes, outdoor spaces have been the saviours of the pandemic.

  2142 Hits
Aug
02

History and ecology intersect at Motts Mills Conservation Area

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Award: Coolest history!

 If the land could talk, imagine its stories.

Thankfully, at Motts Mills Conservation Area we can at least tell you about the past 200 years, and how the historic dam has long shaped the Hutton Marsh wetland and the community it serves. 

  2513 Hits

Contact Us

Address:
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

Phone:
613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504

Email:

Hours:

Regular Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Member of: conservation ontario