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 bound to happen. We're making adjustments to manage the rush, but you can also take these simple steps to make sure your visit is a hit:
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:
Award: Best in Fall!
Like it or not, fall is coming. And with it comes crowded trails and lookouts, just when we're trying to avoid gathering in large groups. 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 it lacks in hayrides and pumpkin patches it makes up with 1,300 acres of maple forests, wetlands and natural shoreline around Mill Pond near Big Rideau Lake.
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.
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.
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.
Award: Best Beach!
If you're looking for warm sand, cool water and a picturesque place to soak up the sun this summer, we've got your answer: Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area.
We get by with a little help from our friends, and Foley Mountain Conservation Area is no exception.
Friends of Foley Mountain, a charitable group that has aided the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority's Westport site since 1996, has continued its support despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to the thrum of a thriving summer wetland, winter wetlands may seem as silent as outer space.
But they're not empty, nor are they vacant – life's just a little slower, a little less showy, in an ice-covered marsh or swamp.
If your kids start complaining the moment you say "walk," the snowsuit struggle might not seem worth it. But inside every kid is an outdoorsperson waiting to blossom – and these tricks might just help! Try these activities at one of our 11 conservation areas and let us know what got them moving.
Folks, we all know that this is a really hard time. It is full of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is a time where we are all having to take things on that fall way outside our comfort zones. As a parent of three, an educator, and wife of a teacher who works in a more traditional setting, I'm seeing, hearing and feeling some of the challenges around children being home from school.
Looking to escape the house? Searching for some safe fun and learning for your little ones (or big ones) while physical distancing?
There's fun, discovery and learning available in your backyard or during a walk around the block.
We spoke to RVCA's Outdoor Educators Andrea Wood (Baxter Conservation Area) and Rebecca Whitman (Foley Mountain Conservation Area) and asked for some tips on how to maximize your child's outdoor experience.
We all know it: the holidays can be stressful, expensive and wasteful. All that running around buying things people don't need, trying to read everyone's minds, bracing for Boxing Day returns once everything's been unwrapped.
Why not skip the hassle and give the gift of conservation instead?
Autumn is upon us, and the fabulous fall colours are painting our watershed red, gold and yellow.
Foley Mountain is famous for its fall views from Spy Rock Lookout, but it can get very busy. This year, don't be afraid to break with tradition and get your fall fix from lesser-known hikes inside the park. We promise the colours are just as spectacular, and you won't be fighting for a spot on Spy Rock!
Try these three hikes for a refreshing take on Foley's fall splendor.
Award: Best Kept Secret!
Sometimes we're so busy dreaming of far-off places, we miss the wonders right in front of our nose.
That could be the case with Perth Wildlife Reserve Conservation Area, a 635-acre natural area along the Tay Marsh and river just five minutes from downtown Perth.
Award: Family favourite!
Every parent wants to keep their kids engaged and entertained – and for as long as possible without complaints.
Well, you won't hear any whining at Baxter Conservation Area: it delivers hours of family fun, no matter the season.
Located 15 minutes south of Barrhaven along the Rideau River, Baxter offers five kilometres of trails, beach and picnic areas, a unique nut grove and an interpretive centre where outdoor educators offer tons of student programming.
Award: Coolest wildlife!
Going into the wild is easy when we have Foley Mountain right in our backyard.
This conservation area in Westport is 833 acres of naturalist's heaven: located in the heart of the Frontenac Arch, the unique region is a magnet for migrating birds and animals, species at risk, common Canadian forest friends and, of course, the humans hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
You know what they say: "If you build it, they will come." But that old adage isn't just for haunted baseball fields – it also applies to wetland projects right in the heart of Ottawa's greenbelt.
Last fall, staff at the RVCA and the National Capital Commission created 10,000 square metres of new wetland habitat along Stillwater Creek, just south of the new DND headquarters off Moodie Drive and Highway 417.
Thanks to observations from the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, which is located nearby, staff at the NCC and RVCA discovered the wetland had been suffering annually from extreme low water conditions. Most of the year the wetland was completely dry, dominated by long, reedy grasses that don't encourage much biodiversity.
Award: Most accessible!
Welcome to Chapman Mills Conservation Area: an urban oasis in the heart of South Ottawa, easily walkable for nearby Barrhaven and Riverside South communities and a short drive for tens of thousands more in the Ottawa South region.
It's our most accessible conservation area for so many reasons: urban location, access to the Rideau River, easy-to-use boardwalk trails, excellent seating options and free entry and parking.