Discover nature at our conservation areas
The Lake Simcoe Watershed is full of opportunities for exploration in nature. Hike, bike, walk, run or simply soak up the beauty of nature! Our conservation areas provide a stunning setting for outdoor recreation.
Whether you're looking to plan your next outdoor adventure or are simply looking for a space to come together with nature, we can help. We own or manage more than 24 conservation areas for your enjoyment.
Nature and your health
Taking in the fresh air and beautiful sights during a stroll through a forest is good for your health. In fact, people who are more connected to nature tend to be happier and healthier. But how much can visiting nature actually improve your health?
According to Eco-Health Ontario, people who spend time in nature or live near a green space experience:
- Increased immunity
- Reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure
- Improved balance and coordination
- Reduced brain fatigue
- Improved memory and mood
- Reduction in stress
98% of Canadians agree that being outdoors enhances your well-being … yet almost 30% of us spend less than 5 minutes outside each day! Spending as little as 30 minutes per day in nature can have a profound impact on your health. Here are some ideas to help you get outside:
Step away from your electronics and visit a forest. Walk slowly and breathe deeply. Open all your senses. This practice, known as “Shinrin-yoku" or forest bathing, has become a significant preventative measure for healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine. Read more about Forest Bathing here.Simply being in the forest provides relaxation and restorative benefits
8 Minute Nature Exploration (Family Activity)
Grab a pencil, print this activity, and find a place outside to spend the next 8 minutes completing this “Nature Exploration".
Visit a new Conservation Area
This month, consider visiting Sheppard's Bush Conservation Area!
Sheppard's Bush Conservation Area is a 26 hectares property with approximately five kilometres of hiking trails, two picnic pavilions and several historic buildings including a maple syrup evaporator hut and the Sheppard family house. The relatively flat ground provides the perfect place for wide, flat trails, as well as a fitness trail with nine exercise stations.
Sheppard's Bush is also connected to a larger trail network along the East Holland River. From here you can go as far as Holland Landing on the Nokiidaa Trail or from Palgrave to Rice Lake on the Oak Ridges Trail.
The mix of hardwood upland forests, mixed ravine forests, and mature conifer plantations at Sheppard's Bush provides habitat for area-sensitive songbirds such as great-crested flycatchers, red-eyed vireos, pileated woodpecker and eastern wood-pewees. Along the ravine near the East Holland River, you'll also find breeding habitat for amphibians such as American toads and garter snakes, as well as habitat for coyotes and white-tailed deer.
The stretch of the East Holland River that runs through Sheppard's Bush is also one of the best fish habitats in the Lake Simcoe watershed. Though not open to fishing, the clean, cold, healthy water provides habitat for species such as brook trout, creek chub, mottled sculpin and slimy sculpin.
Not sure where to visit? Join our mailing list to receive updates about our Conservation Area news and events including conservation area highlights.