Heard it from a Scout: Favourite Nature Conservancy of Canada Nature Destinations
Lush greenery and rugged landscapes cover Canada, so getting inspired to explore nature’s treasures is easy. Escaping from our urban environments allows us to immerse ourselves in nature in the many protected and beautiful natural areas across the country that are open to visitors, such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Nature Destinations. Here are Scouts Canada’s favourite Nature Destinations.
BC: Chase Woods Nature Preserve
On BC’s West Coast lies the Chase Woods Nature Preserve, a Nature Destination for any hiker looking for a challenge. Nestled in the Cowichan Valley on Mt. Tzouhalem, the clifftop trail on Chase Woods provides breathtaking views of Cowichan Bay, the valley below and beyond. Hikers can explore the many forested trails that connect Chase Woods to adjacent municipal forest lands and a provincial ecological reserve.
Take in the spectacular views of Coyote Lake and enjoy a day of birdwatching from the gazebo, or meander through the property on the singletrack trails. Elk, deer and moose tracks are often seen here in the fall and winter. And check out the waterfowl on the lake in spring, summer and fall.
Located about 70 kilometres from Prince Albert, Nebo features beautiful natural wonders. Beyond the grasslands are marshes lined with forests that are inhabited by species ranging from moose to songbirds.
Manitoba: Ralph Wang Trail and Elk Glen
Manitoba has two great Nature Destinations for your next outdoor adventure. The Ralph Wang Trail offers an easy round-trip walk with plenty of birds to spot, making it an ideal location for a family outing or a relaxing walk in nature. The property itself is a rare gem in Manitoba due to the loss of most of the province’s native grasslands — a reminder to us of the importance of preserving these remaining habitats for the future.
You can also learn more about local species at Elk Glen, another property with an exciting loop-around hike. Elk Glen features some of Manitoba’s most diverse habitats, from dense woodland to grassy hills; a dream come true for any botanist. As a Scouting volunteer, this would be an excellent site to explore with my Cub Pack (youth ages eight to 11) to experience the many types of habitats where Canada’s wildlife live.
Ontario: Big Trout Bay
If you’re an adventure enthusiast, then Big Trout Bay Nature Reserve should definitely be on your bucket list. By going to Big Trout Bay, you can explore the 21 kilometres of Lake Superior shoreline. You might see a moose, and you will get to see breathtaking views on the trails nestled on Mount Mollie. Thanks to efforts of the late James Duncan, regional vice-president for NCC’S Ontario Region, the nature reserve is well taken care of for the future.
Quebec: Tourbière-de-Venise-Ouest Nature Reserve, Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier and Boisé-Papineau Nature Reserve
The boardwalks and benches at the Tourbière-de-Venise-Ouest Nature Reserve make this Nature Destination a lovely place for breaks and picnics. In winter, it is a perfect place to cross-country ski and see Lake Champlain. From spring to fall, the park is bursting with colour and life.
At the Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier, you can venture along the Bellechasse Inlet’s coastline. On this property, you can find Victorin’s gentian and Provancher’s fleabane, plants found nowhere else in the world.
Located just 20 kilometres from Montreal, in the St. Lawrence Valley, the Boisé-Papineau Nature Reserve features a 200-year-old beech forest. Be sure to keep an eye out for owls!
New Brunswick: Musquash Estuary
Lace up your boots and hike one or both of the Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve’s well-marked coastal trails. The Five Fathom Hole Trail delivers with beautiful views of the craggy coastline. A hike on the Black Beach Trail rewards with a variety of habitats — coastal peatlands, eastern white cedar stands, mature red spruce forest with plentiful patches of tall ferns — and remains, such as old foundations, from Musquash's former homesteads.
It doesn't take much effort to leave your cozy living room and set out on an outdoor adventure. Whether it’s dense forest or vast grasslands, there is a place for every hiker, Scout or explorer!
Whenever my Scouting Group and I visit a park or go camping, we follow the Leave No Trace principles to give nature the respect it deserves. Show your local parks and conservation areas some love and spread awareness about the importance of preserving wildlife.
"Heard it from a Scout" is written by members of Scouts Canada’s Youth Spokesperson program. This post was authored by Emma Savić Kallesøe.