White trillium, Creemore Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by NCC)

White trillium, Creemore Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada asks visitors to respect its nature reserves

January 18, 2021


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is asking all visitors to its publicly-accessible nature reserves to do so with respect and to follow all posted signage for guidance on permitted activities.

“We have noticed an increase in some non-permitted activities on our properties in recent months,” said Wendy Cridland, senior director of conservation, Ontario. “Off leash dogs, ATV and snowmobile use, people going off trails, fires, dog waste and other litter are just a few of the complaints we have received from community members. First and foremost, our nature reserves are to protect the species found there, so it is important that all visitors treat these places and other users with respect.”

These issues have escalated during the pandemic, especially since the province-wide shutdown went into effect last month.

“If visitors see any illegal activity, such as vandalism or trespass, we encourage people to report it to NCC staff and the local authorities,” said Cridland.

The following activities are prohibited on all NCC properties in Ontario:

  • Off-leash dogs. Pets must be kept leashed at all times for their wellbeing and to protect other visitors, other dogs, and wildlife and their natural habitat.
  • Littering. All garbage, including pet waste, must be taken with you. NCC does not maintain waste bins on its properties.
  • Camping or fires.
  • Foraging or picking of plants.
  • Off-trail use.

All of the non-profit, national charity’s properties are private lands. Most are open to visitors to enjoy and appreciate nature. Many of these properties were donated by generous individuals who wanted to ensure these special places remain in their natural state forever. However, the natural values of these places can be threatened by unsustainable use.

“We know nature is important in our lives and good for our health and well-being, especially in these stressful times. Many of our properties are popular with nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. But we need the public to respect these special places. Many of our trails are maintained by volunteers and a limited number of staff. We are asking everyone to respect these areas and to follow the directions on use as posted in our signage,” said Cridland.

During Ontario’s province-wide shutdown and State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCC urges residents to follow all public health guidelines including:

  • Avoid interprovincial travel.
  • Keep a distance of two metres (6 feet) from people not from your household.
  • Do not gather in groups of more than 5 people – please do not gather with other households (households with more than 5 members excepted).
  • Wear face masks, even outdoors.
  • Do not congregate.

For more information visit COVID-19: provincewide shutdown | Ontario.ca.

NCC’s website offers opportunities for people to enjoy nature at a distance by taking virtual hikes — thanks to 360-degree Google Trekker footage — coast to coast. These can be seen at natureconservancy.ca/trekker. NCC also has a series of online activities to help people of all ages get their nature fix. Visit natureconservancy.ca and watch for updates and activities being added regularly. 

For public inquiries regarding our conservation sites, please call: 1-877-231-3552.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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Media Contact:

Nicole Senyi
Communications Manager
Ontario Region
C: 416-937-5079

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