Brought to you by the Team at Grey County Tourism.
A few simple tips to keep your summer adventures running smoothly and safely.
With restrictions across Ontario finally showing signs of lifting, we’re all eager to get outside and plan summer adventures with family and friends. One amazing plus side of the last year’s lockdown is an increased interest from Ontarians in the great outdoors. We saw it last summer and even during the winter month when visitation at our parks and trails were at an all-time high. As Grey County residents, we’re excited that others are sharing the joy that comes from a Bruce Trail hike, a paddle on Georgian Bay or even a stroll down the main street of our villages to grab coffee and a butter tart or a takeout meal.
But with increased visitor traffic comes increased challenges. If you’re a new hiker do you know what’s expected of you on the trail? If you’re driving up for the day have you thought of booking your parking and attractions in advance? What happens if you head to your destination and it’s simply too crowded?
The mantra for this summer is simple: Plan ahead, book ahead. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you Rediscover Grey Responsibly.
This is a summer like no other and now, more than ever, you need to do your research before packing your car. Opening hours and business offerings may have changed from other years and it’s key to call businesses and do your online research before making a plan. Reservations are required at many attractions so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Do not trespass
Sure that green field by the road looks like an amazing spot for a picnic, but that doesn’t mean you can just hike in and set up shop. Our region is lucky that many public and private landowners allow trails to run through their land. A sure way to lose those privileges for everyone is to wander onto private property without permission. Stick to marked trails and obey all signs and boundaries posted, for your own safety and for our landowner’s sanity.
Respect nature, agriculture, & wildlife
In Grey County, our backyard is shared with a wide variety of wildlife and farm animals. If you’re lucky enough to see these animals, give them the space they deserve and avoid disturbing their natural habitat. Do not feed wildlife and, as tempting as it might be, leave the cows and farm animals alone.
Protect our environment
We’ve all heard the refrains: Give a hoot, don’t pollute. Pack it in, pack it out. Take only pictures and leave only footsteps. With more and more visitors to the area, this has never been more important. Your litter belongs in a garbage can, if you don’t see one, pack it back into your bag and take it home. This includes food packaging, food scraps (no one needs 100 banana peels trailside) and your pet’s waste. Bring a refillable metal water bottle and pack your lunch in reusable containers that can carry your food waste home.
Don’t do it for the ‘gram
We all love a good selfie or a stunning sunset photo. But when getting ‘the shot’ puts you in danger, you need to reconsider. Cliff edges, moving water, caves, busy roads and stunning vistas on private properties all come with serious risks that just aren’t worth it. It doesn’t matter how many likes you get if you’re laid up in the hospital.
Learn and respect trail etiquette
When planning a hike on a local trail, all the rules above apply but there are a few extras too. Plan ahead for parking as popular trailheads fill up quickly. See a no parking sign, don’t park. Be sure to pick up your litter, read all posted signage. See a no biking sign, don’t bike. Keep dogs on a leash or leave them at home if no dog signage is posted. Stick to the trails and keep social distancing rules in mind, which is easy enough to do in the great outdoors. Watch for local trail ambassadors who can direct you to alternate hikes if your first choice is too busy or scan the posted QR codes on Grey County Tourism signage for suggestions of nearby hikes.