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​Hiking & Paddling Safety

Keep safe when visiting Conservation Areas!

  • In case of emergency - Call 911.
  • For non-urgent situations during business hours, call NVCA at 705-424-1479.
Conservation areas are a perfect place to get outside and enjoy nature. But whether you are hiking, paddling, snowshoeing, picnicking or just walking the dog, you should be aware that there are some risks associated with natural areas.
  • Trails may follow cliff edges, pass through areas with caves and crevices, or areas along rivers, streams and ponds with no barriers from steep slopes or water.

  • Trails may be slippery, particularly if they are wet, snow covered or icy.

  • Trails may be uneven or have obstructions like tree roots that pose a tripping hazard.

  • In forested areas, trees and branches may fall at any time, but are a particular hazard during high winds or following a storm.

  • Conservation areas are home to wild animals and birds.  While they are a joy to watch, give wild animals their space.  Watch from a distance.

  • Cell phone coverage may be limited in some conservation areas.

If you are visiting a conservation area, you assume these and other risks inherent to trails and natural areas.

Hiking Safety

No matter how long the trail, follow a few basic hiking safety rules for a fun and safe trip.

  • Wear proper hiking gear for the weather and the trail you'll be travelling.

  • Ensure you have a navigation device (compass, GPS, map).

  • Never venture out alone before telling someone where you are going.

  • Bring along some water and a snack.

  • Hike to the weather, modifying your speed in rain or icy conditions. 

  • Watch for change in terrain/hidden hazards, and be extra cautious when hiking in areas with caves, crevices and steep slopes.

  • Take particular caution during hunting season - Review our Be Seen Be Safe brochure for tips to keep you safe.

  • If you need to smoke then extinguish your cigarette butts and take them with you. We are not only thinking about preventing fire, we are also preserving nature. Never toss ignited butts!

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Paddling Safety Equipment

Whether you're travelling by canoe or kayak, we recommend carrying some extra paddling safety equipment along with the mandatory marine safety equipment required by Transport Canada.

You might consider carrying these items depending on where and when you paddle.

  • Spare paddle

  • Knife

  • Helmet

  • Towline/throw line

  • First aid kit

  • Float bags

Forest Fire Survival Tips

While large forest fires are rare in our area, anyone who enjoys time out in nature should be aware of these fire survival tips:

  • Be aware of what's going on around you at all times.

  • Be alert for the first signs of forest fire:
    • Smell of smoke unlike a normal campfire
    • Falling ash
    • Abnormal wildlife behaviour, such as animals running through the forest or large numbers of birds flying away
    • You may hear the approach of a large fire before seeing the flames
  • Stay calm and assess the situation. 

  • Determine which way the wind is blowing.
    • If the wind is blowing from the same direction of the fire, that means the fire is very likely moving your way
    • If the wind is blowing towards the fire, head into the wind
  • Leave the area.  Remember, fire travels faster than you. Leave immediately.
  • Look for an escape route. 
    • Fire travels uphill and downwind fastest.  The safest routes are typically downhill and upwind.
    • Seek safer zones such as:
      • Rivers (stay in the water in a place where you can stand)
      • Lakes  (stay in the water in a place where you can stand)
      • Large level areas away from combustible material or previously burned over

  • If the fire is nearing you or you're becoming trapped:
    • Find low ground, such as a gulley or ravine
    • Dig a depression against the wall of the ravine
    • Cover yourself with earth or natural fibres (synthetic fibres melt), leaving no skin exposed
    • Breath inside your clothing next to your body to protect your respiratory tract from inhaling hot gasses