Communing with nature near Arcadia

Living in Arcadia means that you not only have the best in local conveniences, but also the best access to local nature destinations. If you enjoy as much time outside discovering the great outdoors as possible, then come with us and investigate the South March Highlands Conservation Forest and Feedmill Creek.

South March Highlands Conservation Forest

Arcadia residents are fortunate to be so close to the largest old growth forest within the City of Ottawa. The South March Highlands Conservation Forest boasts a large 25 km network of hiking and mountain biking trails. There’s plenty to discover in this pristine piece of Canadian Shield with its myriad species of plants and trees, and the wildlife that calls this forest home.

Mountain bike enthusiasts will appreciate the plentiful trails which offer challenging cycling terrain. The network of trails through thick forests riddled with gnarly roots, large boulders, hills, and valleys are perfect for the advanced cyclist. The Ontario Bike Trails website has some useful information for planning a mountain bike adventure.

Mountain biking on a trail in South March Highlands Conservation Forest in Kanata.

If you like to dig into local history while enjoying nature, then you’ll love investigating the forest for homestead ruins. As part of the forest conservation efforts, these foundations and artifacts have been left intact, so there is a great deal to see—if you know where to go. CapitalGems.ca has some great information on planning a hike to view a 19th century ruined homestead.

Make sure you prepare yourself before venturing out into the forest. It’s always a good idea to wear proper footwear that provides good ankle support and wear layers so you can add or remove warmth. Also, be sure to pack and use insect repellent to keep away mosquitoes and ticks.

Feedmill Creek

Feedmill Creek, which runs from Feedmill Park in Stittsville, then across the 417 by Arcadia into the Carp River, offers a little taste of nature just steps from the community.

Efforts have been made in recent years to revitalize the creek to sustain the watershed’s ecosystem, bolster animal habitat, and improve its ability to handle storm runoff. The revitalization projects also ensure that a space of at least 70 metres is left on the borders of the creek to ensure it has a wide natural buffer to encourage the growth of native plants.

The watershed’s ecosystem includes important species such as frogs, toads, snakes, and the threatened Blanding’s Turtle. Cold and warm water fish species also live in the waterway and benefit from the revitalization efforts.

Blanding turtle at the edge of Feedmill Creek near the Carp River in Kanata.

Because Feedmill Creek is so close to the community, it’s just a short walk to head over for this little slice of nature. If you head there before nightfall in May and early June, you will hear the sounds of frogs and toads calling—a fantastic way to unwind and relax after a long day.

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