INGLESIDE, Ontario – Members of Friends of the Sanctuary were excited to open the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Saturday, Jan. 5, officially launching the 2019 Winter Weekends Program.
“We do this every year,” explained Ross Miller, President of Friends of the Sanctuary. “Basically, we are keeping the sanctuary open during the winter even though the Parks are shutting down…and we have ski and snowshoe rentals.”
Ski and snowshoe rentals range between $4 and $6 per person for non-members and members can rent for $4 and under. Membership fees range from $15 to $25 for year-round activities. Currently, rentals can be made between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Miller noted that if you are not interested in skiing or snowshoeing, there are plenty of trails to walk down.
According to Miller, the program will be offered until March 31, weather permitting. Although conditions were not ideal on opening day, Miller joked that they were perfect for a snowball fight and someone had successfully built snowman.
Miller is looking forward to moonlight skis, an evening adventure program which will announce dates soon. He added that during the March break, different activities will be available all week for children.
Friends of the Sanctuary is also striving to work with senior’s groups to offer snowshoeing classes. The group is also hoping to work with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to make the trails accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Miller said Friends of the Sanctuary and the St. Lawrence Parks Commissions has a great partnership.
“I think when people come out here they get a better sense of appreciation for nature and what’s close at hand,” said Miller. “I’ve lived here for three years (in SDG) but a lot of the people I have run into have lived here longer than me, and they don’t even know that the sanctuary exists.”
Miller is hopeful that families will utilize the trails, enjoy feeing the various bird populations and maybe even see some snowy owls.
“We are all the same. You could become housebound (during the winter) so if you stop in here it gives the family something to do. You know, the kids get a kick out of feeding the birds,” said Miller.
“Everybody’s talking today about too much screen time and this is a good way for a family to get the kids out, away from their screens,” he added.
To find out more information about different programs, visit Friends of the Sanctuary on Facebook.