The air is crisp and the last few rust-coloured leaves cling to the barren branches of the trees, but the hikers are all still out with wide smiles.
Scarborough’s Rouge Park guided nature walks are approaching their first anniversary on Nov. 29. The walks draw hikers of all ages are looking for exposure to nature, as well as a chance to learn about the environment they live in.
“We’re very happy to know that people have found the walks and are pleased with the experience it provides them,” said Diana Smyth, trail coordinator and walks organizer.
“We get great feedback from people that have been out walking in the park for years by themselves, but when they started to come out with us they found they’ve learned more on a few walks with us than they had in the years they were exploring the park on their own,” Smyth said..
Along with offering a change to learn more about the park and nature, Rouge Park has partnered with the Ontario Power Generation for November to bring a special focus to biodiversity.
Smyth said the partnership has provided a great way for hikers to learn about the biodiversity of the park and identify the various animal and plant species that live within it. It has also brought more exposure to the guided walks boosting walk attendance over the last several months.
Adults are not the only participants of these walks. The park offers both child and pet-friendly outings as well. Smyth said the park’s website shows which walks are suitable for younger nature lovers and four-legged friends.
Smyth said that it’s easy to see why the program has done so well and the park is seen as such a great place to explore.
“Discovering a place like Rouge Park so close to the core of Toronto is a great opportunity to get into the wilderness and natural area,” Smyth said.