Code of Conduct for St. Williams Conservation Reserve

These guidelines have been adapted from the Ontario Trails Council’s user guidelines for shared-use trails and various county and regional codes of conduct for forest users.

General Rules for all SWCR Users

  • Expect and respect other trail users
  • Leave the wildlife for others to enjoy. Do not stress, harass, or chase wildlife.
  • Stay on authorized trails; do not create new trails. Avoid any travel that will increase trail rutting or otherwise damage the land.
  • Use trails only according to the permitted uses indicated in the Operations Plan . Some trails are user specific (i.e. hiking or horse-only trails).
  • Respect neighbouring landowners. Stay off private and avoid excessive noise.
  • Leave the conservation reserve as you found it; whatever you take in, take out.
  • Some trails may close seasonally or during forestry operations. Obey trail closure signs.
  • Hunting is a permitted use in the SWCR. When entering the SWCR during hunting seasons, wear clothing that stands out (i.e. hunter orange) for safety.
  • Check trail conditions, especially in spring. If you are leaving tracks over 1cm deep, don’t use the trail.
  • Keep to the right to allow other users to pass on your left. When stopping for a break, move to the side to allow others room to pass.

Rules for Walkers and Hikers

  • Remember that on shared-use trails there are other users enjoying the trails with you. Be aware of any horses, dogs, bicycles, or motorized vehicles.
  • If approaching horsed form the front, stop and let the horse and rider pass unless the rider indicates otherwise. When approaching from the rear, ask if it is OK to pass them and proceed on the left.
  • Keep control of your pets, particularly when sharing the trail with other users. Carry a leash for your dog and be prepared to use it. “Stop & flick” when waste is on the trail path.

Rules for Equestrians

  • Ride at a leisurely pace. Keep to a walk unless safety is certain and ground conditions rule out trail damage. Never gallop.
  • When your vision of the trail ahead is restricted, slow down and control your horse. Always assume that there may be another trail user ahead.
  • Ensure your horse is well mannered. Kicking, biting and excessive spooking are not safe on trails. Train your horse to accept various experiences and other users. Ride with an experienced horse if your horse is nervous.
  • Keep to the right to allow other users to pass on your left. Help other users by telling them the safest and easiest way by.
  • Pass other users on the left in single file, after receiving their permission. Allow them to get control of any pets, and be especially alert for children.
  • Kindly remove manure from the trail.
  • Never leave horses unattended.
  • Some trails are for hikers only; respect those trails by only riding on trails designated for horses.

Rules for Cyclists

  • Keep your pace leisurely and slow down to pass other trail users.
  • Plan ahead: know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding. Prepare accordingly.
  • Slow down if your vision of the trail ahead is restricted. Always assume there may be another trail user ahead, and be prepared to stop.
  • Yield the trail to hikers and horseback riders. Use your bell or speak when you are about 30 feet away to alert them. Be careful when passing children and dogs, especially from behind. Allow the owner to control the dog before passing.
  • Stay on designated trails. Off-trail riding can damage vulnerable plants and wildlife.
  • Some trails are for hikers only; respect those trails by riding only on multi-use trails.

Rules for Snowmobile and Motorized Vehicle Operators

  • All motorized vehicle operators must be fully licensed and insured.
  • Obey all regulations and by-laws regulating the operation of your snowmobile or ATV.
  • Be safety conscious. Be aware. Ride with care.
  • Stay on authorized trails. Unauthorized trail riding can injure vulnerable plants and wildlife.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts and quick directional changes with acceleration.
  • Slow down when your vision of the trail ahead is restricted, at night or over unfamiliar terrain.
  • Always assume there could be other trail users ahead, and be prepared for a controlled stop.
  • Slow down and be courteous when approaching or passing other trail users. Keep your speed and engine rpm low and steady when approaching and passing other trail users, homes, etc. Communicate with other trail users.
  • Park and dismount from your machine and walk to sensitive, scenic, historic and cultural areas.
  • Remove your helmet when talking to other trail users.
  • When parking along a trail, park machines in single file over to the right as far as possible to avoid obstructing the trail. Ensure you are visible and turn off your machine.
  • Some trails are for hikers only; respect those trails by only riding on multi-use trails.

Rules for Hunters and Anglers

  • Always hunt safely, legally and ethically. Obey posted signs.
  • Hunting and angling is subject to Provincial policies and regulations. All hunters and anglers must be properly licensed.
  • Respect the rights of other Conservation Reserve users. Show consideration for non-hunters. Do not hunt in high traffic areas.
  • Respect the environment, property owners’ rights and other hunters and anglers.
  • Support wildlife and habitat conservation.
  • Pass on an ethical hunting tradition.