With so many organized activities either restricted or cancelled over the past year, the province is seeing a huge increase in the number of people using nature trails – both local and provincial.
One of the most popular past-times over the past year has been hiking.
If you drive by any access point to the Bruce Trail in the region, you are certainly going to see cars parked where people are heading off to spend a couple of hours out in nature.
This isn't limited to weekends, which are super busy. Even if you pass by on a weekend afternoon you are sure to see at least a few cars there.
The pandemic has caused people to re-think the way they spend their leisure time.
Since organized sports are pretty much on hold, people still want to get some exercise and heading out to the trails provides plenty of activity with the benefit of some very scenic views.
The activity isn't limited to people who live nearby.
Many of the cars in the parking lot have dealer license plate covers suggesting there are a lot of visitors from bigger urban centres who have made the effort to visit the area and get out into nature.
Hiking the trails provides a fun activity combined with some good exercise. It is naturally a physically distancing activity which means people can feel safe while on the trails.
There also more people bringing their bikes to trails and spending a few hours cycling through nature.
Conservation Areas reported earlier in the year that they have seen substantial increase in the number of visitors to their parks this year.
Provincial parks have also seen an increase of interest and activity.
Ontario Parks has reported the reservations for camping in provincial parks for this coming season has already doubled that of last year.
With that increased amount of activity some campsites are already booked solid for the entire season.
Camp grounds are restricting the numbers of over night campers this season in an effort to keep people physically distanced.
If you want to book a camp site this year, you should be ready to book it soon if you want to reserve a spot.
While the pandemic may be limiting a lot of activities, at least you can always hit the trails for an afternoon and enjoy a good hike and some natural scenery.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times