By Norm Miller, Communications Advisor
One of the unique aspects of living in this area is the transition between the four seasons, each with its own defining moments. We know that spring is on the way when we spot our first robin, longer days and warmer nights mean summer is around the corner. But there is only one season that announces its arrival (and departure) in a dramatic burst of colourful glory, and that is fall.
The turning of the leaves and the slight chill at night that prompts us to dig those jackets out of the back of the closet, signals fall is here and winter is coming. In this region we are fortunate to have an abundance of natural areas with rolling hills, and the Niagara Escarpment to showcase the array of reds, oranges, yellows and browns.
Conservation Halton’s annual Fall into Nature Festival celebrates the spectacular landscapes and colours of fall. The event takes place on Thanksgiving weekend from October 8 to 10, and the weekend of October 15 and 16. Special events will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all six of Conservation Halton’s main parks:CrawfordLake,HiltonFalls, Kelso,MountNemo,Mountsbergand Rattlesnake Point Conservation Areas.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of unique outdoor experiences including chairlift rides to the top of the escarpment, tours through many trails and landscapes, educational and interactive programs, live music and First Nations dancers, and various demonstrations such as reptile and Bird of Prey shows.
Conservation Halton, with the help of Celebrate Ontario funding, launched its first Fall into Nature Festival in 2009, and attracted more than 28,000 visitors. Visitation numbers grew to more than 44,000 people in 2010. Admission prices are the same as regular day passes and Conservation Halton annual passholders only need to show their pass to gain entrance. Admission includes entrance to all six parks on that day and provides opportunities for some scenic hiking and viewing.
Experience Fall Colours
The majestic Niagara Escarpment and varied landscapes of Conservation Halton Parks provide some of the most outstanding colour scenery inOntario. With more than 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of parkland and 100 kilometres of trails, our parks turn into kaleidoscopes of colour that impress visitors every fall.
Fall into Nature offers a number of activities to experience the fall colours. At Kelso, you can experience spectacular views with chairlift rides to the top of the escarpment. Take in the fall scenery as you ride through the bison compound at Mountsberg, or relax on a horse-drawn wagon ride atCrawfordLakeandHiltonFalls.
Guided trail hikes at Kelso and self-guided hikes at all parks enable you to marvel at the views and learn something about the nature that surrounds you along the way. Shutterbugs can learn tips and tricks for capturing rich fall palettes out on the trails in a photography hike atMountsberg. You can also enjoy the vibrant surroundings on two wheels with guided mountain bike rides at Kelso andHiltonFalls, and discover our fabulous mountain bike trails.
There are few better places to enjoy the fall colours than at aConservationHaltonPark. The vistas from the top of the Niagara Escarpment at Kelso,MountNemoand Rattlesnake are particularly incredible. Whether you’re travelling to, or between our parks, you are sure to have a scenic route through our beautiful area with many travel routes to explore.
While enjoying Fall into Nature, be sure to check out other local destinations such as Campbellville, which offers shopping and dining opportunities. Or, enjoy the fruits of the harvest season with a visit to Springridge Farms, Stonehaven Farms, Chudleigh’s, or any of the farmers markets throughout the region.
A wide area of cultural and family fun activities
A wide array of activities for all ages and interests are being offered at the Fall into Nature festival. Have fun with harvest themed games, discovery hunts and crafts for kids. Explore the PlayBarn atMountsberg, build a pinecone birdfeeder atHiltonFallsand enter the pumpkin raffle atCrawfordLake. Each park will have a Welcome Centre to let you know what’s happening that day.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the regular activities and programs available at our parks. Be sure to check out the amazing Birds of Prey demonstration atMountsbergor travel back in time to theIroquoianVillageatCrawfordLake.
Fall into Nature also has cultural activities which will open a door into the past for all to learn more about the rich history of this region and showcase local talent. There will be live musical performances at all parks, with a variety of music and First Nations Dancers.CrawfordLakehas First Nations presentations with Chief Albert Topleaf, who will share First Nations culture through traditional music, stories and props. Drummers and non-drummers of all ages are invited to join the open drum circle atHiltonFalls.