Biosphere Reserves are an international programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), "The Man and the Biosphere Programme". The "biosphere" is the very thin layer surrounding the Earth, where all life on the planet lives. Biosphere Reserves are regions of Earth recognized for their globally significant ecological features. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere is one of 15 UNESCO Biospheres in Canada. The Long Point Biosphere Reserve was designated by UNESCO in 1986, as the 3rd World Biosphere Reserve in Canada. Today, there are 16 biosphere reserves across this country, among 610 in 117 countries.
Norfolk County has trails for walking, biking, paddling, birding, snowmobiling, ATVing, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing.
The trail in the Big Creek National Wildlife Area goes into the Long Point Biosphere and has a lookout point onto the marshes of Long Point. The hiking and mountain biking trails at Long Point Eco-Adventures and the St Williams Conservation Reserve overlook the Turkey Point Marsh which is also part of the biosphere reserve.
We do not yet have hardcopy maps of the Norfolk County trails available. However, each map on the website is available in a PDF version that is printable for you to take out on the trails with you. If you have a smart phone, you can view the website and download maps when you’re out on the trails.
There is no camping allowed directly on any of the trails. However both Long Point and Turkey Point Provincial Parks are close to many of the trails in the area and each has a small set of walking/hiking trails within their boundaries. The Long Point Region Conservation Authority also operates 4 conservation areas around Norfolk County. They include the Backus Heritage Conservation Area, Deer Creek, Norfolk, and Waterford North. There are some private campgrounds and trail parks as well.
Dogs are allowed on the rail trails and in the conservation areas and must be kept on a leash at all times. Some other properties do allow dogs; please check the individual trail page or organization to find out where dogs are allowed.
There is a park entrance fee for the provincial parks (Turkey Point and Long Point) if you wish to enter the park in your vehicle, park your car for the day or camp. All other trails are free for use by the general public. However many trails are maintained by volunteers and trail associations in which members pay an annual fee for upkeep; you can support these individual organizations themselves by donating, check out the resources tab in each activity section to support your favourite trails and activities!
Not all trails are open year round. Some are open for summer use only, while others are closed during various hunting seasons. Please refer to the information for each individual trail to find out when the trail is open for use.
Many of the trails are marked with trail head signs and signs along the trails to keep users from getting lost. Each grouping of trails are managed by different organizations and as such, the signage for each trail will vary. Not all trails have signage along the length of the trails so be aware of where you are going by looking up the map prior to your trip.
There are many opportunities for wildlife viewing on the trails in Norfolk County. Some of these sightings could include squirrels, chipmunks, deer, fox, coyotes, weasels, raccoons, turtles, snakes, frogs and an abundance of different species of birds, including songbirds, migrating birds, waterfowl, and birds of prey.