Simcoe County Forests
County of Simcoe recreational policy requires County Forest hunters to be OFAH members.
The County of Simcoe considers hunting to be a heritage activity within its County forests and to help ensure it continues, along with all other recreational uses, a recreational use policy and associated by-law are in place. Among other conditions, the policy calls for anyone hunting in Simcoe County Forests to be a member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Simcoe County and its over 31,000 acres of forest properties welcomes outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. With 150 forest tracks stretching across 16 municipalities, Simcoe County Forests provide significant outdoor opportunities north of Toronto.
Since 1922, the County of Simcoe has been building on its nationally recognized reputation for restoring properties that were once considered "waste-lands" - a result of over-clearing and soil erosion during the time of early settlement. As a matter of fact, Simcoe County Forests are some of the oldest managed forests in the province.
Thanks to years of excellent resource management, Simcoe County Forests are now home to an abundance of wildlife, including rabbits, grouse, wild turkeys and deer. These properties also protect and enhance green land corridors and water quality, which is critical for species such as waterfowl, reptiles and trout that inhabit coldwater streams like the historic Nottawasaga River.
Most notably, Simcoe County Forests provide a wealth of multi-use recreational opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, mushroom pickers and anglers and hunters alike. Simcoe County Forests are also host to inter-provincial recreational trail systems such as the Ganaraska and TransCanada.
Simcoe County Forests are the largest municipally-owned forests in Ontario and are a leading example of good stewardship and community partnerships. Local partners, including Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) member clubs, pitch-in to help keep Simcoe County Forests litter-free and enjoyable for all recreational users.
The County of Simcoe acknowledges that hunting is an essential wildlife management tool and a longstanding recreational activity. Hunting is the original recreational activity in the County Forests. Simcoe County Council has enacted a new Recreational Use Policy that will help bring balance to all recreational uses within its forests including the provision of continued hunting opportunities in the area, which has been identified by the Ministry of Transportation as having one of the most severe levels of deer/vehicle collisions.
OFAH, and as always, must be in accordance with provincial hunting regulations. The County reminds hunters and all visitors that it is up to each individual to use County Forests responsibly and to respect other users. Please be reminded that temporary tree stands ONLY are permitted, as nails and other permanent hardware can create very serious hazards in the future.
"Residents and visitors appreciate and enjoy the Simcoe County Forests," says County Warden Cal Patterson. "We are proud of our heritage and the foresight of those who preceded us to establish and maintain our Forests. The Forests are an important part of who we are and we want to see all visitors continue the tradition of respect and awareness for other Forest users so that everyone can safely enjoy these natural areas. Hunting is a welcomed activity and County Council encourages its safe and continued practice."
Like a growing number of other private and municipal property owners, the County of Simcoe recognizes the importance of OFAH members' ironclad protection through their automatic outdoors liability insurance. OFAH membership also helps Conservation Authorities such as the Grand River and Upper Thames continue hunting opportunities in those areas. Through OFAH membership, anglers and hunters are typically better informed about various resources issues and are regularly reminded about enjoying the outdoors safely and responsibly.
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