Friday, 31 July 2015

Solitude Nature Reserve – A Reprieve from the Digital Age

Every year Canadians are spending more time indoors in front of screens and less time in the great outdoors. We spend an estimated 90% of our lives indoors and as a result we have disconnected from the natural environment. According to the Connecting Canadians With Nature study, done by the Canadian Parks Council, this disconnect has caused higher levels of depression, chronic anxiety and learning issues in adults and children across the country. This disconnect is what prompted Phil McNamee and his wife Mary Hanley to open Solitude Nature Reserve in Central Elgin.
McNamee has 10 years of experience leading wilderness backpacking adventures for adults to locations such as Gross Morne National Park, the Grand Canyon and Killarney Provincial Park. This experience has made him keenly aware of the positive effects that nature can have on people.
“People slow down when they spend time in nature,” said McNamee. “They don’t worry about what is happening at the office, and they are more relaxed.”

Solitude Nature Reserve seeks to provide campers with a true backwoods, wilderness camping experience close to home. Visitors won’t need to travel hundreds of kilometres to have authentic encounters with nature. Campsites are located far away from one another – the idea is to enjoy nature and not your neighbours. The use of electronic devices is not permitted except in the case of an emergency. McNamee wants solitude nature reserve to be a reprieve from the stresses and distractions of the digital age. He wants families to reconnect with nature and with one another.    

It took two years of searching before McNamee and Hanley found the perfect property. They chose 35 acres of natural bush and trails located at 45388 Dexter Line between Quaker and Yarmouth Centre Roads. McNamee increased the hiking trails and added 6 campsites each equipped with a 16’x16’ tent deck, a picnic table, an iron fire ring with a grill and a composting toilet. Fire wood is available on-site but campers are required to bring their own food and drinking water and a wagon will be available to help transport camping gear from the parking lot to the campsites. Currently 3 of these sites are available to the public with 3 more scheduled to open by late August. Campsites will be free of charge on a first come first serve basis but interested campers will need to get a permit from McNamee to be on-site. The campsites will only be available Friday and Saturday nights from July to September but the property is open for day-use from dawn until dusk 7 days a week, year-round.

Solitude Nature Reserve is conveniently located with in close proximity to a number of Elgin County tourist attractions, giving campers the opportunity to explore the area when not on-site at Solitude Nature Reserve. The area is home to fantastic roads for cycling, wineries, quaint fishing villages and the scenic coast of Lake Erie.
For more information about Solitude Nature Reserve including trail maps and campsite bookings visit their website or like them on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Can you change the commentary, please? I'm sure the reserve is not only open at night!
    "the property is open for day-use from dusk until dawn 7 days a week, year-round."
    Thank you.