Do you enjoy visiting Montréal’s large parks? Did you know that some actions can be harmful to these valuable living environments? Learn some simple actions to take the next time you visit.
There are more and more of us visiting Montréal’s 24 parks. Together, these large parks and nature parks comprise a giant playground where you can relax or enjoy your favourite outdoor activities.
This privilege comes with certain responsibilities — in particular, that of preserving the fragile balance of ecosystems in our parks so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy them.
Rules to follow
Stay on the trails
Whether you’re biking or walking, stay on the trails so that you don’t step on plants and break the branches of bushes. When you step on plants, they are destroyed and the soil is compacted.
Obey signage at all times. Trails are designated for hiking and snowshoeing. Others are specifically for cross-country skiing.
Don’t feed wild animals
Bread and grain products do not have the nutrition or calories needed for the health of ducks, geese or other species of birds. These foods can make them sick and disturb some of their activities, such as fall migration.
Our food is not suitable for squirrels, racoons and other wild animals we may meet in the park. These animals find everything they need in nature, and what’s more, hunting for food helps maintain their wild nature and survival instinct.
Some animals may carry infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as rabies.
Don’t pick flowers or plants
Flowers and plants aren’t just decorative. They provide food and shelter to birds and some insects, such as butterflies and bees.
By picking flowers, you keep them from reproducing, putting their survival in danger. For example, white trillium and mayapple, an endangered species, may take many years to flower. Wild garlic needs eight or nine years to reach full maturity. Just imagine if everyone picked a flower!
Why not just take a photo and share it with your friends on Instagram?
Dumping garden waste in parks is prohibited
As the summer approaches, more and more people are finding joy in gardening. Tending to a garden produces plant waste. The next step is to get rid of it. To preserve the ecosystems of Montréal parks, you must never dispose of green waste from flower gardens, vegetable patches or landscaping in a park.
Green waste (branches, leaves, soil, plants, etc.) may be compostable, but it can also disturb the balance of a natural ecosystem. For example, it can spread diseases that affect wild plants, and can allow undesirable, non-native and, in some cases, invasive plant species to take root in the park.
Pick up your trash. Leave no trace
Did you know that the garbage you leave behind can harm nature for tens or even hundreds of years?
If you eat or drink in the park, bring reusable containers and take them home with you. You can sort through your materials when you get home. That way, you can recycle or compost the packaging properly. If necessary, you can use the bins and trash cans on site. However, avoid containers that are already full. The garbage can blow away and pollute the environment.
By taking care not to leave anything in the park, your next visit will be more pleasant, and Mother Nature will thank you!
Don’t be noisy
Out of respect for others and the plants and animals that live in the park, using sound amplification devices is prohibited. Remember to bring your headphones or earbuds.
Keep your pet on a leash
Taking a walk with your dog is always fun! Your dog is welcome in all parks, so long as he or she is on a leash and you stay on the trail. However, dogs are not allowed on the beach at the Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques from June to September. Don’t forget to pick up your dog’s droppings.
Don’t build fires
It is strictly prohibited to build a fire for any reason. It’s too dangerous — it just takes one spark to set the whole park on fire.
It is prohibited to use gas or charcoal grills or butane stoves anywhere but designated picnic areas where signage indicates that it is allowed.
Parks that allow charcoal grills have ash cans where you can leave hot coals before you leave the park.
Leave dead wood alone
It’s tempting to bring a long branch home to use as a walking stick. In addition to providing a habitat for animals, branches, wood and leaves play an essential role in forest renewal. When they decompose, they become humus and enrich the soil. This is why city teams don’t pick them up.
Don’t hang anything from trees
It is prohibited to hang anything on trees or bushes, which could hurt them. The same goes for street furniture. So leave your hammock home and lock your bike to a bike rack.
Trail conditions and beach water quality
Leave at closing time
Even nocturnal birds go to sleep, so be mindful of closing times — sunset for nature parks and midnight for all other parks. For safety reasons, visiting the park at night is prohibited.