Forest Valley Trails

Forest Valley Trails Working Group

June 2020 - 

The Chapel Hill North forest and the Voyageur Creek valleylands are protected municipal natural areas under that by-law, as Urban Natural Features in our Official Plan.

Residents should be made aware of the tree protection provisions in Section 6, as well as the natural area protection provisions in Sections 13 and 14 of the by-law, and particularly the ones highlighted below:
Section 6
  1. No person shall:
    1. injure or destroy the trunk of a tree,
    2. affix a poster, notice or sign to a tree,
    3. affix any guy line or other fastening or fixture to a tree,
    4. utilize a tree paint, or
    5. remove branches, trim or alter any tree.
Section 13 - Asset protection
  1. No person shall, in a municipal natural area;
    1. injure or destroy any plant;
    2. leave or deposit any waste, except in a receptacle provided for that purpose;
    3. wash, clean, polish, service, maintain or, with the exception of any emergency, repair any motorized vehicle;
    4. enter onto a municipal natural area where it is signed to prohibit or restrict admission to the public;
    5. plant any hedge, tree, shrub or garden;
    6. construct or place any fence, building, retaining wall or other structure of any kind;
    7. keep any composting receptacle or compost pile; or
    8. place any string, wire, chain, rope or similar material.
Section 14 - Consent to enter permits
  1. No person shall, in a municipal natural area,
    1. camp or erect any tent or other structure;
    2. set or maintain any open air fire as provided for in the Open Air Fire By-law;
    3. conduct scientific research;
    4. play any game, sport or activity, with the exception of lawful hunting or fishing activities;
    5. discharge, dump or leave any construction material, earth, dirt, rock, snow, stone, or other material;
    6. drive any motorized vehicle in an area designated as a trail; or
    7. undertake any maintenance activities or alter existing grounds or facilities;unless a valid Consent to Enter Permit has been issued by the Director.
Obviously, the City does not have the resources nor the desire to strictly enforce all of these provisions in every case (e.g., where children are making temporary “forts” out of fallen branches).  Enforcement may not be possible in cases where there is no clear evidence regarding who is responsible.  The City does have the right to remove any structures or materials that were not approved, and residents can request such removals by calling 3-1-1 and providing specific location details. 

June 2019 - Forest Valley Trails update: In late 2018, the CHNCA launched two initiatives for public feedback on the Forest Valley Trails Working Group Report titled “Protection, Sustainability and Maintenance of the Chapel Hill North Forest and its Trails, October 22, 2018”: (a) a public information meeting held on November 5, 2018, and (b) an invitation for the public to submit written feedback on the report. The interests, concerns, and views received have been read with interest, and were summarized and presented by the FVTWG at our recent AGM meeting on May 28, 2019. The full feedback report can be accessed here for those who missed the meeting:

The CHNCA would like to thank all residents from Chapel Hill North and beyond for providing feedback, and to the FVTWG members for their continued work on this important project. We look forward to moving ahead with the community, and engaging with the two CHN forest landowners - the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission.🌳

November 2018Thank you to everyone who came to the Chapel Hill Forest public information meeting on Monday Nov 5 2018, to CHSCA's Paul Bolt for smoothly moderating the Q&A session, to Councillor-elect Laura Dudas for supporting our community, to the City of Ottawa's Luc Généreux for attending, and of course to the members of the working group (past and present), currently led by Susan Davies, for their informative presentation and report. Susan has a wonderful way of describing what a gem the forest truly is! Thank you all for your work and dedication to this project.🌳🌲🍂🍁

Reminder: feedback on the report and the 3 Options are due in writing by November 30 to

October 28 2018 - We are pleased to announce the Forest Valley Trails Working Group has completed their "Report on the Protection, Sustainability and Maintenance of the Chapel Hill Forest and its Trails” and it is available here for your review and feedback:  A paper copy of the FVTWG Report will be available for consultation at the Orléans Public Library (1705 Orléans Blvd). 

The FVTWG Report is in two parts which are inter-related and meant to be read together.
Part 1 of 2 - Main Report
Part 2 of 2 - Supporting Information    
The views expressed in the report do not necessarily represent the views of the CHNCA - we are facilitating the process of gathering community input.

There will be a public information session on Monday November 5 2018 6:30pm at the Orléans Library. Members of the FVTWG will be presenting their report and answering residents’ questions. Please spread the word to your Chapel Hill North neighbours, family, and friends.

The FVTWG and CHNCA are seeking comments from residents on the report and the 3 Options outlined in Chapter 3. Please submit your comments on the report in writing to by November 30 2018. The Board and the FVTWG both have access to this account and will summarize the feedback and report back to residents.  

The CHNCA would like to thank all the members of the FVTWG (past and present) for their hard work and dedication to this project.

Email or Facebook (@chapelhillnorth.orleans) or Twitter (@chapelhillnorth).

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**Update September 2017**
At our last CHNCA meeting, a petition signed by 630+ residents opposing the OMBA Proposal for the maintenance of the Forest Valley Trails was presented to the Board.
The Board expressed some concerns with the process of this petition (in terms of the accuracy and completeness of the information given to residents, and that the majority of residents did not read the proposal prior to signing). Nevertheless, these residents were expressing their concerns with having a mountain bike-specific group involved with the trails, and so the Board accepted the spirit of the petition and the Councillor's decision to reject the OMBA Proposal.
What this means for the Forest Valley Trails:
1) Mountain bikes will continue to be allowed on the trails.
2) The trails still need to be maintained. In areas where there is no clear indication where the main trail is (or where fallen trees have blocked the trail), users have begun creating their own routes. This is leading to a proliferation of pathways, which over time makes the network difficult to navigate, not to mention devastating to the health of the forest floor/environmentally sensitive areas.
3) The Forest Valley Trails Working Group that was formed in June will continue working with the City, NCC, and other environmental groups on developing options for trail maintenance. They will present their recommendations to the CHNCA Board at a later date.
Thank you to all the residents who came to the meeting for a respectful discussion of this issue.


The Forest Valley Trails is a small network of informal multi-use trails (hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing etc.) located on City of Ottawa and National Capital Commission conservation land in the east branch of Voyager Creek Valley. The trails on City of Ottawa land have existed for many years and have been built and maintained on an ad hoc basis without the support of the City of Ottawa. 

In January 2017, the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) approached the City with a proposal to enter into an agreement to undertake maintenance and improvements to the trail network. The relationship would be similar to an existing partnership between OMBA and the City of Ottawa for the maintenance of a much larger network of trails in the South March Highlands in Kanata. The City is interested in pursuing this opportunity but before doing so is seeking input from the community. 

A public meeting was held in May 2017 to present the proposal to residents and obtain their feedback.

Notes from the May 17 Public Meeting: