Rouge National Urban Park is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors for all seasons! Keep these hazards in mind while planning your trip to the park, familiarize yourself with the location you are visiting, and check the weather before you leave. For more information on how to be prepared, checkout AdventureSmart and know before you go!

Summer

Looks like a gorgeous day for a hike, but just as we bundle up for the winter, we must prepare for the hot days too.

Ticks

Ticks do live in the Rouge Valley, and some can carry Lyme disease. Here's what you need to know to be tick aware and stay safe while enjoying the park.

Extreme heat

It is important to stay safe during extreme temperatures. Avoid exercising intensely if it is very hot or humid outside, and head for cooler conditions if your body becomes overheated. If you are outdoors, drink plenty of liquids and take frequent rest breaks. Be sure to maintain salt levels in your body and avoid high-protein foods. Also ensure that pets are protected from the heat and have plenty of water to drink. Watch for signs of serious medical conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Watch for early symptoms of dehydration including decreased coordination, lethargy, and impaired thinking. Dehydration can quickly lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and in extreme cases, heat stroke.

If you feel symptoms of dehydration or heat cramps, replenish lost fluids and electrolytes through eating salty foods and drinking water. If you feel symptoms of heat exhaustion, drink plenty of fluids and cool your core. For severe cases, including heat stroke, treat as for heat exhaustion and immediately seek emergency medical attention.

Severe thunderstorm

The first and most important thing to remember is that if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Take shelter immediately. If you cannot find a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing, get into a metal-roofed vehicle. Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

If you are in your car during lightning, do not park under tall objects that could topple, and do not get out if there are downed power lines nearby.

If you are caught outside, don’t stand near tall objects or anything made of metal, and avoid open water. Take shelter in a low lying area.

If caught on the water in a canoe or kayak, or swimming, during thunder and lightning, quickly get to shore.

Remember, there is no safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm. Once in a safe location, remain there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard before resuming your outdoor activities.

Wind storm damage

Once a storm has passed, it’s important to consider damage that may have been left behind. We’ll do our best to remove hazard trees and branches, and we’ll close unsafe areas, but be aware of anything that may be dangling from above.

Water purification

Though the rivers and creeks in the park may seem clean, clear and potable, don’t take any chances. Many surface waters can contain parasites that can quickly cause diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting if ingested. Think before you drink! Always purify any water that you have not packed-in yourself.

Please Note: There is no drinking water available in the Park. Please ensure you carry enough water with you to stay properly hydrated.

Winter

Winter presents special hazards. Plan ahead and be prepared for a winter visit to Rouge National Urban Park. Exercise caution and be careful, especially near water.

Extreme cold

Wind chill and cold temperatures can be hazardous, and can cause exposed skin to freeze very rapidly, leading to frostbite. Extremely cold conditions can also cause hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition. Protect yourself by taking steps to stay warm during your time outdoors.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature resulting from exposure to cold temperatures but can occur at even cool temperatures if you are chilled from rain, sweat or immersion in cold water. Dress properly – in warm layers and with waterproof clothing - to prevent hypothermia. Watch for symptoms including shivering, confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness, low energy.

If you feel symptoms of hypothermia immediately get indoors and into warm, dry clothing. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and drink a warm beverage (not alcohol or hot coffee). Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Ice

Icy trails are a hazard in the park, we recommend sturdy footwear if you’re venturing out. Footwear traction devices that attach to your boots will give you a little extra grip. However, if you know it’s going to be very icy, save your walk for another day.

Driving can also be dangerous in icy conditions. Be mindful of ice coated utility lines or poles that can possibly be brought down due to the excess weight of the ice.

Please Note: Many trails have steep sections and steps. Trail conditions vary with weather; icy or wet sections will be slippery and require extra caution. There is no winter maintenance on trails in Rouge National Urban Park.