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Ottawa’s Hidden Sand Dunes In Pinhey Forest

Hidden inside the 3.2km Pinhey Forest Trail are the Pinhey Dunes, an expanse of fine white sand created some 10,000 years ago.


Via @cheerscharlie



Historians say that this western section of Ottawa was formed after the retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet, and over time, a unique ecosystem was created. Only a few plants and organisms can surface on the dunes in the summer months, as surface temperatures can reach up to 70 degrees celcius.


Via @jenn_ottawa


Some 40 or 50 years ago, the dunes were not protected, and people could play and camp in the area. But over time, the dunes have began to dissappear. In 2011, the NCC partnered with Biodiversity Conservancy International (BCI) to preserve and further restore the dunes.


Today, the Pinhey Sand Dunes of Slack Road are open to the public as part of the Forest Trail. Many areas are restricted to protect the sensitive ecosystem of the area, but the dog-friendly mini hike through the red maple forest and serene sands are well worth a visit.



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