The majority of the large variety of recreational activities occurring within Limerick Forest is associated with its many trails and roads. The "mapped" trail network within Limerick Forest consists of approximately 180 km of trails ranging in size from "single track" to emergency access roads suitable for full-sized vehicles. In addition, approximately 30 km of "groomed" snowmobile trails are maintained by the Leeds & Grenville Snowmobile Association. A number of information kiosks have been installed at various locations throughout Limerick Forest. Mosaics of air photos and trail maps, 911 locations, parking areas and public service announcements may be found on these kiosks.
The current "multi-use" philosophy in Limerick encourages flexibility, consideration and respect amongst all user groups. There are very few restrictions on activities occurring within the forest. They include no permanent structures (i.e., tree stands), no overnight camping (and camp fires), and no motorized vehicles on the hiking trails north of the Limerick Chalet. In addition, specific activities may be restricted where the safety of the public or the well-being of the forest is a concern (i.e., seasonal restrictions regarding the use of motorized vehicles on the trails during the spring season).
Recreational activities in Limerick Forest can be divided into two broad categories; motorized and non-motorized. Motorized activities include the use of dirt bikes, all terrain vehicles (ATV's) and snowmobiles. Non-motorized pursuits include mountain biking, cross country skiing, geocaching, horse-back riding, bird watching, hiking and hunting. It is the responsibility of each and every individual visiting Limerick Forest to ensure that they have met all of the legal requirements necessary to participate in their activity of choice. Please see the FAQ section for further details.
Although trail development and maintenance is the responsibility of the Counties, it should be noted that many of the trails in Limerick Forest today are the result of countless hours of hard work by volunteer members of various organizations including local motorcycle, mountain biking and ATV clubs. These volunteers also participate in trail maintenance activities on a regular basis throughout the year and the trail network would not be what it is today without their assistance.
The development of additional trails throughout Limerick Forest will eventually be necessary due to the increasing demands on the existing trail network. An assessment of the recreation/tourism potential for Limerick and any appropriate increased development to support those activities will be based on a comprehensive analysis of the current and anticipated demands on the forest by all potential user groups. Collection of quantitative data to support such an analysis will be a program priority.
The Limerick Forest Long Range Plan (LFLRP) identifies the significance of recreational activities in Limerick and the need to provide a "... wide range of quality recreational opportunities ..." listing the following strategies to achieve this goal:
- Identify and design a recreational trail system that will meet the needs of all current and potential users.
- Identify other (non-trail) type recreational opportunities (e.g. tobogganing, wildlife viewing, picnicking and camping).
- Prepare a code of conduct for trail and other recreational users.
- Continue to provide traditional recreational past practices such as hunting.
The Twenty Year Forest Management Plan (FMP) recognizes those strategies and has identified the following objectives to help attain the goal of providing a wide range of quality recreational opportunities.
- Maintain a diversity of forest cover types and stand structures to provide for a diversity of recreational uses.
- Ensure that timber management activities (e.g. harvest, renewal, and maintenance) are undertaken in a manner which eliminates or minimizes conflicts with other users of the forest.
- Ensure that recreational uses do not degrade or adversely affect the forest, its access roads and trails or other values.
- Promote the use of Limerick Forest as a public resource for forestry and natural environment education.
- Provide a safe environment for the public use of Limerick Forest.
- Maintain the road and trail network of Limerick Forest in sufficient condition for recreation use.
Strategies to accomplish the above are described in the FMP.