Public sex angers users of south Ottawa forest trails

A group of residents who often walk the Pine Grove and Pinehy forest trails say more people are using the area for public sex, which some people say they have seen first-hand.
Pine Grove Forest trails are a common spot for gay men to have sex, residents say, but it is becoming more common and visible. (CBC)

A group of residents who often walk the Pinhey forest trails say more people are using the area for public sex, which some people say they have seen first-hand.

A parking area and an adjacent trail through the forest is a popular area for dog walkers and families to visit for a hike, but the Glens Community Association said it is also a well-known area for gay men to have sex.

Residents now say the practice is more visible and there has been a "slow and pervasive change" in the type of users along the paths, according to the community association president.

The trails in Pine Grove Forest have not been a safe place for families, according to its user and the local community association. (CBC)

"We're not prudes. We are happy they are using safe sex but at the same time, please clean up after yourself," said Agnes Warda.

Warda said residents have complained to her and her colleagues about finding used condoms along paths.

Tracy Armstrong and Chris Robertson said they saw more than a used condom when walking the trails one afternoon with their dog.

They came upon two men having sexual intercourse near the forest's western edge.

"We noticed some activity in the woods and, honestly, my first reaction was, 'Oh, is that a deer?'" Armstong said.

"Then I yelled and they said they lost something, and they started pulling up their pants and running away."

Land owned, operated by NCC

The couple added they are considering avoiding the trails altogether.

The president of the community association knows the history of the Pine Grove Forest, but she said it is no longer comfortable for people to walk the trails alone. (CBC)

The councillor for the area, Keith Egli, said it is not the city's land so he deferred the problem to Ottawa police and the National Capital Commission, which owns the land.

Egli did say he notified the community policing officers and the area's MP, Pierre Poilievre, about the community association's concerns.

"There's a concern there, making people aware that people have to behave appropriately in public," he said.

"Enforcement is the last resort that we can take, but hopefully we can resolve this with co-operation and education."

Police have met with the NCC and they have increased the frequency of patrols in the area, Egli added.