The York Regional Forest you know and love has flourished for 100 years. This milestone demonstrates York Region’s strong commitment to protecting and restoring the natural environment and providing access to greenspace for residents.
The York Regional Forest was established in 1924 with the purchase and reforestation of the Hollidge Tract. At the time, there was growing concern over wide-scale deforestation across Southern Ontario, which resulted in sandy wastelands unsuitable for farming.
By the late 1940s, the benefits of reforestation efforts could be seen. The barren lands once again became healthy forests providing homes for wildlife and wood for the forest industry. Reforestation prevented soil erosion, conserved water resources and provided opportunities for recreational use by the public.
After a century of restoration efforts, and now guided by the Our Nature: Management Plan for the York Regional Forest, today’s forest is over 2,500 hectares and is made up of 24 forest tracts located in different parts of the region. It is increasingly biodiverse with a rich mix of over 50 different tree species and is home to a wide variety of native wildlife.
With more than 150 kilometres of scenic trails in 22 public forest tracts, including almost seven kilometres accessible to wheelchairs, strollers and other assistive devices, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Popular activities include hiking, dog walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, nature appreciation and educational programming. From the tranquil Hollidge tract to the vibrant North, Hall and Nobleton tracts, visitors are welcome, free of charge, every day of the year.
To commemorate this centennial anniversary, York Region has organized a year-long celebration packed with activities and events for people of all backgrounds and ages. Together, we can honour the splendour of nature and celebrate a legacy of conservation and our shared commitment to preserving the forest for generations to come.
“The 100-year celebration of the York Regional Forest is more than just marking the starting point; it’s a reflection of York Region’s century-long journey of collaborative environmental stewardship,” said James Lane, manager of Natural Heritage and Forestry, York Region. “We look forward to sharing nature’s splendour with you and celebrating the great benefits the forest has to offer.”
Free activities and events to celebrate the 100th-anniversary milestone and raise awareness of the history and ecological significance of the York Regional Forest include:
- Guided Forest walks and events every month with forestry experts.
- Historical exhibits and displays at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum, Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre and York Region Administrative Centre.
- An Adventure Challenge to visit and learn about York Regional Forest tracts.
- A photo contest where you can snap and share your favourite photos taken at any York Regional Forest tract and also participate for a chance to win monthly prizes.
- Community tree planting to help increase forest cover and combat climate change.
Indigenous history, culture and language have been integrated into elements of the celebration with support and input from Indigenous partners and community members.
Learn more about the York Regional Forest’s 100th anniversary at york.ca/Forest100.
Photo: The York Regional Forest has flourished for 100 years and York Region has organized a year-long celebration packed with activities and events for people of all backgrounds and ages.