York Regional Forest to expand by 142 hectares

At 2,400 hectares of protected land, York Regional Forest is a big draw to locals and tourists alike and it’s about to get even bigger.

York Region has acquired 142 hectares of land at McCowan Road and Queensville Sideroad in the Town of East Gwillimbury through the Regional Greening Strategy. About 82 of those hectares will be reforested and the Region expects the property will be ready for public use within the next few years.

Located within the Natural Heritage system of the Greenbelt Plan, the property contains a portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine Natural Core area, which is part of the Regional Greenlands System.

“This land acquisition works to advance our woodland cover while enhancing and preserving our greenspace and fighting climate change impacts,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “Residents can look forward to increased access to green space, expanded existing trail systems and connecting to nature.”

Purchase of the property was funded through existing Land Securement Reserve funds, established in 2001 as part of the Greening Strategy. Infrastructure Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund will pick up 40 per cent of the cost of purchasing and reforesting the property.

“The purchase of this land will have a priceless impact on protecting significant woodlands and wildlife habitat,” says City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of Environmental Services. “Expanding the York Regional Forest helps grow our legacy as a leader in environmental education, stewardship and sustainability.”

The pine trees in the forest were planted between 1920 and 1960 by provincial and county governments to help restore cleared, eroded and sandy farmlands into healthy soil and shade areas welcoming to native trees and plants. The York Regional Forest is the first public forest in Canada to be Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

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Photo: York Regional Forest is a big draw to locals and tourists alike.

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