General News

Happy hiking in Happy Valley Forest

April 11, 2018   ·   0 Comments

One of the largest remaining intact forests on the Oak Ridges Moraine, King’s Happy Valley Forest, is a hidden gem home to more than 110 breeding birds, many amphibians and flowering plants.
Since 2001, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected and helped care for almost 800 acres of this important natural area. Their goal is to ensure that in the next 50 to 100 years that Happy Valley will grow into an old-growth forest, continue to be an important carbon storage area, and provide locals with a place they can visit to experience the joy of nature.
To accomplish this, NCC needs a boost. They rely on generous donors, supporters, dedicated volunteers and the help of the community to look after Happy Valley Forest.
With a growing GTA population and an increased interest in nature-based recreation, it’s important that this special place is used responsibly so that both wildlife and humans can enjoy the forest for generations to come.
In 2016, NCC embarked on a new project to create a visitor management plan. They hired a consultant to look at how and where the community is using the forest. This information helped them to better understand how to balance recreational use of the area and biodiversity conservation. These findings formed the foundation for NCC’s draft visitor management strategy, which will continue to be developed and refined to help them with their land use decisions.
Starting this year, NCC will begin to implement this visitor management plan by creating a formal trail system that takes into consideration both recreation and nature.
Visitors can expect the following changes and improvements:
• Improving trail linkages so that trails avoid trespassing on private land.
• Trail closures for dead end trails and those that lead to neighbouring private lands.
• Better signage to ensure good trail etiquette and appropriate trail use.
• Improved wayfinding, including trail maps and blazes.
These changes will help NCC better manage the trails and ensure visitor safety in Happy Valley Forest.
Some of the work mentioned here will begin shortly and will continue for the next two to three years.
A friendly reminder that NCC encourages respectful use of the trails. This includes staying on the trail to minimize the spread of invasive species, keeping pets on leashes, not littering, and not collecting any plants, fungi or wildlife whatsoever.
NCC would like to thank the community for its patience and support as they implement the new and improved trail system for Happy Valley Forest.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jenna Siu at 905-359-0956 or Jenna.Siu@natureconservancy.ca

         

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