Nature Conservancy asking commuters to help save Happy Valley Forest

January 5, 2016   ·   0 Comments

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is appealing to the public to help them save the Happy Valley Forest in King – a forest familiar to commuters in the over 100,000 Highway 400 cars that drive through it every day.
The Happy Valley Forest helps remove air pollutants and particulate matter from the atmosphere, and its trees act as an enormous carbon sink sucking up CO2 from vehicles traveling through it on Highway 400. The average commuting car emits approximately 4.7 tonnes of in CO2 emissions every year.
NCC estimates that the trees in and around the Happy Valley Forest are currently storing more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2  and remove roughly 5,600 tonnes of CO2 from the surrounding atmosphere every year – the equivalent to the average emissions of approximately 1,190 cars. The Happy Valley Forest also helps remove carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur dioxides from the air, thus helping local citizens breathe easier.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada, a not-for-profit charity, has negotiated deals to acquire and preserve two crucial sites in the heart of the forest, and put in place plans to raise nearly $5 million to purchase and manage them. NCC will acquire these important lands in stages, but must have all funds raised or pledged by February 2016 to move forward with the acquisitions.
To date, nearly 50% of the funds have been donated or pledged. NCC invites Highway 400 commuters (and their friends and family) to think of offsetting their cars’ emissions by helping to conserve one of the last great natural spaces left in the GTA.
“Climate change and carbon emissions are global problems with local solutions. Forest conservation is one of the ways people can help – and today we are giving commuters a chance to directly contribute, by helping to protect the Happy Valley Forest,” said Mark Stabb, Central Ontario program director for the NCC. “This is our best – and possibly our only – opportunity to see these properties conserved for the benefit of nature and for all Canadians.”
“Tens of thousands of commuters drive through this forest every day, unaware that it is helping to offset the pollution caused by their vehicles. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has made conservation of the Happy Valley Forest a priority because of this ecological service and because of its remarkable biodiversity. It’s on the doorstep of Toronto, an area facing increasing pressures from all of us who live and work here. This is a true forest gem of the GTA, and it’s important that we set aside the best of the best for the sake of our kids and grandkids,” said James Duncan, regional vice-president, Ontario for NCC.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been working to conserve the forest over the past 15 years, and has helped assemble 629 acres (254 hectares) of protected land that is open to the public for low impact activities, such as hiking. The latest properties targeted for protection, known as Glen Echo and Deep Woods, total 145 acres (59 hectares) in the heart of the forest. Once acquired they will create protected corridors, forever linking several other properties that have already been conserved.
The Happy Valley Forest is home to 110 breeding bird species – including nationally significant species like Acadian flycatcher and cerulean warbler – as well as a magnificent array of salamanders, wildflowers, and small mammals.
The Happy Valley Forest also holds special cultural significance, given its association with the Toronto Carrying-place, a historic portage and travel route for First Nations peoples and early European settlers.
The Happy Valley Forest contains old-growth hardwood forest conditions at a scale that exists nowhere else on the western Oak Ridges Moraine or within the GTA.
The Happy Valley Forest contributes important ecological goods and services to King Township, and the greater Toronto area as a whole. The forest shelters the headwaters of streams that flow north into Lake Simcoe and south into Lake Ontario. It also provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and education for people wanting to connect with nature in a wilderness setting.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.7 million acres) coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 74,000 hectares (184,000 acres) in Ontario. For more information
To learn more about these projects or how to donate, contact Dana Kleniewski at 1-800-465-0029 ext. 2246 or email



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