The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Forest Management

York Region Forestry actively manages 18 tracts of the York Regional Forest for recreational use. The York Regional Forest was established in the early 1900s when the first Red Pine plantations were installed to restore degraded and eroded farmland. Thinning and tending activities supported creation of the soil and shade conditions for native deciduous and coniferous species to grow within them. These plantations helped the full transformation of deforested land into the types of forests that grew in York Region before. York Region continues to acquire new lands for restoration and conservation through the Greening Strategy.

Discover the future of your forest


The final draft Forest Management Plan is ready for your review. See how your input has helped shape some of the proposed changes. Your feedback is very important to us so please take this last opportunity to review the plan and share your thoughts with us.

Comments can be accepted now until the end of day Friday, November 2, 2018.

How did your input influence the 20-year management plan for your forest?

We’ve had a lot of great discussions throughout the development of this plan. The consultation process began back in October 2017 and included feedback through various forms and from lots of people.

We engaged through:

  • A Technical Advisory Team
  • Key Stakeholder Groups Workshops
  • Conversations with avid users
  • Public Online Survey promoted throughout York online and in print
  • Three Public Open Houses in Newmarket, Georgina, and Whitchurch-Stouffville
  • Emails to AccessYork

Here’s a snap shot of how your feedback has been infused into the plan to date.

Public Consultation Summary: What We Heard & What We’re Doing

What We Heard
What We’re Doing
Education
  • Educate children on the importance of the Forest, how to protect and interact with the Forest
  • Educate children who will then educate their parents
  • Educate new and existing users about rules, history etc.
Goal 2 Action: Refine forest stewardship and education programs to convey the benefits of the York Regional Forest

Goal 3 Action: Develop a visitor experience plan to facilitate communications, connection with nature, education and stewardship
Dog Walking
  • Multiple views were heard for dog on leash and off leash
Goal 3 Action: Review dog walking practices to balance forest protection and visitor experience
Signage / Wayfinding
  • Multiple perspectives were shared for increased and improved signage while other users emphasized status quo for signage
Goal 3 Action: Develop a visitor experience plan to facilitate communications, connection with nature, education and stewardship

Goal 3 Action: Develop a trail strategy to guide management of trail infrastructure to support an exceptional visitor experience
Equestrian Use
  • Concerns regarding equestrian use in the York Regional Forest were raised
No changes are proposed to equestrian use as a permitted use in the York Regional Forest
Multi – Use
  • Strong support to maintain trails as multi-use
  • Others raised possibility of creating use specific trails for bicycles or other uses
At this time, the York Regional Forest will continue to remain as a multi-use forest.

The need for use specific trails will be periodically reviewed
E-Bikes
  • Concerns about pedal assisted bikes related to speed and conflicts with other users were raised
  • Benefits users who are unable to experience the Forest without mobility assistance
Unauthorized motorized vehicles are prohibited in the York Regional Forest. The use of various types of e-bikes will be assessed against this rule.


Please review the report and share with us:

    • What you like about the direction for the future management of the forest?
    • Do you have any suggestions to improve future management of the forest?
    • Are we missing anything?

View report now (pdf)

    Note: Please keep in mind the York Regional Forest provides a natural setting committed to ecological restoration and sustainable forest management, and provides opportunities for low impact recreation use for you and your friends.


    Forest Management Plan

    The 20 year forest management plan guides forest management activities in the York Regional Forest including tree planting, sustainable harvesting and tending.


    Regional Forest Advisory Team

    The Regional Forest Advisory Team was formed in 1994 to provide public input into managing the York Regional Forest. The team includes representatives from:

    • Ontario Trail Riders Association (Horseback riding)
    • Oak Ridges Trail Association (Hiking)
    • Durham Mountain Biking Association (Biking)
    • York Regional Forest Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club
    • Local naturalist clubs
    • Georgina Sportsman Alliance
    • Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    • Public Education (Nature’s Classroom)
    • York Regional Police
    • Local rate payer associations
    • Huronia Loggers Association

    The advisory team also hosts the annual Green Up Clean Up day, which unites volunteers to pick up garbage in and around the York Regional Forest.


    Forest Certification

    In 2000, the York Regional Forest obtained  Forest Stewardship Council of Canada® (FSC®) certification by the Rainforest Alliance. The York Regional Forest is the first public forest in Canada to be FSC-certified. To achieve certification, a forest must meet the FSC’s principles and criteria for responsible forest management, and it must be demonstrated that the forest is managed according to sound environmental, social and economic principles.




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