The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Forest

The York Regional Forest is open to the public 365 days per year with no cost to enter. The York Regional Forest is made up of 2,300 hectares of protected land, located in different parts of the Region. Eighteen properties with more than 120 kilometres of trail are available to the public.


Visiting the Forest

Use York Regional Forest for:

  • Walking/hiking
  • Dog walking
  • Bird watching
  • Horseback riding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Mountain biking

Find trail maps and more information about the forest in the Everyday Guide to the York Regional Forest.

Precautions

Carpooling is strongly recommended due to limited parking. 

Wearing insect repellent, closed-toed footwear, light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants, tucked into your socks is strongly recommended.

To help protect the forest, please do not:

  • Light fires
  • Litter
  • Camp overnight
  • Smoke
  • Drive unauthorized vehicles
  • Cut or remove trees, plants, fungi or other wildlife
  • Bait wildlife (i.e.: for the purpose of hunting or taking photos)

Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold, such as frostbite and hypothermia. Learn about extreme cold and how to keep yourself and your family safe.  

Extreme heat can be a serious health threat. Learn about extreme heat and how to keep yourself and your family cool on hot and humid days. 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is a native plant commonly found in the York Regional Forest. In humans, poison ivy is known to cause skin rashes, severe itching and irritation to people who come into contact with it. In severe cases, swelling, blistering and discharge may occur. Symptoms develop within 24 to 48 hours of exposure.

Poison Ivy provides food and shelter to small animals and birds living in the forest.

Identifying poison ivy features include:

  • Three almond-shaped leaflets
  • Leaflets have pointed tips, with the middle leaf being the longest
  • Leaflets are green in colour, turning darker as they mature and red in the autumn
  • Berries tend to be white or cream-coloured

Cost

All York Regional Forest services and events are provided at no cost.


Accessible Trail

York Region maintains three trails accessible to wheelchairs and other assistive devices in the York Regional Forest. 

  • Hollidge Tract at 16389 Highway 48 (North of Aurora Road)
  • North Tract at 17054 Highway 48 (South of Davis Drive)
  • Hall Tract at 15681 McCowan Road (North of Aurora Road)

The Accessible Trails have been widened, cleared of obstructions and graded to ensure ease-of-movement for all visitors.

Each trail ranges between one to two kilometre loops that pass through a variety of landscapes.

Accessible parking is available.


Forest Walks and Events

Experience the beauty of the York Regional Forest at our monthly guided events.

Events and activities include:

  • Geocaching, tree planting and snowshoe strolls
  • Walks with naturalists to identify the local plants and animals
  • Holiday themed events for the whole family

For locations and dates, please see our events calendar. Registration opens one month before each event.

Events are held rain or shine.

Eligibility

Children 16 years old or under must be accompanied by an adult.

Nature’s Classroom Program

Nature’s Classroom is a fun and informative outdoor education program offered to a wide variety of groups and organizations including clubs, community groups, large families and schools.

Held in the York Regional Forest, these educational sessions are designed to teach participants about the forest ecosystem and its importance to our community. Each session includes a guided forest hike.

For more information, please visit york.ca/outdooreducation.


Hunting

In accordance with federal and provincial legislation and local municipal discharge of firearms bylaws, hunting is permitted in three specific areas within York Regional Forest Tracts located in Georgina.

Hunting is prohibited in all other York Regional Forest Tracts.

York Region does not permit the use of hunting stands or baiting of wildlife.

For more information about hunting see the Town of Georgina’s “No Discharge of Firearms” bylaw.

Contact the Town of Georgina’s bylaw department at 905-476-4301 to confirm areas where the use of firearms (including bows) is permitted.

Visit the Ministry of Natural Resources for more information about hunting in Ontario.


Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre

The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre is located in the Hollidge Tract in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. It features a classroom and a boardroom which are used for many York Region programs such as guided forest walks and Nature’s Classroom.

Facility Benefits

As the first of its kind in Ontario, the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards and join only eight other buildings world-wide in successfully meeting Living Building Challenge requirements. The Living Building Challenge is a program of the International Living Future Institute and is comprised of seven performance areas; site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty.

Some of the innovative features of the building include:

  • All wood construction including cross laminated timbers
  • All wood used in the building is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified
  • Through the use of solar panels, LED light fixtures, heat pumps, radiant heating and triple glazed windows, the building will not only generate more energy than it uses, it will be carbon negative
  • The building’s canopy gathers rain water and snow melt to service bathroom facilities
  • All of the water used comes from the site and stays on the site, resulting in net-zero water use
  • Much of the building materials were sourced from local manufacturers to reduce carbon emissions


Forest Tract Locations

East Gwillimbury

Bendor and Graves Tract
17689 Kennedy Road
Town of East Gwillimbury

Or

17858 McCowan Road
Town of East Gwillimbury

Directions:
Turn north from Davis Drive onto Kennedy Road.
Forest tract entrance is at the dead-end of Kennedy Road.

Brownhill Tract
4389 Ravenshoe Road
Town of East Gwillimbury

Or

22612 McCowan Road
Town of East Gwillimbury

Zephyr Tract
Parking Lot Address: 5748 Holborn Road
Legal Address: 21325 Highway 48
Town of East Gwillimbury

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Georgina

Cronsberry Tract
9526 Old Homestead Road
Town of Georgina

Metro Road Tract
1763 Metro Road North
Town of Georgina

Pefferlaw Tract
24408 Lake Ridge Road
Town of Georgina

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

King

Happy Valley Forest Tract
15430 7th Concession
Township of King

Directions:
In Pottageville, turn south from Lloydtown-Aurora Road onto 7th Concession, drive for 2.4 km.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Whitchurch-Stouffville

Clarke Tract
15015 McCowan Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Dainty Tract
15182 McCowan Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Eldred King Tract
16232 Highway 48
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Hall Tract
15681 McCowan Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Hollidge Tract
Accessible trail
16389 Highway 48
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Mitchell Tract
4677 Vivian Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

North Tract
17054 Highway 48
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Patterson Tract
15461 McCowan Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Porritt Tract
15470 Kennedy Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Robinson Tract
14989 Warden Avenue
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Scout Tract
16578 McCowan Road
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

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  • Environmental Services

  • 1-877-464-9675

  • Administrative Centre

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    Accessible formats or communication supports are available upon request

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