April 22, 2005

York Regional Forest expands with new tree planting in Hall Tract

NEWMARKET – Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Sue Sherban and representatives from York Region and the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF) joined 300 students from Ballantrae Public School today to plant trees on the newest addition to the York Regional Forest.
Planting took place on the extended Hall Tract of the York Regional Forest, a 25 hectare (60 acre) property purchased in Whitchurch-Stouffville last year.  The property is on the environmentally-sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, and has a conservation easement to ensure its environmental protection in perpetuity.
“When we purchased this property, it was with the full intention that we would rehabilitate it and bring it back to its natural state,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “I’m very pleased to see that with the assistance of our partners in the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, and with the participation of the local children from Whitchurch-Stouffville today, the process to restore this beautiful property is now underway.”
“When we came out to the property last year to celebrate the conservation easement, I was very excited to see the naturalization process get underway,” added Mayor Sue Sherban.  “Today we have the next generation of Whitchurch-Stouffville out securing a green legacy for their community and for York Region.”
Shortly after the easement was placed on the property in 2004, York Region partnered with the ORMF to share costs in acquiring the property.  York Region paid two-thirds of the cost, with the ORMF paying one-third.  With its proximity to the existing Hall and Patterson Tracts of the York Regional Forest, it was an ideal candidate for acquisition.
“I’m very pleased to see everyone out today helping to restore this property to its full, natural state,” said Michael Scott, Executive Director of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation.  “When we partnered with York Region to purchase this property last year, we recognized a tremendous opportunity to not only protect one of York Region’s natural treasures, but to bring out its full environmental potential.”
The securement and rehabilitation of the new extension of the Hall Tract was one of many successful initiatives that York Region has undertaken in the past few years to help expand green spaces as part of its Greening Strategy and Official Plan.  The Greening Strategy calls for an expansion of forest cover to 25 per cent.
The York Regional Forest was the first certified sustainable, publicly-managed forest in Canada; and one of the largest.  The forest was recently recertified by SmartWood and the Rainforest Alliance this year.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Media Contact:   Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232
- Email: michael.kemp@york.ca


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