September 23, 2010

The Regional Municipality of York renews environmental certification for York Regional Forest

Forest Stewardship Council recognition reaffirms forest as sustainably-managed
NEWMARKET: "The Regional Municipality of York has reaffirmed its status as an environmental leader in forestry with a five-year recertification of the York Regional Forest as well-managed and sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.  The York Regional Forest was the first publically-owned forest to be certified as sustainable in Canada in 2000, a designation that has now been renewed twice.
 
“York Region is an environmental champion that continues to lead by example in the management of our forests,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “By consistently meeting the stringent criteria set out by the Forest Stewardship Council to be designated as sustainable, the York Regional Forest is an example of good governance and how a balanced approach to using forest resources can leave a lasting impact for generations.”
 
To become certified, the management and operation of the York Regional Forest is subject to a rigorous independent third-part audit, guided by 10 key principles that include reducing environmental impacts, ongoing forest maintenance, compliance with all applicable laws and a comprehensive and updated forest management plan.  To maintain certification, the forest is audited annually and re-assessed every five years.
 
In March, members of the Rainforest Alliance ??" the Forest Stewardship Council certifier ??" completed an intensive audit of the York Regional Forest that included a two-day field inspection and interviews with various forest stakeholders.  Following their assessment, the York Regional Forest was recommended for recertification to 2015.
 
“The York Regional Forest is one of the most significant natural resources in our community, providing an abundance of health and leisure benefits to our residents,” said Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services Committee.  “Ensuring that this valuable feature is properly maintained is extremely important if we are to preserve a lasting natural legacy for our region.”
 
The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.  Forest Stewardship Council certification is recognized internationally as the “gold standard” for forest management.
 
The York Regional Forest is comprised of more than 2,200 hectares (5,500 acres) of publicly-owned property in 20 forest tracts.  It is home to 120 kilometres of trails, for activities such as hiking and snowshoeing, including a new accessible trail in the Hollidge Tract in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
                      Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 1232 / Cell: 905 251-6419
                      Email: michael.kemp@york.ca

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