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Natural Spaces Program Protects Heritage Lands in Grey County

Natural Spaces Program Protects Heritage Lands in Grey County
June 2007

TORONTO - Today, The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust, David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources, and Caroline Di Cocco, Minister of Culture, announced two property acquisitions in Grey County under Ontario's Natural Spaces Program. The properties - located near Flesherton and in Meaford - were acquired in partnership with the Bruce Trail Association and will help secure the optimum route of the Bruce Trail.

"The Trust is pleased to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and conservation partners, such as the Bruce Trail Association, to protect Ontario's natural heritage," said Mr. Alexander. "Together, we are striving to preserve our natural heritage for the benefit of all Ontarians."

The Fawcett property, located on the western slope of the Beaver Valley, northeast of Flesherton, is 36.6 hectares (90.5 acres) and contains 650 metres of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail. It is comprised of fields, a small wetland area and escarpment slope. The Grey Holdings property is situated next to the Walters Falls Conservation Area in Meaford. It is 13.8 hectares (34.2 acres) and contains 25 metres of optimum route of the Bruce Trail. The property is traversed by Walters Creek, a significant fisheries habitat, flowing northerly into the Bighead River. With these two acquisitions, the Ontario Heritage Trust holds title to a total of 106 properties along the Bruce Trail, representing 1,682 hectares (4,157 acres).

"The Natural Spaces Program is helping to reduce the loss of greenspace and preserve a diverse system of natural areas across southern Ontario," said Minister Ramsay. "It will contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment, improve air and water quality, and protect important natural features and significant wildlife habitats."

The Natural Spaces Program helps landowners voluntarily contribute to the stewardship of Ontario's rich natural heritage. The program covers all of southern Ontario below the Canadian Shield. While 90 per cent of the land in this area is privately owned, it also harbours the province's greatest diversity of plants and animals.

"Ontario's natural landscapes are rich and diverse, supporting a variety of wildlife and providing places for healthy recreation," said Minister Di Cocco. "I'm delighted that we are able to work with landowners and other partners to protect the province's natural heritage for everyone to enjoy."

As part of the Natural Spaces Program, the Ministry of Natural Resources granted $6 million to the Ontario Heritage Trust to acquire and secure significant natural heritage properties. The Trust used the funding to establish the Natural Spaces Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program. Under this program, the Trust has approved 47 applications submitted by conservation partners, representing 1,566 hectares (3,870 acres) of land across southern Ontario, with a total property value of approximately $9.6 million. The property acquisitions in Grey County are the first to be finalized under the program. The Bruce Trail Association contributed half of the funds required to purchase the properties, with donations from its members and other supporters.

The Ontario Heritage Trust - the province's lead heritage agency - is dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's built, cultural and natural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

Catrina Colme
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Ontario Heritage Trust
Telephone: 416-325-5074