Natural Spaces Program Protects Heritage Land in Grey County



    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - Today, The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander,
Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust, Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural
Resources, and Aileen Carroll, Minister of Culture, announced a property
acquisition in Grey County through Ontario's Natural Spaces Program.
    "This acquisition, made in partnership with The Bruce Trail Conservancy,
brings us a step closer to the dream of securing the Bruce Trail," said Mr.
Alexander. "A significant section of the trail is now secured on public lands
through this part of the Beaver Valley."
    The acquired land - the McKay property - is located on the western slope
of the Beaver Valley, northwest of the village of Kimberley. The landscape is
comprised of the Niagara Escarpment cliff edge with a Sugar Maple and American
Beech forested slope. The property is just over 8 hectares (20 acres) in size
and contains 152 metres of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail.
    "Through the Natural Spaces Program, conservation organizations and
landowners are helping to protect environmentally significant natural areas,"
said Minister Cansfield. "Working together with these partners, we are
preserving and restoring a healthy and diverse system of natural spaces across
southern Ontario."
    The Natural Spaces Program helps contribute to the protection and
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.
    "Protecting Ontario's natural heritage lands contributes to a healthy
environment and improves our quality of life," said Minister Carroll. "Through
the Natural Spaces Program, the McGuinty government is helping to preserve our
natural and cultural legacy for the benefit and enjoyment of Ontarians today
and in the future."
    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
(NSLASP). Under the program, the Trust approved applications from conservation
partners to acquire 1,566 hectares (3,870 acres) of land across southern
Ontario, with a total property value of approximately $9.6 million.
    Half of the funds required to purchase the McKay property in Grey County
were provided through NSLASP; The Bruce Trail Conservancy contributed the
other half, with contributions from its donors and supporters.
    "Securing the McKay property means that an additional 8 hectares of the
Niagara Escarpment's natural landscape is now protected forever," said Beth
Kummling, Executive Director of The Bruce Trail Conservancy. "The acquisition
of this property adds to a growing area of protected public lands along the
western edge of the Beaver Valley, securing an 8 km continuous stretch of the
Bruce Trail."

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

    
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For further information:

For further information: Catrina Colme, Marketing and Communications
Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust, Telephone: (416) 325-5074, E-mail:
catrina.colme@heritagetrust.on.ca


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