Natural Spaces Program Protects Heritage Lands in Grey County



    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - 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.

    Aussi disponible en français.





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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