Ontario Protects New Park And Conservation Reserves



    McGuinty Government Adds Rare Habitat To Protected Areas

    TORONTO, July 12 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    A new provincial park and two new conservation reserves that harbour rare
habitat and species at risk have been added to Ontario's system of parks and
protected areas.

    
    -   The St. Williams Conservation Reserve lies southwest of the Town of
        Simcoe in southern Ontario. It includes oak savannah habitat, one of
        the most threatened habitats in North America, where species such as
        the rare wild lupine and the eastern hog-nosed snake are found.
    -   The Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve in the Township of
        St. Clair near Sarnia protects the largest upland/lowland forest in
        Ontario on a plain of heavy clay soil known as the St. Clair Clay
        Plain and includes the only stand of swamp cottonwood trees known in
        Canada.
    -   Goose Island Provincial Park on Goose Island in Rainy Lake northeast
        of Fort Frances provides habitat for the bald eagle, an endangered
        species.
    

    The St. Williams land was formerly part of a provincial tree nursery
known as the St. Williams Forest Station, now owned by ForestCare Corp, which
is co-hosting celebrations today to mark the 100th anniversary of the forest
station with the Port Rowan/South Walsingham Heritage Association and the St.
Williams Interpretive Centre.

    QUOTES

    "Expanding our parks and protected areas plays a pivotal role in
conserving the biodiversity that makes our province truly unique," said
Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield.
(http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/About/2ColumnSubPage/226953.html)

    "We are delighted to help host a celebration of the St. Williams Forest
Station," said Jim Asselstine, Managing Director of ForestCare Corp. "We
recognize the importance of the station to people in this community and its
historical and continuing economic role in the County."

    "The dynamic partnership the Nature Conservancy of Canada shares with the
Government of Ontario has delivered and continues to deliver the long-term
conservation of many of the province's unique natural treasures," said Donna
Stewart, Nature Conservancy of Canada's
(http://www.natureconservancy.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=ncc_main) Regional
Vice President, Ontario.

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Ontario's system of parks and protected areas includes 330 provincial
        parks and 294 conservation reserves.
    -   The St. Williams Forest Station in Norfolk County, the first tree
        nursery in Canada, was established by the province in 1908 to grow
        seedlings to reforest southern Ontario after deforestation by
        settlers led to drought, erosion, windstorms and floods.
    -   Minor adjustments to the boundaries of 12 existing parks and
        conservation reserves will add another 202 hectares to the parks and
        protected areas system, which currently totals 9.4 million hectares.

    LEARN MORE

    -   Read more about the three new protected areas.
    -   Find out more about Species At Risk
        (http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/index.html) in Ontario
        (ontario.ca/speciesatrisk)

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                NEW PROVINCIAL PARK AND CONSERVATION RESERVES

    St. Williams Conservation Reserve

    -   The St. Williams Conservation Reserve protects 1,000 hectares of land
        that was formerly part of the St. Williams Forest Station. Both the
        Nursery tract and the Turkey Point tract lie southwest of the Town of
        Simcoe in Norfolk County in southwestern Ontario.
    -   The conservation reserve includes oak savannah habitat, part of the
        deciduous forest zone found in the southernmost parts of Ontario. The
        deciduous forest zone, also known as the Carolinian zone, includes
        species found further north, such as maple, as well as species
        commonly found in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North and South Carolina,
        such as magnolia and sassafras.
    -   Because this zone is heavily populated in both Ontario and the
        American states to the south, the deciduous forest is one of the most
        threatened habitats in North America.
    -   Regulation of the St. Williams land coincides with celebrations to
        mark the 100th anniversary of the St. Williams Forest Station. The
        forest station was established by the province in 1908 to grow
        seedlings to reforest southern Ontario after deforestation by
        settlers led to drought, erosion, windstorms and floods. It was the
        first tree nursery in Canada.
    -   The property is designated as a conservation reserve to protect its
        special features while allowing recreational use.

    Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve

    -   The Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve is a 308-hectare property
        in the Township of St. Clair in the central part of Lambton County
        near Sarnia.
    -   It protects the largest upland/lowland forest on a plain of heavy
        clay soil known as the St. Clair Clay Plain and contains the only
        stand of swamp cottonwood trees known in Canada. The forest includes
        scattered pockets of wetlands.
    -   The Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve is in the deciduous
        forest zone.
    -   The property was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with
        funds from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Rural Lambton
        Stewardship Network and the Sydenham Field Naturalists. The title was
        transferred to the Ministry shortly after the acquisition.
    -   The property is designated as a conservation reserve to protect its
        special features while allowing recreational use for day users.

    Goose Island Provincial Park

    -   Goose Island Provincial Park protects 75 hectares of land on Goose
        Island in Rainy Lake northeast of Fort Frances.
    -   The land was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with help
        from the local Rainy Lake community and with financial support from
        the Ministry of Natural Resources for the purpose of creating a
        provincial park.
    -   The park provides habitat for the bald eagle, an endangered species.
    -   Also in the park are a significant stand of black ash trees, the
        northern pin oak, which is rare in Ontario, and important wetlands.
    -   The park is designated as a nature reserve park to protect the
        species and habitat it contains, while allowing low-intensity day use
        such as hiking and bird-watching.

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    Bruce van Staalduinen, Ontario         ontario.ca/natural-resources-news
    Parks, (705) 755-1742                             Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: David Bauer, Minister's Office, (416) 314-2212;
Jolanta Kowalski, Communications Services Branch, (416) 314-2106

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