Significant Heritage Lands Protected Under Natural Spaces Program



    26 applications approved for second round of funding

    TORONTO, March 15 /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 the approval
of 26 funding applications to acquire significant natural heritage lands
through Ontario's Natural Spaces Program.
    "Ontario's natural heritage is rich and diverse," said Mr. Alexander. "We
must preserve and protect it, for all of us to enjoy now and for the benefit
of future generations. We are pleased that the Natural Spaces Program is
helping to conserve these lands and contribute to our natural heritage
legacy."
    The Natural Spaces Program provides tools and resources to help
landowners voluntarily contribute to the stewardship of Ontario's rich natural
heritage. As part of the 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.
    "This program is helping to preserve and restore a diverse system of
natural areas across southern Ontario," said Minister Ramsay. "We will
continue to work with landowners, First Nations and other partners to further
the protection and stewardship of natural spaces."
    The 26 approved applications were submitted by a range of partners,
including trail and field naturalist organizations, several conservation
authorities and one municipality. The proposed land acquisitions include over
750 hectares (nearly 1,900 acres) of provincially significant natural heritage
lands. The Trust's contribution to these proposed land acquisitions is
$2.5 million, which will be matched by the partners.
    "Conserving our natural heritage helps to build strong communities and
contributes to Ontarians' quality of life," said Minister Di Cocco.
"Greenspaces provide us with a rich variety of wildlife and places for healthy
recreation."
    The Natural Spaces 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. To date, applications approved under the Natural Spaces Land
Acquisition and Stewardship Program represent more than 1,500 hectares (over
3,800 acres) of provincially significant natural heritage lands across
southern Ontario, with a total property value of approximately $9.6 million.

    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.

    
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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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