Time to Celebrate: 21 New Rivers Added to Ontario’s Greenbelt!

PLEASE JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 21 NEW RIVERS ADDED TO ONTARIO’S GREENBELT…                                                                                                                     THEN                                                                                                                                                       …HIKE THE ENDANGERED LOCKHART DRIVE OLD GROWTH FOREST WITH US!Good News! Urban River Valleys are now protected by our GreenbeltThe borders of our world famous Ontario Greenbelt were firmly fixed for its first decade, from 2005 to 2015, then reopened for provincial review and possible revision.  It has proven to be a huge asset to the province and to the millions of urbanites living in the GTA but it remains, inevitably, under extreme pressure from its proximity to crowded cities and rapid population growth. Can the Greenbelt be better protected and enhanced for the coming decade?Good news – it’s now time to celebrate one major step in that direction!  With the intent of making the Greenbelt into a more complete and self-sustaining ecosystem, while giving southern Ontario communities a greater share in its benefits and opportunities, the province has assigned the public lands of 21 new urban rivers, their valleys and wetlands, (collectively termed Urban River Valleys or URVs) to the Greenbelt.  With headwaters in the Greenbelt, streams flowing through our home communities, and mouths emptying into the Great Lakes, these are protected corridors for the benefit of wildlife and people alike.  The possibilities are endless!  Do you know which one is your urban river? What would you like to see done with it? Come learn more about these rivers at our two upcoming tabling events: 1. Grow Green Eco Pledge:When: Saturday October 7th, 2017; from 9am to 1pmWhere: Ken Whillans Square; 2 Wellington St. W., Brampton Ontario2. Massey Woodland Fall Celebration:When: Saturday October 14th, 2017; from 11am to 2pmWhere: Massey Park; 29 McKay St. N., Brampton OntarioOn the other hand… Lockhard Drive Forest in St Catherine is at risk of being cleared for developmentMeanwhile, the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) is proposing to expand by 16 acres the escarpment natural area designation on the Lockhart Drive Forest.  If they are successful this would mean a small but significant expansion of the Greenbelt.  Old growth forest on the steep slope of the escarpment itself bottoms out into a long narrow strip of Lockhart Forest owned by Brock University.  The forest consists of magnificent old growth sugar maples, white oaks, hickories and walnuts.  Runoff from the face of the escarpment provides an area of unevaluated wetlands and vernal pools that provide breeding grounds for frogs and blue spotted salamanders.  Well used trails wander through this idyllic eco-community.Brock is opposing the escarpment commission since they want the option to clear the land for an expansion of their research centre.  We are walking to show our support for the NEC and also to enjoy the forest while it is still available. Here’s what you can do to help:1. Join us for a hike in the forest: When: Saturday, October 28th at 2:00 p.m. Where: Grounds of Brock University Research and Innovation Centre; 130 Lockhart Drive, St. Catherines, OntarioRSVP to: thaiajones [at] gmail.com2. Send a forest photo with your support letter, or just a letter, to: Ontariochapter [at] sierraclub.caThis article was written by Thaia Jones, Greenbelt Campaign Chair at Sierra Club Ontario.If you have any questions about the URV additions or would like to attend one (or more) of the above events, please email Thaia at: thaiajones [at] gmail.com.