Ontario Parks recognizes Special Management Zones in County Forest as 'conserved areas'

Cobourg, ON – March 31, 2022 – Northumberland County is pleased to share that, based on significant conservation practices in the Northumberland County Forest, the Ontario Parks division of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has recognized targeted areas of the forest as 'conserved areas'. With this recognition, these areas have been added to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database, contributing to the Government of Canada’s goal of protecting 25 per cent of the country’s lands and waters by 2025.

Previously identified as ‘Special Management Zones’, these areas represent 440 hectares of protected land within the 2,225-hectare County Forest. The designation acknowledges that these areas have been monitored, assessed and protected through management restrictions and considerations due to their ecologically sensitive habitats and/or species of concern. To maintain and enhance these unique species and habitats, the County has committed to active restoration in these conserved areas, including the removal of invasive species, and prescribed burns to encourage the natural growth of native species.

“Our government is proud to support the conservation and expansion of more natural areas. Protecting Northumberland’s green spaces will help build climate change resiliency and will also maintain habitats for a variety of species,” says David Piccini, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. “This is a great example of how partnerships across governments are working to protect and conserve our environment for all to enjoy today and for generations to come.”

County Forest staff recently submitted an assessment to Ontario Parks, in collaboration with conservation organization Ontario Nature and with the support of Environment and Climate Change Canada, to recognize the ecological significance of the Special Management Zones in the forest and ensure their continued conservation. Through this assessment, Ontario Parks confirmed that the areas successfully meet the Canada-wide criteria for “other effective area-based conservation measures” — also known as OECMs or ‘conserved areas’. As a result, the County, along with four other municipalities and two conservation authorities in Southern Ontario, was recently recognized with this designation for these areas of the forest.

“Receiving recognition of our commitment to forest conservation is a great indication that we are on track to ensuring the long-term preservation of this community asset for future generations,” states County Warden Bob Crate. “In alignment with our recently released Forest Management Plan, the conservation of these targeted management zones reflects our goal to preserve and enhance natural heritage in the County Forest, while also strengthening recreation opportunities in other areas of the Forest.”

To learn more about this announcement, read the Ontario Nature blog.

To learn more about the Northumberland County Forest, including information about our Forest Management Plan, conservation programs and recreation opportunities, visit our Forest page.