Welcome to Fall on the Ganaraska Watershed
The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) would like to thank visitors to the Ganaraska Forest for continuing to respect the forest and other users.

A few reminders:
  • Do not litter. Leave no trace, and follow the simple rule: pack in, pack out.
  • Do not speed in parking areas, or aggressively pass pedestrians.
  • Comply with all signage in the forest. Signs are in place to maintain a harmonious balance between environmental protection, neighbour relations and user safety.
  • It is up to you! All users are responsible for knowing and following forest rules and regulations.
 
GRCA staff have been notified that obtaining insurance and ownership is not possible for unbranded ATVs and dirt bikes - also referred to as pit bikes or offshore bikes - as they do not come with a registration. Without a registration, you will not be able to obtain a license plate or insurance. Also, many insurance companies are refusing to insure dirt bikes less than 150cc, or riders who are under the age of 12. Prior to purchasing an off-road vehicle, the GRCA suggests that you ask your dealer if the vehicle will be registered, and to contact your insurance company to ensure you can obtain insurance before purchasing.

All motorized users need to be aware that accessing the Ganaraska Forest without valid insurance or a securely attached license plate is an offence. Violators may face fines and/or eviction from the property with possibility of being banned from the forest.
Did you know that logging takes place across the Ganaraska Forest annually from August through to February? The GRCA completes regular thinnings in the forest to help increase light in the understory so that desirable native species (like those bushy White Pines seen below) can grow.

Four blocks totalling 325 acres are scheduled to be harvested this season. Forest users should note that recreational trails will be closed in these areas while operations are active. Additionally, users should be mindful of logging truck signage and exercise caution while utilizing forest roads around these areas. 
In early September, the GRCA began an underplanting initiative in the West Forest which will result in the planting of 4,300 trees in a Red Pine plantation where native trees were having trouble establishing. 4,000 White Pines have been planted so far, with 300 Red Oak set to be planted around mid-October. The planting of both species provides a jump-start towards a future stand conversion, which will be facilitated by the overhead protection and regular thinning schedule of the Red Pine plantation.

Visit the GRCA or Ganaraska Forest Centre website to learn more about Forest Resource Management.
Thanks to the Ontario Power Generation Regional Biodiversity Program, GRCA's Millennium Conservation Area underwent two restoration efforts this summer. Restoration Artists was hired to complete a thinning of the conifer thinning demonstration plot and the removal of Phragmites along the boardwalk.
 
Phragmites australis ssp. australis or European Common Reed (hereinafter referred to as Phragmites) is not to be confused with its native sibling, Phragmites australis ssp. americanus. Phragmites is an invasive species that was transported from Eurasia and is causing severe damage to wetlands and beaches. Unlike its native sibling, Phragmites can grow to a height of 5 metres, create a dense stand and produce large seed heads. The combination of the tall, dense, and fast spreading Phragmites makes it one of the most dangerous threats to native biodiversity.

The Phragmites population in Millennium Conservation Area originated from the 401, and began to move closer into the wetland. In order to preserve the wetland and the unique habitat that it provides for wildlife, the population underwent its first removal treatment, with more to come in the future.
BEFORE
AFTER
In 1982, the thinning plot in Millennium Conservation Area was planted with Norway Spruce, White Ash and White Pine. The plot was intended to show landowners how they can properly manage their plantations to produce marketable timber while growing a more native forest underneath its canopy. The first thinning, while not always immediately economical, is a critical investment in plantation management as it improves the growing space for residual trees and access for future thinnings. The additional growing space provided by regular thinnings allows the trees to develop into sawlog-sized timber while also allowing light to reach the forest floor; encouraging the establishment of native mixedwood species. 
To learn more about the Millennium Conservation Area projects, contact GRCA's Watershed Biologist Lindsay Champagne or GRCA's Forester Gus Saurer at 905.885.8173.
Nature Nuts School is into its third week, and the students are loving it! The next 4-week block of Nature Nuts School will run from October 12 – November 6. Nature Nuts School offers a safe, supervised space, the technology, and the tutoring support to successfully fulfill student’s online learning programs. Up to 10 students will complete the mandated 5 hours of online instruction, on computers provided by the GRCA, with breaks throughout the day for interactive outdoor play that further explores the curriculum and encourages skill development.
The GRCA is pleased to continue offering Pop-Up Weddings at the Ganaraska Forest Centre (GFC). Up to 50 loved ones are invited to join soon-to-be wedded couples for a 3-hour event, beginning with a ceremony in stunning Maple Valley and followed by your choice of an indoor or outdoor reception at the GFC. Local Officiant Avril Ewing, will be conducting the wedding ceremonies, while GFC's in-house Caterer, Divine Dining, will cater the receptions. Email agriffiths@grca.on.ca to learn more about all GFC wedding packages.