Glenorchy Conservation Area in Oakville was established in 2008. It is a 401 hectare (990 acres) property and protects lands notable for the Sixteen Mile Creek gorge, forested slopes, headwater creeks, wetlands and shale bluffs. The Province of Ontario owns the land and has an agreement for Conservation Halton to manage it. (Click here to see a Google Map of the Glenorchy location)
The area has been set aside for ecosystem protection and restoration purposes and is not yet open to the public; Conservation Halton has been busy working on something great over the last few years.
Planners initially recommended this area be protected more than 50 years ago. The property Master Plan was finalized in 2010 and called for ambitious ecological restoration projects to be done in the first ten years. The Master Plan’s objectives are to provide 176 new hectares (434 acres) of diverse terrestrial, aquatic and wetland ecosystems and linkages.
These restoration initiatives form a key part of the North Oakville and Halton Region Natural Heritage Systems. In 2012, these lands became the first expansion to Ontario’s Greenbelt since the Act’s beginning in 2005.
Conservation Halton has focused on providing functioning, diverse and self-sustaining communities of native plants and wildlife which support watershed health while implementing the plan. Through careful planning, ongoing monitoring, and site management, this conservation area will become a premier public destination, offering a variety of passive recreational and cultural experiences.
Glenorchy Conservation Area’s restoration objectives aim to increase the representation and extent of forests, wetlands, riparian areas, and grasslands providing a rich landscape of well-connected natural ecosystem. A large tract of native grassland has been established in the centre of the conservation area. Treed swamp, riparian and other wetlands have been restored and created.
The existing forests have been expanded using a variety of techniques. All of this work lays the groundwork to provide a substantially resilient ecological landscape and improve the health of the watersheds.
The natural areas at Glenorchy Conservation Area will provide valuable opportunities for passive outdoor recreation through public trails, lookouts, interpretation, interpretive signage, and education. Conservation Halton will be working with partners to implement this next phase of the Master Plan.