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The proposed Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is an opportunity to protect and restore an important ecosystem in Canada’s largest urban centre, and to provide millions of Canadians with the chance to directly experience wild nature without leaving the city. In such a busy urban landscape, assuring the long-term health of the park will require strong management tools that prioritize conservation and provide clear guidance for visitor use.
Rouge Park is located on the eastern boundary of the City of Toronto and houses much of the lower Rouge River watershed – one of the last in Western Lake Ontario to remain free of urban development. Bounded by Markham and Scarborough to the west, Pickering to the east and Stouffville to the north, the 47km2 Rouge Park provides a bastion against urban sprawl. It protects a rare Carolinian forest, is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals, including 23 species at risk, and provides the only protected ecological connection for wildlife between the Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario in the Toronto area.
Under the management of Parks Canada, Rouge Park was slated to become Canada’s first National Urban Park, which required new legislation.
In our view, the Rouge National Urban Park Act (which received Royal Assent on April 23, 2015) does not provide adequate protection for the remarkable values of the Rouge watershed. In fact, the standard of protection is lower than its current status under provincial policy and laws. Ontario made the decision to not transfer the provincially held lands to the federal government until the law is fixed.
Group paddles Rouge River to protect the park: Orioles, cliff sparrows and red-winged blackbirds flit along the banks of the river, also home to otter and beaver, as the canoes meander past marshes, meadows, patches of trilliums — and Highway 401. Read the Article
Paddle the Rouge: The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's Wildlands League organized a river paddle on Thursday, May 15 to create awareness for the protection of the Rouge Park. Read the Article
Get Outside Ontario: In July 2013 in the proposed Rouge National Urban Park, CPAWS Wildlands League launched “Get Outside Ontario”, a collaborative youth leadership program focused on fostering an enduring connection to nature through community engagement. For more information, click here. Read about why Get Outside Ontario youth participants #lovetherouge!
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