July 13, 2017 – Vandals continue to target Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area, this time, destroying a metal gate and concrete foundations. This is happening in addition to ongoing trespassing by off road vehicles and their damage to environmentally sensitive areas.
“It is both disheartening and unsettling that certain individuals continue to vandalize the conservation area,” said Acting Conservation Areas Coordinator Jon Hale. “Our conservation areas are for the publics’ enjoyment and when vandalism occurs there is a financial cost to all taxpayers.”
To help combat ongoing vandalism at the conservation area, staff had previously installed security cameras in different areas. The initiative did little to stop these activities.
“Not only did the individuals take the cameras, they actually cut down the trees they were attached to,” said Mr. Hale. “It has become an increasingly frustrating situation and is unfortunate for the thousands of families and individuals who use and enjoy Durham East Cross Forest responsibly.”
Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area protects an ecologically sensitive part of the Oak Ridges Moraine across 1,334 acres.
“Our goal is to help ensure sensitive ecological features are protected, while providing opportunities for the community to engage in low-impact recreational activities,” explained Mr. Hale.
Durham East Cross Forest is designated as a Natural Core Area on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Natural Core Areas contain the greatest concentrations of key natural heritage features that are critical to maintaining the integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine as a whole. As a result, these lands carry the highest level of protection under the Oak Ridges Moraine Act, prohibiting development and most recreational motorized vehicle activity, among others. One trail provides a necessary link with a regional recreational snowmobile trail and is utilized by members of the Ontario Snowmobile Association during the winter months. All other motorized vehicle activity is strictly prohibited in all seasons.
“I would strongly encourage anyone with information about who is continuing to vandalize Durham East Cross Forest to contact the police or to let us know here at Kawartha Conservation,” said Mr. Hale. “We will continue to monitor the situation and seek solutions to both vandalism and illegal activity in the conservation area, and we are asking for the public’s help in reporting any illegal or suspicious activity.”