Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area protects an ecologically sensitive part of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Here you will find springs, seepage areas, and wetlands that form the beginnings of East Cross Creek and Pigeon River, along with significant wildlife habitat and natural features.
There are currently over 7 km of sustainable trails. They offer excellent hiking, bird watching, bicycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile access for Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) members. Along the way, you will pass through sugar maple forests, pine plantations, open meadows, and sand barrens. You can spot many unique species of birds, such as Wood Thrush, Canada Warbler, Northern Flicker, and the Savannah Sparrow.
About the East Cross Forest Project
Our current land holdings are 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.
The East Cross Forest project was initiated after many properties in the area suffered negative environmental impacts from off-road motorized vehicles, dumping, and other illegal activities. We are currently rehabilitating and managing acquired lands to protect groundwater for surrounding residents and businesses, and to protect a variety of plant species and cold-water fish habitat.
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.
What is happening now in East Cross Forest?
A management plan for a multi-use conservation area is currently being implemented. We are restoring heavily damaged sections of the land and constructing sustainable trails and structures.
The conservation area is available to the public for low-impact recreational activities such as hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and environmental education. Visitors must stay on the marked trails shown on the map below.
A zero tolerance approach is in effect, and those who enter the conservation area on motorized vehicles, vandalize infrastructure, or enter outside of poster hours (below) are being charged by Durham Regional Police and Kawartha Conservation.
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