Written by guest blogger Denise Deby.
There’s still hope for saving Ottawa’s South March Highlands wilderness area, but only if City Council votes on Wednesday, October 6 to purchase the land north of Kanata’s Beaver Pond.
That’s when Council will consider a motion put forward by Councillor Marianne Wilkinson (Kanata North) that the City obtain, by expropriation if necessary, lands owned by KNL Developments (a partnership between Urbandale and Richcraft). Clearcutting is likely to begin soon if Council votes against the motion.
Why should we care? Because
- This is the last remaining old growth forest in our city
- It has the richest biodiversity of any area in Ottawa, being home to more than 654 species, including 18 at risk of extinction;
- The South March Highlands area is rated as a Provincially Significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) for both its Life Science value (895 hectares) and its wetlands (114 hectares). According to the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands, the closest old-growth forested area to Ottawa that has 2 ANSI ratings (for wetland and wilderness) is Algonquin Park.
- It’s important archeologically, being Canadian Shield uplands that are more than a billion years old;
- Its many recreational uses include walking, mountain biking, orienteering, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back.
So far, the actions of a few committed residents and community groups have resulted in some progress, but it’s not enough. Here’s how to help:
- Contact your City Councillor before Wed., Oct. 6 and ask that they support the motion;
- Tell the Mayor your views: Larry O’Brien at (613) 580-2496 or Larry.OBrien@ottawa.ca
- Join the Pledge to support ongoing commitment to the area and to the vision of a world-class ecological park in Ottawa.
To find out more about the area and the motion, check out the Facebook group I want to save the land North of Beaver Pond Park in Kanata Ontario, @SouthMarch on Twitter, the Ottawa Citizen story about the motion, the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands website or this video about the area.