On the weekend of August 21-22, proceeds from the Conservation Halton Parks entrance fees will be used as fundraising for their newest park, currently known as Area 8, located at the former site of the Milton Limestone Quarry. Funds raised will be used for environmental restoration and trail development, so that the site can be fully transitioned into a conservation and recreation area, with the support of the Conservation Halton Foundation.
Earlier this year, Conservation Halton announced that the new park would be open to the general public near the end of 2021, but in the meantime, has offered tours and experiences elsewhere throughout the summer. One of these experiences will be Hike for Area 8, in which will have an opportunity to hike, bike or run, either in their community, at one of the parks or even at the new park, Area 8. Participants can register, either as a team or an individual, and raise funds on the Conservation Halton website. According to Conservation Halton, they are able to create 1 metre of trail for every $10 that is donated. With a fundraising goal of $15,000, they are hoping to create 1.5 kilometres of trail at the park.
In 2020, more than 1.5 million visitors from the GTHA, and even further, visited Conservation Halton Parks.
Said Garner Beckett, Executive Director of the Conservation Halton Foundation. “Hike for Area 8 is an opportunity for the members of our community to explore the new park, and actually be part of the restoration and development that is taking place right now.”
The Milton Limestone Quarry opened in 1958 and played an important role in the infrastructure development of the area, including construction of the 401 and 407 Highways and Pearson International Airport. However, decades of industrial activities have impacted the soil, trees and other plants in the area. In the 1990s, Conservation Halton identified the quarry as a potential site for environmental restoration and worked with the original owner on a restoration plan. Eventually, the owner donated the land to the Conservation Halton, and restoration work began.
Today, the former quarry has been restored into a beautiful natural area, nestled into the escarpment, with hiking trails running along its edges. The process has taken more than 20 years, starting with the formation of the lake. Over the years, Conservation Halton has constructed habitat structures, planted 5,700 trees and shrubs, and created 1,500 square metres of fish spawning habitat. Already, native species, including a number of rare species, have started to make their home in the new habitat areas. As a result of this work, the efforts and their outcomes were awarded the highest honour in pit and quarry restoration from the Ontario Sand, Stone & Gravel Association (OSSGA) in 2018.
Members of the public who would like to visit Area 8 before it is open for general admission can reserve an experience, including yoga classes, bonfire evenings, birding hikes, and guided tours of the park, through the Conservation Halton reservation system.
To donate or to participate visit https://www.conservationhalton.ca/hike-for-area-8