The President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Burkhard Mausberg, recently spent some time on the Niagara Escarpment, (which is part of Ontario’s Greenbelt) and took time to reflect on the beauty of the area and just how important it is for the area to continue to be protected.
With much of the snow melting with the recent weeks’ March warmth, I took out the snowshoes and went snowshoeing along parts of the Niagara Escarpment near Honeywood. Honeywood is about 20km north of Shelburne and 41km north of Orangeville. Snowshoeing in the bush is one of those slow, deliberate activities that you can’t rush. If you do, you end up stumbling over branches or fall flat on your face. Taking your time has a calming effect, allowing you to reflect on the world around you. While the sky was clear and blue and the ground was covered with very heavy wet snow, it struck me once again that the Niagara Escarpment is such a natural icon, utterly deserving of its status as a World Biosphere Reserve.
Lifting my legs higher than they’re used to on paved streets in the city, stomping through the snow and the forest, I also recalled looking at maps of the Escarpment and comparing it to the maps under the Niagara Escarpment Plan – the one that sets out its legal protection.
When you include the outlying areas of the Escarpment, buffer zones, and important connecting areas, the Niagara Escarpment Plan is simply too small.
So just like the rest of the Greenbelt, additional lands protected under the Niagara Escarpment Plan need to be seriously investigated with an eye to increasing them substantially. After all, losing the majestic lands in and around the Escarpment is a permanent loss. While there’s still time, we need to “grow the Escarpment” and I look forward to snowshoeing an expanded Escarpment area.