In 1998 the Altona Forest Community Stewardship Committee was established with representatives from ratepayers groups, concerned citizens, Pickering Naturalists and other interested groups, the City of Pickering and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. This committee assists with the planning, fundraising and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan for the forest. This management plan is designed to ensure the long-term protection of the ecological integrity of the Altona Forest. It also outlines acceptable recreational uses which include passive and non-intrusive outdoor activities that are compatible with the natural environment. Such activities will include hiking, bird watching, wildlife photography and educational interpretative walks. The activities do not include mountain biking, camping, the operation of motorized vehicles of any kind or the destruction or picking or cutting of any plants including flowers and trees.
The forest provides essential habitat for a large number of plants and animals which are common and not-so-common to southern Ontario. These include many migratory and songbirds, foxes, coyotes, hawks and rare amphibians. The forest contributes to the bioregion's greenspace network and is connected to the environmentally protected Rouge-Duffins Wildlife Corridor on the north. The forest also replenishes groundwater storage areas, and reduces the potential for damaging floods downstream.
The southwestern section of the forest contains the J. Murray Speirs Ecological Reserve. This area is not for public use but is a natural reserve which was donated to Toronto and Regional Conservation (TRCA) by Dr. J. Murray Speirs, a long time resident of Pickering, a noted naturalist and environmental teacher and a recent recipient of the Order of Canada.
Go here http://www.altonaforest.org/ for the Altona Forest Community website.