Greenwood Conservation Lands
This designation will not only help fulfill the TRCA’s vision for GCL, but would work towards achieving the goals set out by the Trans Canada Trail Association’s in its 2017 Connection Plan.
This funding will also be utilized to help expand one trailhead parking lot and construct a viewing and fishing platform adjacent to the Trans Canada Trail and along the East Duffins Creek. Permits to approve this work are currently being obtained and the parking lot expansion is scheduled to be completed this Fall.
Remaining work which is scheduled for completion in 2014 includes;
• Three trail realignments (approximately 200m each)
• Trail improvements including boardwalks and bridges
• Construction of an Accessible Viewing/Fishing Platform, which will be accessed using an Accessible trail
• Improvements to signage and wayfinding along the Trans Canada Trail.
Thank you to Trans Canada Trail and those who support the Trans Canada Trail.
The Greenwood Conservation Lands (GCL) are composed of four parcels of land known as Brock North, Brock South, the Rodar property, and Greenwood Conservation Area (GCA) in the Town of Ajax and the City of Pickering. These lands cover 675 hectares (1,668 acres) and are home to a wide range of environments including intact mixed forests, open meadows and wetland communities. Situated within the East Duffins subwatershed, three sensitive, watercourses flow through the site, Spring Creek, Brougham Creek and East Duffins Creek. There is also a rich cultural heritage on the site from the use of the land by both First Nations peoples and early European settlers. Along with these natural and cultural heritage features, there remains an abundance of nature-based recreation opportunities throughout the site. For more information on the lands, please refer to the Background Report.
The GCL Master Plan was generated to protect, conserve and restore the valuable ecological features and functions of the site, while guiding the current and potential future public uses of the area. It is intended to provide a vision of what is possible within the GCL, and motivate partners and supporters to help TRCA achieve that vision. Main components of the Master Plan Include:
Background Report is a summary of site features, important to understand before determining future uses.
Vision, Goals & Objectives
Vision, Goals & Objectives provides a framework for future management decision.
- Lands support functioning, diverse and self?sustaining communities of native plants, fish and wildlife.
- Lands become a public destination, offering a variety of recreational and cultural experiences.
- Lands facilitate important regional trail linkages and provide connectivity to surrounding natural heritage systems.
Natural Heritage Goal:
- Protect and restore ecological function and resilience to both aquatic and terrestrial systems.
Public Use & Recreation Goal:
- Create a public destination that offers a variety of recreational and cultural experiences.
Cultural Heritage Goal:
- Protect and conserve the cultural heritage features for their inherent value and depiction of the long-term human use and occupancy of the area.
Natural Heritage Objectives:
- Restore and enhance altered hydrology, and sensitive ground water zones.
- Enhance landform and soil conditions to promote selfsustaining natural communities.
- Restore natural cover and provide connectivity at both the local and regional scale.
- Create and enhance optimal fish and wildlife habitat.
Public Use and Recreation Objectives:
- Provide opportunities for appropriate, accessible nature?based recreation activities, which complement Greenwood Conservation Area.
- Plan and manage appropriate outdoor recreation facilities in a manner that protects ecological health while providing social benefits.
- Integrate recreational activities that meet municipal partners’ needs and contribute to health and well being of the existing and emerging communities.
- Construct and maintain trails that are linked to communities and inter?regional trails.
Cultural Heritage Objectives:
- Identify and promote the area’s heritage features, including former Brougham Post Office.
- Identify and protect known and potential archaeological sites.
- Provide interpretive information on the early history of the property and First Nations presence.
- Explore potential partnership with the Pickering Museum.
Restoration Plan details about natural features to be restored (forest cover, riparian cover, Species at Risk habitat) and how the work will be carried out.
Also TRCA's Restoration Plan for the Brock Lands is available for download:
Recreation and Public Use Concept Plan
Plans for permitted recreational activities on the site and their appropriate locations.
Recreation and Public Use Concept Plan
Recreation Plan - Recommendations
The following sections describe the key elements of the Public Use and Recreation Plan.
Active Public Use Area (Brock South)
Upon the completion of the restoration efforts on this site, the area will be suitable for active recreation. Some of the recommended uses under consideration include:
- Bike Park - with such features as a skills area, jump lines and pump track.
- Low Ropes Course - a series of elevated features designed for individual and team development exercises.
- Picnic/Day Use Area - to complement the adjacent GCA, this area can be developed as a trailhead area with the option of picnicking.
- Community Gardens - areas available for community-based agriculture.
Appropriate parking areas will need to be identified and provided for each of these recommendations.
Dog Off-leash Area
Based on comments provided at an open house, TRCA developed a list of desired features for a dog off-leash area to inform the design and location of a new leash-free site. Four municipal dog off-leash areas and both the existing and proposed dog off-leash area were reviewed within the context of desirable dog-off leash features that were identified during the consultation process. The result from this analysis indicated that the existing off leash area ranked the lowest in facilities and infrastructure, and the proposed off leash area ranked highest based on future recommendations and site plans. For further details on this review, see Appendix #8 - Municipal Dog Park Review.
Implementation of the relocated dog off-leash area is targeted to be completed in two phases. Phase 1 will see a temporary parking lot established off of Concession Road 5 and an area of 3.97 hectares (9.81 acres) fenced off for use. Once Phase 1 is opened, off-leash dog walking in GCA will no longer be permitted. Users will be permitted to continue to use the trails in GCA, but dogs must be on leash at all times.
Phase 2 of the project will start once restoration efforts in the western portion of the site are completed and planted vegetation has had one year to establish itself. In Phase 2, the remaining 11.54 hectares (28.50 acres) will be fenced off and a parking lot constructed. Further investigation on future usage of this site will be required to determine the size of the parking lot. Once completed, the dog off-leash area will be 15.51 hectares (38.31 acres) and will provide a nature-based experience that meets the needs of this popular activity. The new site will not only be larger than the previous site, but will also have greater parking capacity, open and shaded trails, and a fenced boundary for safety. Concerns regarding standing water were expressed by dog walkers during an open house meeting. As a result, standing water is not being recommended for the relocated site. Further discussion on additional features, such as a shade pavilion, potable water or other attributes, will be discussed when consulting with the public during the detailed design stage of Phase 2 of the dog off-leash area.
Although a timeline for construction of the community park has not been finalized, site preparation may begin as early as 2013. Proposed features of the community park include: baseball fields, soccer fields, football fields, two parking areas and a maintenance building. Once completed, this site will be managed and operated by the City of Pickering.
Pickering Museum Expansion (Unique Cultural Heritage Area)*
A feasibility study will investigate the relocation of historic buildings, construction of a new visitors center and installation of additional parking lots. One of the parking lots will be open to the public to use as a trailhead access point to the GCL and the other will be for paying customers of the museum. Development, maintenance and management of this site will be completed by the City of Pickering.
* These are proposed partnership projects with the City of Pickering. In the future, if either the community park or the museum expansion is not required, the designated lands will be utilized for either public recreation or restoration opportunities.
Mountain Biking Focused Areas
To facilitate the high demand for cycling opportunities on the GCL and within Durham, three areas have been identified to provide a cycling focused experience. These areas will be open to all permitted uses but will contain trails that are designed with mountain biking in mind. Additional information on the trails within these areas is provided in Chapter 6.
Accessible Fishing Platform
Fishing along East Duffins Creek is a popular activity. To increase this opportunity and to provide barrier-free access to East Duffins Creek, a fishing platform will be constructed. This site will allow users to easily access the site by wheelchair or other mobility assisting devices. It will also help in preserving and protecting the bank side vegetation that can be trampled by users. Outside of the fishing season, the platform will serve as a vantage point to view the creek and surrounding area.
Detailed planning and site selection still needs to take place. It is hoped that a number of partners will be attracted to the project to help fund and promote it as both a new use for the site and an excellent opportunity to expose people of all abilities to fishing.
Agricultural Area / Community Garden
Located in an area once used for farming, this location has been identified for future near urban agriculture projects. As the surrounding land is developed, small scale farming operations close to residential communities will become more important. In the future, it is envisioned that this site be utilized for community farming projects and small scale food production. A community-based initiative, such as an urban garden, presents terrific partnership and educational opportunities. Development of the site will be determined by the interest of the nearby community.
Existing Greenwood Conservation Area (GCA)
GCA has a rich history of nature-based recreation and has been utilized by the public for decades. This tradition will continue and be strengthened through the development of the various Master Plan recommendations. Current uses will continue in designated areas and new activities, such as mountain biking, will now be permitted. Under a management agreement with TRCA, future management of GCA and Brock South will be undertaken by the Town of Ajax.
Greenwood Conservation Lands Recreational Trail Plan
Trail Plan identifies recommended trails and highlights recreational trail features.
Greenwood Conservation Lands Recreational Trail Plan
It is envisioned that the GCL trail network will support a multi-use trail system and become a destination for all trail related recreation including; hiking, cycling, leashed dog walking, geocaching, wildlife viewing and use to access fishing locations. Use of the GCL is limited to daylight hours only. Night use of the property is not permitted, unless specific permission is granted by the TRCA. The following is a summary of the key features of the trail system.
Greenwood Conservation Area Trails
Since the completion of the 2006 Management Plan for the GCA the Town of Ajax has formalized the trail system within the GCA. This updated Trail Plan for the GCL is recommending minimal revisions to this existing plan. Recommendations include the designation of the TCT through GCA and formalizing trails in the former Dog Off Leash Area. Trails in this area will be reviewed during the development of restoration plans for the site.
Trans Canada Trail (TCT)
The TCT is a national trail connecting the communities of Canada, from coast to coast to coast. Having a section of the TCT running through the GCL is a terrific feature to attract visitors to the area. In total 5.4 km of the TCT will run through the GCL and it will play an important function in providing a regional trail connection between the Lake Ontario waterfront and the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Designated loop trails play a valuable role in developing a functioning trail system. Commencing from trailheads, loop trails provide a variety of trail use experiences and ranges of difficulty based on ability. By providing designated loops, users can comfortably explore the GCL with confidence and prevent trail use conflicts.
Cycling Focused Areas
It is important to acknowledge that the cycling focused areas, identified in Chapter 5, have not been formalized and that trails in these areas will be developed in the future. Future plans are required to determine trail routing, difficulty ranking, connectivity to other areas of the property, signs, and these plans will be developed and approved by TRCA and the forthcoming GCL Stewardship Committee. A total of approximately 20-25 km of trails located in the three designated cycling preferred locations are recommended. All trails in these areas will be open to all permitted uses, but will be designed and constructed with mountain biking as the preferred use in mind. Appropriate signage identifying these areas as cycling focused will be developed and installed. Design standards and difficulty ratings will be consistent with the specification of the TRCA Construction Standards and Guidelines Handbook once completed.
Although not designated in the GCL Trail Plan there is a desire to investigate and implement an Accessible Trail with in the GCL. Investigation into the appropriate location for this trail will require further analysis. Utilizing the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) TRCA will survey all authorized trails. This evaluation will allow TRCA to classify trails based on attributes such as slope, tread width and surface type, which determines the trail classification and level of accessibility. Trail improvements may be required in some cases, but the preferred route(s) will be one which requires the least amount of modification and improvement. Finalization of the location, overall length and other attributes will require further investigation and consultation. Implementation of an Accessible Trail will conform to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Full Master Plan Version
Implementation of the Master Plan recommendations has begun. Current efforts are focusing on site restoration and the removal of safety concerns from the property.
The GCL Master Plan will guide management and use of the property for approximately the next 25 years. Various plan components, such as Management Zones, Management Recommendations, Trail Plan and Recreation Plan have been included so that related management issues likely to arise in the future have already been discussed, and recommendations are provided. This Master Planning process has been one which has engaged technical staff of the TRCA and its partners, as well as local interest groups and the public. Although this plan is designed to be in place for 25 years, recommendations and implementation strategies may need to be revisited to ensure it is adaptable to issues not addressed in this plan.
Consultation and Public Engagement
- Greenwood Conservation Lands: Final Public Meeting Summary - September 18 & 19, 2012
- Cyclist Open House: Questions and Answer Summary
- Dog Walker Open House: Questions and Answer Summary
- Greenwood Conservation Lands Master Plan: May Public Meeting Questions and Answer Summary
- The Greenwood Leaflet Newsletter
The public will be invited to provide comment on draft plans. Schedules for public input will be posted on this page.
Once the Master Plan is complete these lands will be open to the public for recreational usage, educational opportunities, and nature appreciation.