Enhancements to the Rouge Beach and Marsh Area of Rouge National Urban Park
In June 2019, Rouge National Urban Park reached a major milestone in its establishment when the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority transferred 18.5 km² of lands to Parks Canada for the national urban park, making it one of the world’s largest urban protected areas. These lands included the majority of the original Rouge Park, much of which is a part of the West Rouge and Pickering Rouge communities.
With the transfer of these stunning landscapes that feature forests, river valleys, wetlands, and portions of the Lake Ontario shoreline, Parks Canada and its partners are now able to make enhancements to the area, starting with increased law enforcement, educational programming, litter clean-ups, staff presence, new and improved trails, and ecological restoration work. These exciting advancements bring us closer to realizing the vision for Rouge National Urban Park.
One thing we’ve consistently heard is that Rouge Beach is an area of particular interest to the West Rouge and Pickering Rouge communities. In recent years, the Rouge Beach access road has experienced significant flooding events, requiring the closure of the lower parking lot for most of the summer season. Infrastructure enhancements that both improve the natural environment and provide visitor access to connect to the waterfront is a topic that was extensively discussed and presented in our 2020 engagement sessions and community walks. Furthermore, a new trail and boardwalk that will provide an in-park connection from Rouge Beach to the Mast Trail is being planned, including a new washroom facility near Mast Trail.
At the heart of these improvements is ecological restoration, along with continued efforts to protect and enhance the Rouge Beach and Marsh, and reduce the impacts of erosion and human presence around the parking lot and day use areas.
Parks Canada also has plans to increase law enforcement in the area via enhanced Park Warden and staff presence along with more educational programming and visitor services. Did you know that in 2019, Parks Canada responded to more fisheries violations at Rouge Beach than any other national park in Canada?
The Parks Canada team at Rouge National Urban Park is working diligently to ensure enhancements to the Rouge Beach and Marsh area help to significantly improve the natural and cultural integrity of the area, and foster meaningful connections to its natural beauty and rich history.
Ecological Integrity as Rouge National Urban Park's First Priority
Parks Canada is committed to the ecological integrity of the park. It is a first priority as outlined in the 2019 Park Management Plan and the Rouge National Urban Park Act.
"Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, must be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of the Park."
Species at Risk Act (2002)
Under the Species At Risk Act (2002): "in the event that a project may jeopardize the survival or recovery of a species at risk, a permit to conduct the project could be issued only if the activity were accompanied by actions to benefit the species such that the residual effects of the activity would not jeopardize its survival or recovery. PCA will undertake actions to benefit all species at risk that may be affected in the project area, and plans of these actions will be made available to the public as they become available.”
Parks Canada and Rouge National Urban Park will continue our efforts to maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of the Rouge Beach and marsh and all lands in our care.
Key Milestones to Date: