Why do we need a boardwalk and trail connection?
The Rouge Beach and wetland area experience high levels of visitation from not only local communities, but beyond, and all within an ecologically sensitive area. This creates social trails, bank erosion, and ecological damage. The new trail connection will help direct visitor use in a more sustainable manner within areas deemed appropriate for visitor use.
Managing social trails and increasing park presence will reduce foot traffic in sensitive areas of forest and wetland habitat and allowing for restoration projects to remain undisturbed. Providing visitors with opportunities to enjoy and learn about the park's rich natural, cultural, and agricultural heritage are central to Parks Canada's mandate and will continue throughout Rouge National Urban Park's trail system that will connect Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine.
How will you protect species at risk and ensure this project doesn't damage the marsh considering a possible increase in visitation?
Our expectation is that this project will result in overall ecological gains to the marsh and surrounding riparian zones. Ongoing collaboration with park ecologists and key partners and stakeholders around measures such as removal of invasive species, improving wetland habitat for key species such as the Blanding's Turtle, and regulating visitor activities at appropriate levels and locations.
Additionally, future infrastructure will consider rising water levels and shoreline erosion to create resilient and durable structures able to sustain long term visitor use. Formalizing and revitalizing visitor trails, parking and infrastructure will focus visitor traffic to areas designed to carry the increase of visitation, and will reduce the overall footprint while maintaining a quality visitor experience.
What will be done to address the unwanted activity on the beach?
From the community tours, we have heard and are aware of these activities at Rouge Beach. Parks Canada has started to address this by increasing the law enforcement (Warden) presence in the southern areas of the park. During the design of the beach area, Parks Canada will work with the consultants to incorporate design solutions that would address these activities. Once the project is complete, there will continue to be an increase in Parks Canada presence with law enforcement, visitor/education programming and stewardship. In addition, there will be improved servicing of these areas to reduce waste.
Will the public be able to provide feedback or suggestions?
Yes, this website will be a primary tool for the public to provide feedback and suggestions. This website will be active from the start of the project until the end. There will also be general information about Rouge National Urban Park linked from here. If you're interested in learning more about Rouge Beach and other areas in the park, please visit our Parks Canada website. In addition, there will be opportunities for the public to comment on the environmental impact assessment report that will be completed for this project and posted here. Please be sure to check in regularly to get up to date information.