Big City Trails: Planning for Forest Protection

A Poster presentation

This poster session presentation summarizes the process of developing the City of Toronto's Natural Environment Trails Strategy and its outcomes.

by Mike Halferty, Natural Environment Specialist, City of Toronto - Urban Foresty Branch

As Toronto grows and the population increases, the pressure from recreational use on our natural areas intensifies. As the fourth largest city in North America,Toronto boasts over 11,000 hectares of forested ravine area, which in turn contains an extensive network of single track dirt trail (over 200 km). Much of this is unregulated and unmanaged.

Trail planning and maintenance helps to alleviate the damage caused by the daily wear and tear of various recreational uses. In order to protect the natural environment, ensure the long-term sustainability of our trails and encourage safe trail experiences, we developed our Natural Environment Trails Strategy (NETS).

This award-winning strategy used city-wide trail mapping, trail user counts and extensive public consultation to create a document that guides planning, construction, maintenance and community engagement for natural environment trail projects. This poster will summarize the process of developing NETS and its outcomes.

About the Author

Mike Halferty is a Natural Environment Specialist with the City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Branch. His work involves planning and implementing natural environment trail projects in Toronto's extensive ravine system, with a strong focus on community engagement and involvement. He holds a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto.

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