Hittin' the Eco Trial (July 2010)

TORONTO – July 2010 – Ontario’s best kept secret isn’t a secret at all – it’s a 190,000 hectare ecosystem of natural, municipal, industrial, agricultural and recreational landscapes otherwise known as The Oak Ridges Moraine. Boasting a variety of vegetation, a diverse geology, and a long list of wildlife, local residents and visitors to the Moraine are encouraged to explore both its cultural community and the scenic splendour of its natural spaces. Housing 300 kilometres of user friendly walking, hiking and biking trail extending from the Bruce Trail in Mono Mills in the west to the towns of Warkworth and Castleton in the east, the development and maintenance of the Oak Ridges Trail (ORT) system has been a co-operative effort between the funding agency, the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF) and the dedicated volunteers of the Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA).
The Oak Ridges Trail system with access points, signage, and interpretive displays located along the trail corridor, is a little known treasure whose time has come. With the final stages of the east /west connection of the ORT completed this past April, outdoor enthusiasts are invited to lace up their walking shoes, hit the eco trail and discover the majestic beauty of the Oak Ridges Moraine during the Once Around the Ridge eastern trail kiosk unveiling: Sunday, August 15, 2010; 2 pm; The Warkworth Long Lunch; Warkworth Fairgrounds and Main Street Corridor. For more event information, visit www.ormf.com.

Grab a Bite and Take a Stroll

At tables laid out end to end, stretching the length of the Main Street corridor in the community of Warkworth, Ontario, patrons of the annual Warkworth Long Lunch will feast on a bounty of barbequed pork or beef, potato salad, corn on the cob, and homemade pie before hitting the Oak Ridges Trail (ORT) to walk off the effects of their indulgences: Sunday, August 15th. The first in a series celebrations of the Partners of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation to mark the connection of the ORT, the Long Lunch (11:30am – 3:00pm) will set the festive mood for the official opening of the Warkworth Trail Kiosk (2:00 pm). A short 1.5 km guided tour of the Trail highlighting the impact of the Moraine on human life will round out the day’s activities, leaving Long Lunch patrons feeling invigorated.

Nature's Best Defense

With a millennia old ecosystem in the balance, someone had to take charge. The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF) was founded in 2002 as governing body dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the Moraine as a healthy and vibrant ecosystem. Comprised of an independent board of directors, the Foundation diligently distributed in excess of $14 million in grants since 2002. Working closely with Moraine partners, the ORMF leveraged an additional $35.8 million in funding for land securement; stewardship; education and public awareness; Oak Ridges Moraine Trail; and research programs. Over the past eight years, the ORMF has successfully supported 177 new conservation and protection projects on the Moraine.

While the connection of the ORT from east to west is one accomplishment that the Foundation is proud to share with their partners, there is still work to be done. Efforts will continue to move trail links off roads, and volunteers of the ORTA will require additional resources to provide and maintain trails services for users.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is home to more than 100,000 people, crosses 32 municipalities, supplies drinking water to more than 250,000 and supports related agricultural, industrial, commercial and recreational uses. It is imperative that the Moraine remain healthy in order to sustain the individual and ecological communities that it impacts, and that takes money. Ongoing efforts are needed to help protect this Provincial treasure. Despite plans to close its doors this year, the Foundation will continue to seek resources in response to overwhelming support from Moraine stakeholders to persevere and provide long-term funding for ongoing program initiatives and opportunities. For more information on the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, visit www.ormf.com.

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Media Contact:
Lorne Simon
Michael Communications PR Group
416-785-5037
lorne@michaelcommunications.com

Francisca Gambino
francis G communications
416-432-4599
franciscagambino@yahoo.ca