Forests to be thinned at Belwood Lake Conservation Area: sections of Belwood Conservation Lake Area park trails to be closed with occasional access via Elora Cataract Trailway
The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will be temporarily closing sections of its recreational trails at Belwood Lake Conservation Area in order to complete forestry operations. Crews will be thinning the forest plantations in the area immediately west of Shand Dam and just south of the Elora Cataract Trail, which crosses the dam.
Approximately 20 hectares of forest plantations and sections of the walking trails within this area will be closed for most of December, until the operations are complete. The main entrance to these walking trails will be signed as closed.
In addition, heavy equipment and trucks will be accessing the area along the Elora Cataract Trail and the trail that connects it to the Third Line. While the work is underway, signs will be posted notifying the public, and trail users are asked to obey all signage and use extra caution through the area.
The work is part of the GRCA’s long term management program to convert conifer plantations to more natural forest lands. A plantation contractor will be harvesting trees marked for removal in order to improve forest health and create more varied habitats that support a greater mixture of plant, animal and bird species. Thinning is scheduled at this time of year to avoid disrupting the spring and summer nesting seasons.
These are routine, scheduled thinnings done periodically to give growing space to the healthiest trees, allow for hardwoods to seed naturally and to improve the general health and condition of the plantation.
The contractor will remove most of the felled trees from the forests, and trails will be cleared of debris wherever possible. In parts of the woodlots, some branches and other small pieces will be left on the forest floor where they will decompose and replenish the soil.
All work will be done in accordance with sustainable forest management guidelines in the GRCA’s Watershed Forest Plan.