This year the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve turns 25! Since 1990, Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment has had this designation, part of a program developed by the UN to help recognize significant natural and cultural features of our planet which have been afforded measures of protection in an effort to manage human activities in these areas.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created the Man and the Biosphere program in 1971 and, since then, 16 biosphere reserves have been established in Canada. The Niagara Escarpment is one of the most unique in the world because of how long and narrow it is, how many different municipalities it runs through as well as it’s natural significance. One of the factors involved in maintaining the designation is how we, as Ontarians, protect it. Currently some protection comes through Provincial Legislation and Land-use Plan and Regulation (Niagara Escarpment Commission ); Two National Parks; 129 Provincial and Municipal Parks; Provincial Greenbelt – Foodland Conservation Plan; 8 watershed-based Conservation Authorities, The Bruce Trail Conservancy, and private landowners.
This year marks the 25th anniversary, and while we don’t yet have all our plans made, we encourage you all to get out and support conservation efforts in whatever way suits you best. Buy a membership pass to a Conservation Authority or your local Bruce Trail Club, support your local conservation or environmental foundation or simply go for a hike and pay the user fee which helps the park or organization to keep these places open for our enjoyment.
Volunteer for a local escarpment group, enjoy food or drink grown in our Greeenbelt or simply attend an Escarpment event, hike, workshop or clean-up this year. Most of all, get out and enjoy the many wonders of the Niagara Escarpment and bring a friend. Introduce someone new to the Escarpment and the many groups which support its preservation.
Keep an eye out on our website and social media for upcoming events and opportunities and say “Happy 25th!” to the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve!