Accessible Trail at the Hollidge Tract - York Regional Forest

Organization Sponsor: York, Regional Municipality

Organization Partner: Natural Heritage and Forestry Services

URLs: 

Program Description

The Hollidge Tract in the York Regional Forest has an accessible trail which provides a unique nature experience to all users including those with disabilities. The tract is located in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville on the east side of Highway 48, south of Vivian Road (municipal address 16389 Highway 48).

The one-kilometre, accessible trail loop, is one of the first trails to be constructed to the proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) Built Environment Standard.

The trail passes through a variety of areas including a red pine forest, a lowland mixed wood forest, a young hardwood forest and a wetland area.

“Public education is an extremely important element in our Region’s drive to enhance and expand our urban and rural forests,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.

“Creating an accessible trail provides a more inclusive opportunity for all residents to learn about the importance of green spaces in our community and how these places play a vital role in the health and welfare of our municipalities.”

Program Approximate Cost: 

$85,000

Funding Sources: 

York Regional Council

Strategies For Sustainability: 

York Region owns and manages more than 2,200 hectares of York Regional Forest, which consist of 20 properties and more than 120 kilometres of trails. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) through its draft Built Environment Standard, sets the requirements for fully accessible trails. The standard identifies maximum slopes (cross slopes and running slopes), suitable trail surface conditions, minimum trail widths and signage requirements for accessible trails.

Impact Of Program: 

More than 1,600 people use the forest trail system daily for a variety of activities including hiking, snowshoeing and cycling.This accessibility trail enhancement will provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to experience the York Regional Forest trail system. In addition, this opportunity will help provide information, and a demonstration location, for municipalities advancing accessible trails and facilities in local parks and on conservation lands. Copies of this report will be forwarded to local municipalities for information.This accessibility retrofit pilot project is recognized as a learning and leadership opportunity for the Region.

Evaluation Tools: 

Monitoring public use and trail conditions will be undertaken to evaluate the level of use and to ensure the trail remains accessible.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

These public lands offer rich natural habitats which are home to a diversity of wildlife. They provide for a variety of recreational uses, including bird watching, dog walking, horse back riding and mountain biking.
Marketing and monitoring will be critical to the success of an accessible trail.
* The entire surface is constructed from packaged granular material to provide a durable surface for wheelchairs and other assistive devices
* The trail has been widened, cleared of obstructions and graded to ensure ease-of movement for all visitors
* The entire surface is constructed from packaged granular material to provide a durable surface for wheelchairs and other assistive devices
* The trail has been widened, cleared of obstructions and graded to ensure ease-of movement for all visitors

Challenges To Meet Them: 

To ensure that persons with disabilities are aware of the accessible trail, the Region will undertake marketing of the trail through a variety of initiatives including website updates, York Regional Forest publications, and with advice from the Accessibility Advisory Committee

Length and Stage of Project: 

This project was opened for public use 2010.

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