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Cootes Paradise Heritage Lands

Excerpt from the Cootes to Escarpment Park System Conservation and Land Management Strategy (Phase II report).

The Cootes Paradise Heritage Lands are centred on the Cootes Paradise ESA. Including some of the original protected areas, it has historically been used for hiking, bird-watching, active recreational and educational programs. The main centres for activity will be at South Shore Cootes Paradise from Princess Point and North Shore Cootes Paradise from the Arboretum. Cultural heritage resources associated with First Nations and early European settlement offer opportunities for interpretation. The inter-regional trail will provide a route around Cootes Paradise Marsh and link with Hamilton Waterfront Trail and Bruce Trail.

NATURAL AREAS

The numbers of each of the natural areas below correspond to sites marked on the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Vision Map.

1. South Shore Cootes Paradise

OWNERS: Royal Botanical Gardens, City of Hamilton owned and management agreement
NEPOSS Classification: Natural Environment - partially NE Plan Area - partially NEPOSS

MAIN FEATURES: Cootes Paradise ESA, Provincial Life Science ANSI, Provincially Significant Wetland, Important Amphibian and Reptile Area (IMPARA), largest rivermouth wetland on Lake Ontario, species at risk habitat, rare habitats. Playing fields, aviary, property trails, Hamilton Waterfront Trail and Fishway. This area has historically been part of the recreational system. Part of Greenbelt, adjacent to urban area.

POSSIBLE FUTURE DIRECTION: Focused high activity area, balanced with protected wilderness. Main activity and access centred at Princess Point. Could be considered for main area for Nodal Park functions under NEPOSS. Transit supported, parking. Inter-regional trail to follow improved existing trail and will require support of McMaster University for completion. Cootes to Escarpment Park System information and map required.
Facilities to support access to the water for non-motorized boating, including access for mobility challenged; interpretation of archeology, and aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Terrestrial habitat restoration, continued operation and interpretation of the Fishway and Cootes Paradise Marsh restoration, and trail system review required.

2. Spencer Creek

OWNER: Hamilton Conservation Authority
NEPOSS Classification: No Classification - outside NE Plan Area

MAIN FEATURES: Spencer Creek and floodplain, part of Dundas Valley ESA, steep valley slopes. Trail. Urban location. Cootes Drive.

POSSIBLE FUTURE DIRECTION: Low activity area. Limited hiking trail. Inter-regional trail to follow existing trail, re- establishment of natural channel and floodplain connectivity.

3. Desjardins Canal Properties

OWNERS: City of Hamilton, Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Conservation Authority
NEPOSS Classification: No Classification - outside NE Plan Area

MAIN FEATURES: Floodplain partially within Cootes Paradise ESA, historic Desjardins Canal. Urban location.

POSSIBLE FUTURE DIRECTION: Moderate activity level with secondary level access. The Desjardins Canal Properties are at a gateway location to the historic community of Dundas. Transit supported, parking. Inter-regional trail will require support of adjacent private property owners for completion.
There is tremendous opportunity to manage the area based on the cultural history of the Desjardins Canal and settlement of Dundas as well as natural areas restoration themes. Recreational uses and/or habitat restoration to support the Cootes Paradise ESA would strengthen the Park System and the efforts to rehabilitate lands along the Desjardins Canal with the recent acquisition of flood plain lands by the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

4. Dundas Recreation Lands

OWNER: City of Hamilton
NEPOSS Classification: No Classification - outside NE Plan Area

MAIN FEATURES: Playing fields and arena. Urban location.

POSSIBLE FUTURE DIRECTION: High activity level with secondary level access. The current active recreational facilities will continue. Where feasible, additional naturalization should be considered. Transit supported, parking.

5. North Shore Cootes Paradise

OWNERS: Royal Botanical Gardens, City of Hamilton
NEPOSS Classification: Natural Environment - partially NE Plan Area - partially NEPOSS

MAIN FEATURES: Cootes Paradise ESA, Provincial Life Science ANSI, Provincially Significant Wetland, Important Amphibian and Reptile Area (IMPARA), multiple small watersheds, second largest interior forest area in the park, species at risk habitat. Arboretum, Nature Interpretive Centre, Bruce Trail and property trails. This area has historically been part of the recreational system. Greenbelt, rural location.

POSSIBLE FUTURE DIRECTION: Focused high activity area balanced with protected wilderness. Main activity and access centred at Arboretum. Main area for Nodal Park functions under NEPOSS. Transit supported, parking. Inter-regional trail to follow improved existing trail with bicycle lane added to York Road. Cootes to Escarpment Park System information and map required. A new trail link following Hickory Valley to the Escarpment is proposed based on land acquisition.
Provision of education and interpretation on the natural environment, sustainability, and the Niagara Escarpment through both the school curriculum and public programs. Explore expansion to existing facilities to accommodate increased demand for educational services. Habitat restoration and trail system review required. Part of this area includes a parcel identified as Potential Additional Park Land (Figure 6), which is just north of Old Guelph Road. This property is currently owned by the Ontario Realty Corporation and is leased to RBG.

  • bruce trail
  • city of burlington
  • Conservation Halton
  • Halton Region
  • City of Hamilton
  • Hamilton Conservation Authority
  • hamilton harbour
  • Hamilton Naturalists' club
  • McMaster
  • RBG

Funding provided by:

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