Backus Woods Addition, Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

Backus Woods Addition, Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

TD Forests: Backus Woods addition

Backus Woods Addition, Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

Backus Woods Addition, Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, ON (Photo by NCC)

In southwestern Ontario’s Norfolk County lies an incredible forest known as Backus Woods. An addition of 43 acres (17 hectares) of mature, deciduous woodland has expanded the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Backus Woods property to the benefit of many at-risk species including prothonotary and cerulean warblers.

Ecological significance

Norfolk is characterized by the highest percentage of forest cover in southwestern Ontario. Located within the Carolinian Life Zone, the area is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Canada and is one of the two areas supporting the highest densities of species at risk in the country. The Norfolk area supports 60 species considered at risk nationally under the Species at Risk Act, as well as 221 provincially rare species.

Forest home to many

The Backus Woods addition contains upland sand plain forest and forested swamp, both largely undisturbed and of significant value to the many rare species these habitats support. Species such as Louisiana waterthrush to eastern foxsnake, and Blanding’s turtle to Jefferson salamander may be found here.

Big picture

As with all of NCC’s work, our goal is to conserve landscapes that allow for the integrity of whole systems to be preserved. This addition adds onto the 5,000 acres (2,025 hectares) already conserved by NCC in this area, as well as the 2,337 acres (945 hectares) owned by the Long Point Conservation Authority. Working together we are building a network of conservation lands in an area of Canada that is under intense development pressure, a major threat to the plants and animals that live here.

Supporters of the project

The Backus Woods addition has been conserved by NCC thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group through the TD Forests Program, and the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program.

Learn more

Read about our other TD Forests conservation projects.


  • NCC Ontario Region October 31, 2013 - 9:48
    NCC owns and manages about 5,100 acres of land in Norfolk County, most of it in South Walsingham. Of this land, about one third (1,800 acres) was farmed at the time of acquisition. Assuming a land base of 403,869 acres (according to Norfolk County's location and demographic web page), NCC owns and manages about 1.26 percent of land in Norfolk County, most of which was and remains as rich and diverse natural habitat. NCC's lands are important for ensuring that the area's many rare and special plants and wildlife can thrive and reproduce. These places also provide attractive recreational opportunities such as walking, birding, hunting, fishing and more. For more information about NCC's conservation work in Norfolk County, please call: 1-800-465-0029 x2250.
  • Anonymous October 29, 2013 - 10:18
    Most of the property NCC has purchased in Norfolk County is Valuable Farmland. Its definitely not all forests and trees. They are killing the farming industry in Norfolk County, the main way of life for people living there.
  • Anonymous August 10, 2013 - 7:27
    I cottage at the Port Rowan area and have noticed a number of new trails established by the Nature Conservancy Canada Foundation of Garfield Weston. I am looking for some sort of allowable access guide to the different areas. Some seem to be somewhat private and others tend to welcome walkers.

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