Backus Woods, ON (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

Backus Woods, ON (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

Expanding the forest

Blue-spotted salamander (Photo by Iron Chris/Wikimedia Commons)

Blue-spotted salamander (Photo by Iron Chris/Wikimedia Commons)

In southwestern Ontario’s Norfolk County lies an incredible natural oasis known as Backus Woods. This spectacular older-growth forest is home to some of the oldest living trees in Ontario and is one of the best remaining examples of Carolinian forest in Canada. A haven for species at risk, Backus Woods provides important habitat for prothonotary and cerulean warblers, Louisiana waterthrush, eastern foxsnake, Blanding’s turtle and Jefferson salamander.

For generations, people near and far have grown up exploring the forest paths, swamps and streams of Backus Woods. For many, it was where they discovered a love for the natural world. For others, it is where they go to relax and recharge. The forest’s roots grow deep within the community. 

Now, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has an opportunity to expand the 1,850-acre (749-hectare) Backus Woods protected area by acquiring two surrounding pieces of land in the east and southeast. Together these properties total 173 acres (71 hectares). By adding nearly 10 per cent to Backus Woods, NCC will increase a connected network of habitat for the many rare and at-risk species that need the forest to thrive. It will also mean a future addition to the existing trail network that thousands of people enjoy every year.

Of the $1.8 million needed to conserve and care for these lands, two thirds has already been pledged, and we need your help to raise the final third by the end of June 2018. Make a gift now, or contact Pia Kaukoranta, development coordinator, Nature Conservancy of Canada, at 416-932-3202 ext. 2222 for more information.

With seven public trails covering 21 kilometres, Backus Woods is open to the public to enjoy year-round. The forest makes a great place to hike, snowshoe, ski, birdwatch and generally enjoy nature. For individuals with mobility challenges, motorized tours are also offered throughout the year. For more information, visit the Backus Woods Nature Destinations page.

Backus Woods is a spectacular gem in the heart of the Carolinian life zone, one of Canada’s smallest ecoregions. Comprising less than one per cent of the country's land mass, Carolinian Canada is home to 25 per cent of the country’s population and provides habitat for nearly 25 per cent of its endangered species.

NCC has been caring for Backus Woods since 2011, and enhancing this unique habitat and beloved conservation destination ever since, thanks to the generous support of The  W. Garfield Weston Foundation, TD Bank Group through the TD Forests Program, and the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program.

Help NCC expand Backus Woods today!

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