Hello! I had some great questions about our beloved Ardagh Bluffs at a recent community meeting and I wanted to share the city staff answers with all of you.
Parks staff have tried to provide you with as much information as possible to answer your inquiry regarding the operations and maintenance of the Ardagh Bluffs Park, which is a provincially designated Area of Natural and Scientific Interest of approximately 500 acres and containing over 17 km of marked trails.
- We do not have a separate budget line for the park, it is part of the overall maintenance requirements of several activities (e.g. trails maintenance, parks maintenance, forestry operations, etc.). There is a Park plan that was approved by Council in 2007 that has estimated capital and operating costs for elements of its management.
- As it is a provincially significant natural area with known endangered species present, the only maintenance we complete on vegetation is trailside maintenance, hazard tree removals and some select poison ivy control. We are looking at developing a city wide invasive species management plan. If you know of areas within the park where you see invasive species we would like to know about them. Our staff are trained in identifying some of the high priority species and marking them on the EDDS collector APP, but there may be others you have seen in your walks.
- We annually remove anywhere from twenty to over a hundred hazard trees from around the periphery of the parkland (most often behind residential lots) and will be continuing the ash removals as needed throughout parkland across the city as part of the Emerald Ash Borer program. Any hazard tree concerns you have can be reported to Service Barrie (Service.Barrie@barrie.ca) for our urban forestry staff to inspect and address.
- Due to the nature of late successional deciduous forests, fire cycles in this area are in the 1000-10,000 years. However, Barrie Fire and Emergency Services do have emergency and response plans in place for dealing with both grass and forest fires. Our dedicated fire professionals have responded to grass fires and small fires within many natural areas across Barrie.
- There were (6) identified foot bridges from the original Park Plan that were not funded for construction due to competing financial needs, however recent changes in our ability to build our own bridges will make construction and trail improvements more feasible in the near future.
If you have any further questions or need clarification please do not hesitate to contact us.
Kevin Bradley, B.A., MLA
Manager of Parks & Forestry