To exemplify that a nature reserve such as Marcy’s Woods can be successfully preserved under private ownership, the DiCienzo family has placed attention on extensive restoration projects across Marcy’s Woods’ biodiverse lands. These projects are privately funded with the goal to alleviate any human impact from the area, while allowing human involvement and enjoyment. Achieving this balance is a continuous undertaking at all nature reserves, including Marcy’s Woods.
Eliminating negative human impact on the sensitive wetlands, sand dunes, and flora and fauna found in Marcy’s Woods is of great importance. Tasks include regular garbage clean up, eliminating access to the sand dunes by the consolidation of trails through fencing and blocking of trails with logs, and on-site supervision. These measures provide and encourage the natural ecosystem with the time and lack of interference which is required to rebuild and heal itself.
To prevent unauthorized access to Marcy’s Woods a combination of police presence, private security contractors and local resident involvement has been established. In the past, vandalism, bonfires, hunting, logging, unauthorized anchoring of boats along the shore, and motorized vehicle use were common occurrences and caused unnecessary damage and stress on the delicate ecosystems.
Previously, up to 100 boaters per day anchored off of Marcy’s Woods shore. Boaters would climb and play on the dunes, severely impacting the natural environment. The implementation of signage, security and buoys has helped restrict the amount of access from the water to the shore, improving the stability and foliage of the sand dunes.
Before the private ownership of Marcy’s Woods, ATV, snowmobile and dirt bike use throughout Marcy’s Woods was a considerable problem in the conservation of the site. The frequency of tire tracks warping protected areas, creating new paths and damaging sand dunes and other areas. By banning motorized vehicles in Marcy’s Woods and erecting fences and barriers around the sand dunes the impact of motorized vehicles has already been reduced by 80% allowing for natural regeneration.
The combination of these initiatives will continue to be built upon to fulfill conservancy efforts. These efforts will not only help to stabilize the environment of Marcy’s Woods, but also encourages growth and ensures the protection of the species that make it their home.
Ongoing Conservation of Marcy’s Woods
In 1984 Point Abino, where Marcy’s Woods is located, was identified as one of 38 critical sites by Carolinian Canada. The areas were identified as critical unprotected natural areas in the Carolinian life zone of Canada. As a result of this designation, conservation efforts in Carolinian Canada sites have been directed towards securing these sites through a variety of means including municipal designation, private stewardship, education, public awareness, and purchase through private ownership.
Marcy’s Woods is an example of purchase through private ownership in an effort to maintain and conserve this section of Carolinian Forest. Marcy’s Woods is, one of the most significant privately owned natural areas in Ontario’s Carolinian Forest Zone, its conservation and protection will help ensure that the natural heritage of the region will remain a priority.
Green Belt Plan
Marcy’s Woods also falls under the Green Belt Plan, a protection plan established in February 2005 that identifies and preserves greenspaces and allows for intelligently planned growth. The Green Belt also provides permanent protection for approximately 1.8 million acres of environmentally sensitive and agricultural land around the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Environmentally Significant Area
Marcy’s Woods has been designated by the regional municipality as an Environmentally Significant Area, as it is home to numerous nationally vulnerable and or nationally threatened species. Inhabitants include three nationally/regionally threatened birds, thirteen birds of regional significance, eleven birds of regional concern, a nationally vulnerable mammal; the southern flying squirrel, three nationally and provincially rare reptiles and amphibians and is one of only three sites in the world with old growth eastern hemlock.