By Vivian Collings
The Highlands Corridor initiative is well underway for the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT), and they are seeking the collaboration of more landowners in the area.
The Corridor covers 100,000 hectares of Crown, private, and municipal land in Southern Haliburton County.
HHLT is aiming to have the Highlands Corridor be declared a Conservation Reserve under the provisions of provincial Crown land use designation to protect its wetlands, wildlife, and species at risk.
A reception at Queen’s Park in June to speak with Ontario Minister of Environment David Piccini’s staff was held, along with 80 other attendees, about naming the 60,000 hectares of Crown Land in the Corridor as a Conservation Reserve.
“We were very encouraged to see Prince Edward County designate Monarch Point as a conservation reserve, which I believe is the first one in a number of years. We’re hoping that that’s setting a trend,” said Huw Morgan, member of the HHLT board of directors.
While working towards this goal, HHLT needs a little more help from those that own land within the Corridor.
“The important part now is our Partners in Conservation program,” Morgan said “A big portion of the Corridor is Crown Land, but there’s a lot of private land as well.”
Their Partners in Conservation program is part of the Ontario government’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program.
Landowners who plan and follow an approved Managed Forest Plan on their property will be taxed 25 per cent of their regular municipal residential property tax rate.
With the help of Paul Heaven, an HHLT biologist, five landowners can become Partners in Conservation and receive the reduced tax rate at this time.
“We get our biologist Paul Heaven to put together, in consultation with the landowner, a forest management program that goes through the government process, and if they qualify, they get property taxes, and the forest management program is of course what we’re interested in because it conserves the property in its pristine form,” Morgan said.
For more information about HHLT’s Partners in Conservation Program, visit www.haliburtonlandtrust.ca/2023/06/2023-partners-in-conservation-openings.