In contacting the GRCA to request a tree planting in Chilligo this spring we had to come up with a “timeline” which we’re thinking may be of interest :
Spring-Summer 2005 –Â Hespeler and Beaverdale residents begin to notice destructive ATV tracks in the natural areas along the Speed River (Chilligo Valley), including newly formed ATV trails running through Ellis Creek.Â Many trails become deep muddy areas inaccessible to walkers.Â Homemade signs are posted. People talk.
Aug., Sept. 2005 – A couple of residents begin to make calls and discover that a large portion of the area is owned by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA.)Â IllegalÂ trailÂ usage byÂ motorized vehicle increases.
Oct. 2005 â€“ One of our members appears on the front page of The Record along with an article about the problem written by Bob Burtt.. Phone calls and e-mails increase.Â IllegalÂ trailÂ usage byÂ motorized vehicle increases.
Dec. 2005 – GRCA staff erect usage signs and mark out ownership with yellow paint. IllegalÂ trailÂ usage byÂ motorized vehicles increases.
Summer – Autumn 2006 – Many more phone calls, e-mails and calls to the Police are made. Local councilor Rick Cowsill, members of City Green and staff from The Region visit the area and voiceÂ disapprovalÂ of motorized vehicle use in the Chilligo area.
Spring-Summer 2007 –Â Much hard work pays off, as local ATV riders get the message not to use the Chilligo Valley trails.Â AÂ decrease in the illegalÂ motorized vehicle use on the trails is seen, however no physical barriers are put into place to protect this area and ATV riders continue to illegally ride on nearby Ministry of Transportation and City of Cambridge land.
Oct. 2007 â€“ In an effort to encourage long term protection for thisÂ valuable green spaceÂ theÂ FriendsOfChilligo.org website is launched and new members join the cause.Â Â
Summer 2008 – The Grand River Conservation AuthorityÂ announce that they plan to purchase the Ministry of Transportation lands that abut their present Chilligo Conservation Area. Chilligo will grow 63 per cent, gaining 19 hectares or 47 acres, for a total area of 49 hectares (121 acres).
Spring 2009 — The possibilities are endless — What youâ€™re reading here is part of a letter requesting that the GRCA do a tree planting to stake their claim on this green oasis in our city.
And we encourage you all to use the Chilligo Conservation Area as often as possible for whatever ecologically sustainable and respectful activities that your amazing and creative imagination comes up with.