Comments from Robin Reilly
Supoerintendent, Sandbanks Provincial Park
One-Hundred-Thousand Trees!Just over fifty years ago Sandbanks Provincial Park was two parks... one around Outlet Beach and one at Sandbanks Beach.
The decision to consolidate these two small parks involved purchasing some intervening farmland, forest, homes and cottages. That acquired farmland goes out of agricultural production and gradually reverts to natural conditions. It is a very slow process for farm fields to become forests. Along the way unwanted, invasive species can easily gain a foothold.
To help with forest establishment the Friends of Sandbanks have been contributing both annual financial support as well as labour toward the purchase and planting of native trees. The 50 Million Trees Program of Trees Ontario (now Forests Ontario) was heavily involved in this venture; primarily in planting huge numbers of smaller pines and spruce. The Friends funding was mostly directed to smaller numbers of larger hardwood trees and shrubs (oaks, alders, birch, dogwoods, cherry etc).
In more recent years the Friends supported a project to plant disease-resistant endangered butternuts. Every tree and shrub adds up, and by 2016 the 100,000 tree-threshold was crossed. Planting will continue in the coming years, with the anticipation of tens of thousands of other small trees and shrubs being introduced into those vacant farmlands.
Future special projects will include a ceremonial planting of 150 maples and the first stages of the reintroduction of disease-resistant American Elms.
The Friends' tree-planting efforts over the years have made a remarkable contribution both to the Park`s scenery and its wildlife habitat.
Robin Reilly, Superintendent, Sandbanks Provincial Park
Walnut Tree, over 200 years old at Hyatt House, West Point; Image 16-7495a, John A. Brebner