Event connects kids to nature in the almost complete Rouge National Urban Park


Toronto-Today CPAWS Wildlands League is celebrating the protection of nature in the city through its 4th Annual Paddle the Rouge. The group is delighted Premier Wynne, a keen paddler, will be joining them. “Everyone knows Premier Wynne is a runner but not many may know she is also an avid paddler,” says Janet Sumner, Executive Director for the conservation group. “We’ve seen her paddle rapids in northern Ontario although she won’t be needing to do that today in the calm flat waters of the Rouge,” said Sumner.

Paddle the Rouge helps raise awareness for protection of a natural gem, the almost complete Rouge National Urban Park, located in the Greater Toronto Area. The conservation group offers free Learn to Paddle lessons for youth and already has 100 kids registered. It also offers an opportunity for people to rent canoes or kayaks in the afternoon and explore the wetland and river for themselves in a safe environment.

“We take youth of all skills and experience and introduce them to canoeing or kayaking on the Rouge River in the heart of the GTA. It’s part of our overall philosophy to inspire the next generation of leaders who will be here not only for Rouge National Urban Park but for all of Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness areas,” Sumner added.

CPAWS Wildlands League also welcomes federal Minister Catherine McKenna. It is her second time at Paddle the Rouge. Minister McKenna is a skilled paddler and has been a great champion of Canada’s national parks, its endangered species and making sure Canada meets its international commitments to reduce carbon pollution and protect the country’s remarkable biodiversity.

“We are so close to completing the vision of a protected ecological connection from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. This would not have been possible without Minister McKenna taking a keen interest in this file early in her mandate and shepherding it through,” says Anna Baggio, Director of Conservation Planning for the group.

Bill C-18, aimed at strengthening protections for Rouge National Urban Park, cleared an important hurdle recently when it passed Third Reading of the Senate. The Bill enshrines ecological integrity as the first priority when managing Rouge National Urban Park. CPAWS Wildlands League is thrilled that park managers will have strong legal tools to protect the park from the inevitable pressures of the surrounding urban environment. This includes an explicit legal mandate to consider nature first and foremost when faced with proposals for new roads, parking lots or other development proposals.

Rouge National Urban Park is located in the eastern Greater Toronto Area and when complete will house much of the lower Rouge River watershed – one of the last flowing into western Lake Ontario to remain free of urban development. It protects a rare Carolinian forest and is home to over 1700 species of plants and animals, including 23 species at risk.

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Photos from the event will be available.

For more information:
Anna Baggio, CPAWS Wildlands League, 416-453-3285 mobile or visit PaddletheRouge.com


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