Environmentally Significant Areas in the City of London
In the City of London, 16 natural areas are currently designated as “Environmentally Significant Areas” or ESAs. These areas represent a variety of habitats, including upland forests, wetlands and river corridors. The ESAs are an integral part of London’s proposed Natural Heritage System connecting parks, valley lands and other open spaces. In addition to the official ESAs, London has many other natural areas within the City limits.
Eight of the 16 ESAs are publicly-owned (the others are on private lands) and are managed by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), in partnership with the City of London.
The UTRCA’s management objectives for these areas are to protect the ESAs, to ensure public safety, to encourage partnership and education, and to promote and enforce proper use. Staff regularly visit the ESAs to carry out duties such as:
• identifying and dealing with encroachment by property owners into the ESAs,
• cutting hazard trees to ensure safe use of the trails,
• repairing and replacing bridges, staircases and boardwalks,
• installing signs and trail markers and removing garbage,
• restricting unofficial access points to protect sensitive vegetation, and
• enforcing rules to protect vegetation, wildlife and people under the Provincial Offences Act.
There are links to maps and brochures for each of these ESAs on their webpages. Brochures are also available free of charge from:
• Tourism London Information Centre (696 Wellington Road South, in Westminster Ponds ESA) and the Dundas Street Information Centre (267 Dundas Street at Wellington)
• Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (519-451-2800 ext 281)
• City of London Planning Division (519-661-4980)
Rules to remember in London’s ESAs:
• Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
• Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow and/or white blazes).
• Bicycles are only permitted only on multi-use pathways.
• Access is allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
• Keep the ESAs litter free.
• All pets must be on leash (2 m/6 ft max.).
• Do not feed fish or wildlife.
• Releasing or dumping fish or wildlife of any kind is prohibited.
• Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.
See additional rules on signs at ESA entrances.
If you have questions or concerns about management of London’s Environmentally Significant Areas, please contact the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (phone: 519-451-2800 ext. 281).