People have long struggled to reconcile our desire to reshape the moraine's landscape, with our reverence for its natural beauty and protection of its environmental functions. The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, released in April 2002, divides the moraine into various "Land Use Designations" that are designed to allow limited development to continue on the moraine, while its important natural features and services are preserved.

Land Use Designations

Natural Core Areas (38% of Moraine area)

These areas are identified by high concentrations of key natural heritage features, hydrologically sensitive features and landforms. Permitted uses include: fish, forest and wildlife management; flood and erosion control projects; agricultural uses; transportation, infrastructure and utilities (with demonstrated need); home businesses; home industries; bed and breakfast establishments; farm vacation homes; low-intensity recreational uses; un-serviced parks; and accessory uses to all of the above.

Natural Linkage Areas (24% of Moraine area)

These are central corridors connecting core areas, and river valleys. Permitted uses include all of those included above in Natural Core Areas as well as aggregate extraction and wayside pits.

Countryside Areas (30% of Moraine area)

These are rural, agricultural, recreational and extraction lands. Permitted uses include all of those included in Natural Core and Linkage areas as well as most agriculture-related uses, small-scale commercial, industrial and institutional uses, major recreational uses, and limited rural residential development.

Settlement Areas (8% of Moraine area)

This includes all urban lands. All uses are permitted by applicable official plan.

To find out how living on the Moraine affects your property, please visit the ORM Interactive Atlas on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Website or contact your local municipality's Planning Department as administrators of the Conservation Plan. The atlas shows the boundary, location, and land uses of the ORM.

Further Reading

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Technical Paper Series

Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust: Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve 18462 Bathurst Street Newmarket Ontario L3Y 4V9 Tel:(905)853-3171