A forest landscape.

Summerstown Forest tree harvesting

This summer approximately 36 hectares of the Summertown Forest will undergo a select harvest as SDG Counties works to mitigate the damage created by the Emerald Ash Borer - an invasive insect species that has devastated Ash trees in our region. In order to protect the public, and complete the harvest as efficently as possible, the trail system at Summerstown Forest will be closed for the duration of the work.

The harvest will be completed by a local contractor and will begin by mid-July. It's anticipated the trail system will reopen for public use before the 2024/2025 winter season.

The decision to close the trail system for the harvest was not easy. We understand Summerstown Trails is a popular destination for residents, as well as visitors from eastern Ontario, and western Quebec.

We apologize for this inconvenience. We're hoping some of the details on this page, which includes an explanation of what the Emerald Ash Borer is, as well as local alternatives to the Summerstown Forest, will allow residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors in SDG Counties.


What is the Emerald Ash Borer?
Emeral ash borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive wood-boring beetle, native to parts of Asia. It was detected in the Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario areas in 2002, but likely existed undetected in North America since the 1990s. Since its arrival, the EAB has been rapidly spreading across North America, devastating the ash tree population, killing up to 99 per cent of the species in its path. The EAB continues to spread in all directions across North America where ash trees are present.

The EAB attacks both healthy and stressed Ash trees when its larvae tunnel through the tree’s vascular system which delivers water, nutrients and sugars throughout the tree. The EAB will only travel a few kilometers per year on its own; however it can be easily dispersed long distances by people moving infested materials, such as firewood, logs, lumber, and woodchips.

How is the problem being managed at Summerstown Trails?

Ash trees, along with other trees that are declining, will be methodically removed to allow for the residual trees to flourish. The SDG Counties Forest is certified through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, and adheres to international standards for sustainable forest management. The intent of the harvest is to improve forest health, salvage infested ash trees and maintain or improve the ecological value of the property.

Nature trails in SDG Counties