‘Critical forest management’ to take place at Belle Park

Photo by Christian Keybets.

Next week, those near Belle Park may notice forestry crews at work on the City of Kingston property. Professional crews will be on-site beginning Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, to conduct forest thinning, according to a release from the City. 

As part of this work, approximately 20 to 30 per cent of the existing poplar trees within selected plantation areas will be cut and chipped on-site, the City said, with no material leaving Belle Park. According to the release, this is a “critical maintenance activity” aimed at improving the overall health of the poplar trees. 

“The poplar forests at Belle Park were planted nearly 15 years ago to assist on-site pumping of landfill-impacted groundwater while also creating a beautiful space to enjoy nature in the Kingston community,” said Paul MacLatchy, Environment Director at the City. “Many of these fast-growing hybrid trees have now reached maturity and need this maintenance to continue to grow and flourish.” 

Thinning limits crowding between trees and promotes the growth of larger, mature trees, the City noted, adding that it also provides an opportunity to remove diseased, damaged and dead trees from the forest. Once completed, the thinning will help the remaining trees thrive and reduce the risk of disease in the remaining forest, according to the release. 

“We ask for your patience as our crews complete this critical forest management work that will allow our healthy and mature trees more resources and room to grow,” added MacLatchy. 

Belle Park, at 701 Montreal Street, sits on a former landfill site. According to the City, planting the hybrid poplar forest has helped prevent contaminants from leaching into the Cataraqui River. To date, over 15,000 phreatophyte poplar trees have been planted at the park. 

The City expects maintenance to be complete by the end of March 2023. 

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