Open Space: Why it’s important

Forests, meadows and wetlands protect water, provide habitat for wildlife and support human health and recreation. Communities that take the time and care to protect their open spaces as natural areas usually find their open spaces are taking care of them in so many important ways.

Over the years, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, with the help of theĀ Hamilton Conservation Foundation, has acquired almost 4,400 ha (10,900 acres) of open space in the watershed it serves.The value of HCA's open space protection program is considerable:

  • Open spaces within and in close proximity to urban centers increase livability and enhance property values.
  • Open spaces are essential for leisure activities, organized sports and cultural endeavours.
  • The mental and physical health benefits of parks and green spaces have been demonstrated and can be proven to be actual preventative measures that impact positively on health care and health care costs.
  • Green open spaces can be considered an area's "lungs" that offset the effects of air pollution.
  • The protection of natural areas can help resolve water-related environmental problems. Protection of wetlands, for instance, will remove the need for costly and environmentally questionable flood-control structures.
  • Open spaces provide the needed habitat for mammals, birds, insects and seeds to survive.
  • Open spaces offer environmental education opportunities.
  • Exploring natural places gives us spiritual renewal, feelings of well-being, and a sense of harmony with the broader community. Therefore, the presence of protected natural areas within our urban fabric can serve to counter-balance the stress and strain of modern life.

For all of the above reasons - and not even considering the fact that preserving nature might extend humankind's own survival on this planet - natural places enrich our lives, allow us to be healthy and help us to cultivate our "higher" selves.

Learn more about our numerous conservation areas.