Green Durham Association is a group of like-minded citizens who live near and/or who care about these lands. We work in partnership with municipalities, business, conservation organizations, foundations, governments of every level, trail user groups and landowners to achieve our aims.


Approval for bridge replacement across Duffins Creek on Uxbridge Pickering Townline. GDA agrees to cover 40% of cost of new bridge estimated to cost $60,000.

GDA makes a comprehensive written submission on Ontario Bill 23 to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy and continues to advocate for the protection of the Greenbelt.

GDA organizes another Chain Saw Workshop to educate trail volunteers on safety practices.

GDA volunteers provide hundreds of volunteer labour hours to clean up and clear trail sections particularly after the violent wind storm that pounds the Uxbridge area and its surrounding forests.


GDA volunteers provide hundreds of hours of volunteer labour to maintain the trails. 

 Unsafe Boardwalks are removed along the Pickering Townline and replaced with sustainable gravel base.

GDA spearheads new parking lot expansion project at the Towers parking lot on Concession 7 in Uxbridge which results in 50 new parking spaces and much safer driving conditions for the community.

GDA continues to weigh in on the provincial lands issues and continues to push for missing trail linkages.

GDA makes written submissions and reviews of Greenbelt expansion and quarry proposals.

GDA donates $5,000 towards the purchase of infrared trail counters. GDA volunteers install the counters at seven entrance points to collect up-to-date information on the number of visitors to the trails. This information is collected by TRCA and shared with GDA.


GDA volunteers provide hundreds of hours of volunteer labour to maintain the trails.

GDA volunteers remove unsafe boardwalks along the Pickering Town Line offshoot trails.

GDA hosts a local townhall meeting with Ontario Headwaters offering information about fill importation, proposed changes in re-zoning rules and the state of local aggregate pits.

GDA volunteers start work on missing trail linkages between Uxbridge and Conservation lands.

GDA spearheads new parking lot expansion project and receives approval for the project from the Trans Canada Trail Foundation who donates $50 000 to the cause. GDA donates $20 000 and work begins on the new parking lot by the Township of Uxbridge.

Sixteen beautiful wooden benches constructed by GDA volunteers (wood donated by local GDA member). Benches are installed throughout the Walker Woods/Wilder Forest/Brock & Goodwood Track and Glen Major forest by GDA volunteers.


GDA donates $14,000 and our volunteers create a new trail spur link to Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) through the Goodwood Tract to link with the Oakridge Trail.

GDA continues to make submissions regarding the ongoing planning process over the Provincial Lands.

GDA volunteers provide hundreds of hours of volunteer labour to maintain the trails.


GDA signs the first Trail Agreement with TRCA allowing GDA volunteers to clear and maintain trails.

GDA makes their written submission on Ontario Bill 66.

GDA continues to make submissions regarding the ongoing planning process over the Provincial Lands.

GDA volunteers provide hundreds of hours of volunteer labour to maintain the trails.


GDA secures a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop a plan for the Goodwood Tract to link to the new Rouge National Urban Park.

GDA hosted a celebration of parks and trails at the Goodwood Hall.

Michael Tucker receives the Charles Sauriol TRCA award.

Opening of the Michael Tucker Trail.

New posts and maps installed throughout East and West Duffins Headwaters lands under TRCA jurisdiction.


Additional 21 km2 transferred to RNUP extending the Park into Durham Region and Uxbridge Township. RNUP total land area is now 79.1 km.Opening of Trestle Bridge in Uxbridge.

GDA facilitated land acquisition by TRCA of the Wilder Forest, donated by Bill Wilder.

Printed Map project began in earnest.


Trans Canada Trail off-road connection between Uxbridge and trails to the south is completed.


Green Door Alliance and Durham Conservation Association merge to become Green Durham Association (GDA).

Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) is born. Government of Canada commits to work towards creation of a national urban park in Rouge Valley close to the Greater Toronto Area.


Uxbridge Countryside Preserve opens.

Greenbelt Act is passed by the Government of Ontario.


Stewardship Committee for East Duffins Headwaters is formed by TRCA and chaired by GDA.


Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act is enacted by the Government of Ontario.


Green Door Alliance directors and patrons create the Durham Conservation Association (DCA) to fight proposed housing developments and participate at Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority begins to develop a management plan for more than 4000 acres in the Duffins Creek watershed.

GDA contributes $100,000 towards the cost of a 96 acre abandoned aggregate pit located on the 6th Concession of Uxbridge Township that is purchased by the TRCA.

Pickering Rural Association members form a registered charity named Green Door Alliance to focus on policy and research regarding the Federal and Provincial land holdings and related Pickering issues.


Plans for airport are halted, citizen efforts regarding both Federal and Provincial land expropriations continue as Pickering Rural Association.


18,600 of acres in Pickering expropriated by the Federal government for an international airport and 25,000 acres are expropriated by the Provincial government for a planned city. People or Planes (POP forms to fight the airport.

Adam Conyers

Adam Conyers is a retired financial executive having had a 40 year career including over 25 years in senior executive roles. After moving to the Claremont area in 1989, Adam embraced living in the rural environment. He has been active with GDA and its predecessor, Durham Conservation Association, for close to 20 years as both Treasurer and a Director.

Michie Garland

Michie Garland grew up in Northern Ontario (Kenora), and then attended Queen's University from 1971-78. He settled in Toronto, practiced corporate/commercial law there for 35 years, retiring in 2015. As a volunteer, Michie had a long involvement with Moorelands Community Services, and its wilderness childrens' camp on Kawagama Lake. He served on the board for seven years, including two years as president.

Brian Buckles

Brian Buckles is a retired Senior Executive of a major international financial institution and along with his wife Jane is a long time Uxbridge resident. He has been active in his local community, particularly with respect to land use issues, beginning in 1972 with People or Planes after their home was expropriated for the then proposed Pickering Airport. Brian has been appointed to a number of provincial and federal advisory committees, including the Seaton Advisory Committee, the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Oak Ridges Moraine, the North Pickering Land Exchange Review Panel, and the Federal Green Space Advisory Committee. Brian is also a member of many conservation and citizen organizations and works closely with the Township of Uxbridge, the TRCA, and other conservation partners to promote land stewardship, raise funds, and secure trail and natural heritage corridors linking conservation lands and communities.

John McCutcheon

John moved with his wife Pat to the Uxbridge area in the early 1980’s. They placed an environmental easement on their lovely rural property. John has had a lifelong interest in the outdoors and is closely associated with the World Wildlife Fund. He is a director of the John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation and past Chair of the Uxbridge Town Trail Committee.

Liz Calvin

Liz Calvin is a long time Uxbridge resident and worked in Durham Region as a public health nurse for more than 30 years. During those decades she enjoyed working with families and communities on many locally-driven projects. Her work with communities has continued since she retired from the Health Department. She completed a Masters in Public Health in 2015, using her studies as an opportunity to explore the role that nature and access to green space play in our health. Liz has chaired GDA since 2015.

Susan Fleming

Susan Fleming is an independent Canadian documentary filmmaker who has been producing and directing films since 1989. Ever curious, her life quest is to explore this strange world of ours - a place where the familiar, if truly examined, is often revealed to be strangely alien. Her award-winning docs and television series have been broadcast across the globe on a variety of networks including: The CBC, The BBC, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, PBS Nature, Planéte, ARTE France & Germany, SBS Australia and NHK Japan. She is an award-winning Science and Nature Filmmaker whose films have taken viewers everywhere from deep underground to explore the secret world of ants to high up in the tree-tops in the dark of night to witness the tentative first steps of baby raccoons.

Bob Henderson

Bob Henderson taught Outdoor Education and Environmental Inquiry for 29 years at McMaster University. His latest book is More Trails, More Trails: Exploring Canada’s Travel Heritage. He is also the author of Every Trail Has a Story: Heritage Travel in Canada and co-editor of two other books on Canadian history and environmental issues. Bob is a keen trail user and active in a variety of environmental groups. Currently he is the editor of Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education and involved with the Schools and Colleges group of the Association for Experiential Education with whom in 2006 he was recipient of the Michael Stratton Practitioner of the Year award.

Geoffrey Vernon

Geoffrey Vernon is a lifelong visitor to Uxbridge Township where he continues to enjoy a property close to Walker Woods with his family. After a number of years in banking, Geoff's appreciation of natural heritage led him to study Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. Geoff has been an active trail volunteer with the TRCA and GDA for many years.

Robert Ferguson

Robert Ferguson lives in the City of Kawartha Lakes Township and is a frequent visitor to East Duffins Headwaters properties, whether it be to cross country ski, cycle or walk. After a career as a teacher for the Durham District School Board, he continues to serve the community as a member of the Kawartha Cycling Club and as a Can Bike cycling instructor. He has volunteered for GDA over the years, and has long had an interest in broader land use issues such as the Greenbelt and the Federal lands in Pickering.

David Morley

David Morley is a member of the Order of Canada.  His career has taken him to Latin America, Africa and Asia and led many humanitarian organizations, including UNICEF Canada and Medecins sans Frontieres / Doctors without Borders Canada.  He first walked the hills and forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine when he was a toddler when Jim Walker first invited David’s parents to visit his cabin, and has been connected to this part of the world ever since.

The Legacy of Michael Tucker

Michael Tucker moved to his country property south of Uxbridge in 1985. After retiring from Civil Engineering, he became involved in local conservation issues. Michael served as President of Green Durham Association from 2000 to 2015, a productive time for GDA during which funds were raised to maintain trails, create parking lots, entrances and signage, and land was secured to create trail connections and new areas for public enjoyment.

Michael was involved with many other local committees, projects and initiatives related to trails. The efforts of Michael and others have resulted in a unique concentration of public lands and trails across the southern part of Uxbridge Township, and northwards into and throughout the town. Michael’s direct, fair-minded and practical approach, his perseverance and his attention to detail helped advance the vision he and others developed: of publicly accessible trails, of trails connecting communities, and of stewardship of these lands.

In October 2016, the Michael Tucker Trail was officially opened. This is a great trail for families – for most of the gently rolling trail you can walk side by side and talk. The route travels through several distinct forest areas, which are lovely in every season: in the summer it is deeply shaded most of the way, in the fall the leaves overhead are glorious, in the winter it is an easy ski or snowshoe trail, and in the early spring wildflowers such as trout lilies and trilliums are abundant.

On November 3, 2016, Michael was recognized by the Living City with the Charles Sauriol Leadership Award.

This is the video that was presented at the award ceremony.

The Legacy of Jim Walker

Walker Woods is named after James Woods Walker and his wife Olwen. This property was his passion and, at one time, the best and largest private forest operation in southern Ontario. As a young Toronto lawyer, Jim discovered the area during the early 1930’s while skiing. In 1934, he convinced a farmer on the 6th Concession that he had an interest in a square log cabin that the farmer had earmarked for a pig pen. The initial purchase was 4 acres for $350.00 and mostly mortgaged. Jim and Olwen repaired and expanded the original structure, which still exists and is rented today from the TRCA by one of the Walker nieces.

Released from the military following WW2 Jim began to expand his land holdings. The lands were mostly barren and dry abandoned farms and often covered by creeping blowsands. The forest that existed had been “high graded’ meaning the best trees had been culled leaving poor quality scrub bush. Between 1947 and 1962 he acquired 15 such properties totaling 1,800 acres, often with structures included, for as low as $25/acre. By 1948, he had enough land to begin his forest operation and hired Victor Symes as manager. His first task was to make a forest. This required planting over 2 million trees including Scots and Red pine and a wide variety of hardwood trees including oak, maple, beech, ash, cherry and black walnut. He used seedlings mostly from the Orono nursery but later developed his own nursery for certain species. He was a true visionary, often developing techniques of planting and forest management well advanced of those of the Department of Lands and Forests as the Ministry of Natural Resources was then known. He began to operate it as profitable private forest and he had multiple ventures including Christmas trees, hardwood boards, pulpwood, cordwood from the pine plantation thinnings (turned into pressure treated lumber for landscaping) and firewood. The boards were milled at a still standing sawmill and the firewood split by an early homemade version of a log splitter.

In 1978 John Rose replaced Mr. Symes and continued to work for Mr. Walker until the property was sold in 1991. The TRCA purchased 1062 acres (about 570 acres had been sold off earlier and another 170 acres given to Ontario Heritage-now part of the Glen Major Forest). The price was close to 5 million dollars and although the price was significant Mr. Walker clearly wanted his land to be preserved as a whole and in public hands. Jim died in 1995 and Olwen survived until 2007. John Rose and his wife Chris continued to live on the property and maintain some of the 6 houses associated with the land holdings. Many of the wider trails are the remnants of the roads used by the logging crews and you may come across large open areas which were where the logs were stacked. You can still see lots of the old structures like the sawmill, the drying shed for boards, two implement barns, a windmill for power and several houses. The TRCA rents out several of the houses and uses a couple of the barns for storage.

Those of us who use the East Duffins Headwaters properties are deeply indebted to James Walker. The forest that covers these hills is directly his creation and although the TRCA holdings now are quadruple the piece purchased from Mr. Walker, his was the anchor piece and set the model for conservation in the Uxbridge area and beyond. We all should leave such a legacy. Thank you, Jim.

The Legacy of Lorne Almack

Lorne Almack, P. Eng. graduated as a Pilot Officer RCAF in 1944 and in Engineering from the University of Toronto in1949. Lorne and his wife Rhoda raised their four children on their Claremont farm. Lorne had a career in industrial management and consulting; he commuted to work in downtown Toronto on a train, which at that time operated daily service to and from Havelock to Union Station.

In 1972, Lorne and thousands of other residents of the 7530-hectare area of farms and villages near his home received a letter from the federal government advising them that their properties were to be expropriated to build a second major airport for Toronto. As Lorne said in a 2012 interview for Ontario Nature magazine, he was “already an ardent naturalist” and because of the expropriation “became a self-described radical environmentalist”. Lorne was a founding member of People or Planes; as chair of their technical committee, he was responsible for studying aviation forecasts and technical developments, land use alternatives and making presentations to municipal, provincial and federal officials, airport commissions and the media. These efforts played a major role in the organization’s successful fight to stop the building of an airport on the expropriated lands.

Lorne continued to be heavily involved on many environmental fronts, usually assuming a leadership role. Lorne was a director and president of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now called Ontario Nature). Lorne founded the Green Door Alliance and was a catalyst in the formation of the Durham Conservation Association. He served as director of both these organizations, and when they merged, of Green Durham Association. He was a student and proponent of sustainable agriculture and believed the preservation of farmlands east of Toronto should be part of the vision to protect the natural heritage of the area. Throughout his life, Lorne prepared countless briefs, reports and presentations and gave generously of his time, money and expertise to the causes he supported. He was a passionate and skilled fly fisherman, and a multiple winner of his little fly-fishing club’s trophy for “most fish caught” in any given season. He planted over 80,000 trees and shrubs on his Claremont property and protected it with a conservation easement to create a nature preserve along the creek valley passing through his property.

Lorne received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Pickering, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 as an acknowledgement of his many contributions to environmental causes.
Lorne passed away on December 8, 2013.

How is GDA funded?

GDA is a registered charity that runs purely on the efforts of volunteers. We are funded by private donations, by grants for specific projects, and by a whole lot of donated time. Over the years our volunteers have spent countless hours reviewing and commenting on reports and land policies, serving on committees and working outdoors to maintain the trails and to help build trail-related infrastructure.

What is GDA’s overhead/administration cost?

Low! we have no office, no overhead, no paid staff. Our costs include maintaining our website and appropriate liability insurance for our directors and our trail volunteers. We are proud to say that all the funds we raise go back in to the land.

What land does GDA Own?

None! All our effort go to maintaining and expanding public trail networks. Our strength is the many relationships we maintain – with landowners, user groups, government and other non-government organizations. A number of our members have made generous donations of their own land, money and time over the years.