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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Thornton Bales
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  • Thornton Bales Tree TopsThornton Bales Tree Tops
  • Thornton Bales TrailThornton Bales Trail
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​​​Thornton Bales Conservation Area

Thornton Bales Conservation Area is famous for its steep slopes and rugged beauty. This Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) is part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, and has an elevation that drops 54 metres from its southwest corner to its northern boundary.

Nicknamed "The 99 Steps", this conservation area is best suited to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Water bottles an​d comfortable footwear are strongly recommended for hikers targeting these woodland trails. Among the wildlife that can be found in this ravine-like setting are pileated woodpeckers and white tailed deer.

The Koffler-Bales side trail provides access from Thornton Bales Conservation Area to the University of Toronto’s Koffler Scientific Reserve at Joker’s Hill.

Fun fact: The change in vertical elevation from the top of the 99 steps to the bottom is a larger change in elevation than the drop over Niagara Falls!

​Thornton Bales Management Plan

Together with local residents, visitors, community groups and other interested stakeholders w​e're creating a Management Plan for Thornton Bales Conservation Area. Your feedback is an important part of this review.  Through this process, you will have an opportunity to reflect on the value and use of the property, changes you may have seen over the years, and most importantly, your ideas for the future.

What is a Management Plan?

A Management Plan provides direction so that the property is cared for in a way that balances recreation with conservation.  It sets goals to enhance the property and provides the strategies to achieve them. 

How can you get involved?

We invite you to participate at any or all stages of the review process.  Follow the Plan's progress by checking this webpage regularly for upcoming public events and workshops, as well as documents available for review. 

Process and Timeline

The Thornton Bales Management Plan development process will consist of five stages.

Stage 1. Implementation Re​port
Stage 2. Stakeholder Analysis
Stage 3. Needs Assessment
Stage 4. Preliminary Management Plan
Stage 5. Management Plan 

Documents available for review:
Thornton Bales Consultation Report


For more information, contact:
Lauren Grzywniak
Land Management Technician
905-895-1281, ext. 126
L.Grzywniak@lsrca.on.ca