Last updated: September 1, 2023, 11 am
The powerful windstorm that hit Ottawa on May 21, 2022, caused a huge change in the appearance of the National Capital Greenbelt. Every Greenbelt sector was affected, but the forest canopy was devastated in the Pine Grove, Southern Farm and Pinhey Forest sectors. The damage to trails was so severe that it was the first time that the agency closed the entire Greenbelt trail network.
The winds knocked over thousands of trees. The phase one emergency clean-up that took place immediately after the natural disaster focused on clearing trails and pathways to reduce risks to public safety. This work is now complete; however, large and tangled downed trees and piles of debris remain on the forest floor.
Phase two: Post-derecho clean-up and long-term recovery
There is no quick fix to remedy the damage that the derecho left behind. It will take years, and possibly decades, for the forest to recover. Starting this fall, work will begin to remove large, downed material in the forest understory and debris piles (needles, twigs, branches and logs) left behind from the phase one emergency response clearing. Field assessments continue to be conducted and forest recovery and enhancement plans will be prepared to guide the recovery process. This includes a multi-year planting program starting in 2024 in areas most impacted by the derecho.
Thank you for your understanding and patience while we continue our restoration work.