About Limerick


Picture of an old fence

Limerick Forest is a 5782-hectare community forest located in eastern Ontario, owned and managed by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. There are seven consolidated tracts of property containing 175 contiguous and non-contiguous compartments.  Conifer plantations (red pine, jack pine, white pine and white spruce), account for approximately one third of the total area of Limerick Forest.  This is a result of the reforestation of abandoned farmland by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) via the Agreement Forest Program started in the early 1940's.  The remainder of Limerick is comprised of wetlands and second growth mixed forest, in roughly equal proportions of one third each.


TPicture of an abandonned settlementhe original part of Limerick Forest, commonly referred to today as "Limerick South", was settled in the late 1840's by Irish immigrants.  One of these settlers, Andrew Forsythe, reportedly settled on a 200-acre tract of land on the northern edge of a forest just south of Bishops Mills. He named the area "Limerick", after his former home in Ireland.  However, much of the shallow, wet, and/or deep, sandy soils in this part of eastern Ontario proved unsuitable for agriculture.  From 1910 until after the great depression of the 1930's, many families abandoned the land which they had cleared of trees for agriculture and with taxes due, ownership of the properties reverted back to the banks and eventually the UCLG. 

Picture of early settlers tree planting

Limerick Forest was formally established in 1940 when the province and the UCLG became partners in the Agreement Forest Program for the management of the abandoned land owned by the County.  The land was leased to the province for "forestry purposes", including reforestation and other aspects of forest management as defined in the Forestry Act of 1927.  Similar agreements were also being signed at that time between the province and various municipalities and Conservation Authorities across southern Ontario.  At its height, there were over 120,000 ha of forest cover in southern Ontario under management via this program.  The lease of UCLG land to the province was renewed in 1960 and again in 1976.  The program eventually ended in 1995.

Current Management

Picture of the information billboardThe United Counties of Leeds and Grenville assumed full responsibility for the management of Limerick Forest in April of 2001.  In June of the same year, with the assistance of the Grenville Land Stewardship Council (GLSC), the Limerick Forest Advisory Committee (LFAC) was formed with the objective of advising the Counties on the management of Limerick Forest. This group of community volunteers interested in the management and well-being of Limerick Forest were instrumental in the development of the Limerick Forest Long Range Plan (LFLRP) and the Twenty Year Forest Management Plan (FMP).  Written in 2003, the LFLRP describes long range goals and objectives for the forest.  Initial forest management operations were based on this document.  The FMP was completed in 2007 and provides a more detailed set of objectives, management strategies and standards to be used in the achievement of specific goals.  Annual and 5 Year operating plans are used to support this document.

In July of 2008, Limerick Forest became certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) under the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) Forest Certification Program.  The various Limerick management plans, FSC Forest Certification Standards and various provincial silvicultural guides now provide the principles and strategies necessary for the sustainable management of Limerick Forest.

Management of the forest is now the responsibility of the Forest Manager and Forest Technician who report to the Director of Public Works and the Public Works Committee.  The LFAC group, having fulfilled its original objective has now evolved into a new group with a new mandate.  The "Friends of Limerick Forest" like its predecessor, is comprised of volunteers interested in the welfare and sustainable management of Limerick Forest.  The mandate of the new group emphasizes more active, "hands-on" projects in support of the recently completed FMP.

Table 1. Limerick Forest Designated Tracts

(Limerick Forest 20 Year Forest Management Plan)



 Limerick Forest South 1,474
 Limerick Forest North 1,123
 Cranberry Lake 1,260
 North Augusta 860
 Leeds 641
Grenville 424



 Table 2. Areas of Limerick Forest by Municipality

(Limerick Forest 20 Year Forest Management Plan)




 Leeds Township of Athens 201
  Township of Rideau Lakes 296
  Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley 289




 Grenville Township of Merrickville-Wolford 2,212
  Municipality of North Grenville 947
  Township of Edwardsburgh-Cardinal 294
  Township of Augusta 1,543