CONE is a non-profit alliance of environmental groups, conservation organizations, and concerned citizens and businesses founded in 1978 and dedicated to the protection of Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment.

CONE has been the leading non-governmental organization to champion the effective and responsible implementation of the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) – the Ontario government’s land use plan that controls development on the Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The NEP is admired worldwide as a model for land use planning in Biosphere Reserves.

CONE is a tireless defender of the Escarpment’s natural heritage and plays a provincial leadership role in influencing and improving government decisions on water, aggregate, land use, transportation, economic and other sustainability issues.

CONE is concerned with both the big picture and the small details. While we diligently monitor land use on the Escarpment and advocate that development on the Escarpment be controlled and sustainable, we also lead research initiatives to learn more about the Escarpment and best practices for protecting it, and we undertake educational programs to foster public appreciation for the Escarpment and the issues that impact its integrity.

In 1995, CONE received the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Conservation Award for “outstanding achievements in conserving and protecting the natural environment in Ontario.” And in 2003, CONE received the Spirit of the Biosphere Award from the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association for “longstanding commitment to the principles of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve.”

Our goal is always to inform and influence the choices people make, whether in developing privately-owned Escarpment land or in setting environmental policy in the halls of government.


To learn more about the Niagara Escarpment, click here.

For a brief timeline of events in CONE and Escarpment protection history, click here.

CONE is a non-profit corporation independent of government, whereas the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) is an agency of the Ontario government. To visit the NEC’s website, click here.

For a copy of the Niagara Escarpment Plan, click here.

For a copy of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, click here.

To learn more about UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Biosphere Reserves, click here.