Tethered balloon rides will give you the chance to view Copeland Forest from a whole new angle when The Copeland Forest Friends Association holds its official launch Oct. 3rd with a barbecue and other recreational activities.
The event represents a precedent-setting partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF) to bring greater stewardship to the Copeland Forest, which is facing increasing pressure from recreational interests. The goal of the new non-profit is to conserve the natural integrity of the forest while facilitating compatible recreational opportunities.
The organization arose out of an initiative of the Couchiching Conservancy, which, with the blessing of MNRF has been working to develop community stewardship for Copeland Forest with recreational user groups and members of the public since 2011.
The governance model for Copeland Forest Friends, developed by the founding Board members, places the health of the forest first, and gives each of nine recreational user groups equal say in decisions regarding the forest. This model was developed after a series of well- attended public meetings in which users of the forest overwhelmingly expressed the need to protect this natural gem as the highest priority. The organization has been carefully crafted to ensure that all user groups are involved and heard.
The Copeland Forest is a 4,400 acre Resource Management Area under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The forest contains headwaters for three watersheds draining into the Georgian Bay. It is the largest mature forest within commuting distance of the Greater Toronto Area.
The enterprise has enjoyed the support of The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Township of Oro-Medonte, Horseshoe Resort, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, The Couchiching Conservancy, and of course the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.