- Over the past two years, many community residents have reached out to Copeland Forest Friends Association expressing concern about the continued building of single-track trails in the Copeland Forest, despite it being already saturated with trails. Copeland Forest Friends Association
Over the past two years, many community residents have reached out to Copeland Forest Friends Association expressing concern about the continued building of single-track trails in the Copeland Forest, despite it being already saturated with trails.
Copeland Forest Friends Association (CFFA), a not-for-profit organization charged with conserving the natural integrity of the forest, has recently received approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to take on a more active stewardship role over the Copeland Forest. Given the accelerated and damaging increase in trail building and use, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic, CFFA is imposing a moratorium on all new trail builds, effective immediately.
According to Brad Turner, CFFA Board President, “Currently, there are approximately 54 km of single-track trail in the Forest. The MNRF has always prohibited trail building of any type without prior authorization, but the message has maybe not been as clear as it could be. This ‘no-new-build’ moratorium will remain in place while the organization’s new Trail Committee reviews and updates the existing framework and makes recommendations to the Board.”
The Trail Committee will also be mandated to focus on new, unauthorized trail builds as well as trail maintenance. To facilitate this, a process will be established whereby the Trail Committee oversees all trail maintenance in the Copeland Forest and reviews all new trail requests before presenting them to the Board for a decision. Ray Gingras, Vice-President of the Board, said, “This process will be transparent, consultative and will put the ecology of the forest first.” Gingras notes, however, that this process will not be required for regular trail maintenance (removal of logs and clearing of an existing approved trail).
The Trail Committee will also be recruiting representatives from all CFFA user groups as well as other stakeholders and members of the community to offer a fuller perspective to trail use and related issues for consideration by the Board.
Finally, with the moratorium now in place, the Committee is actively encouraging users to report any new trail builds to the CFFA. Gingras is requesting support from the community to help monitor any unauthorized activity: “If you see any trail building activity that does not have a Copeland Forest Friends sign, please photograph the area of concern and email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- The next time you are in Parking Lot 1 or 2 off Ingram Road, you and your vehicle might just notice how much smoother those parking lots now are. Recently, Georgian Paving donated time and resources to grade P1 andThe next time you are in Parking Lot 1 or 2 off Ingram Road, you and your vehicle might just notice how much smoother those parking lots now are. Recently, Georgian Paving donated time and resources to grade P1 and P2 and add 5 loads of granular to the surfaces. The result is the elimination of potholes and improved drainage. On behalf of the many users of Copeland Forest, we would like to acknowledge and thank Georgian Paving for this incredible contribution.
Garlic mustard grew as never before in this pandemic year. Congratulations to the 40 volunteers who tackled it with unparalleled tenacity.
Early on people emailed us and wanted to start removing the invasive plants either individually, with family members or with friends and physical distance. When we contacted those who pulled last year, 40 jumped right in, picked up a map and set off to combat the invasive. Sometimes the trail they adopted last year was changed to another area in the Forest, which was more accessible or where Garlic Mustard was more intense.
Compared to last year’s crop, garlic mustard plants this year grew abundantly. The three large compost bins were filled repeatedly as volunteers continually returned to remove the plants that developed at different stages. The encouraging news to keep in mind is this. If one plant can produce up to 1200 seeds, together we prevented millions of seeds being added to the seedbank on the forest floor.
A Shocking Discovery:
In the upland areas we thought Garlic Mustard was located just on the side of trails sometimes up to 20 feet into the forest. But on one of the Copeland’s most beautiful, valley-edge trails, also known as Michelle Special, The Five B’s, Maui Wowie, Tony Peckham of the Barrie Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA) discovered a disaster. Garlic Mustard spread across the expansive hillside and down 100 feet towards the lush, moist valley bottom. 50 hours of dedicated manual labor, the rescue of this fragile ecosystem from the invasive has just begun.
The Copeland’s Diverse Ecosystem is Under Attack:
NO other plants survived on the forest floor where healthy Garlic Mustard plants as tall as a person’s shoulder had taken over this lush slope. Garlic Mustard had eradicated 10 different plants and saplings. The future diversity of plants and trees is at risk if we do not take action.
Thank you to everyone who helped in 2020. For those who couldn’t join us in 2020, we look forward to seeing you for the 2021 spring campaign. We will be in touch with all of you. This year we will have leaders in different areas to make sure everyone is informed and comfortable in this large forest.
2021 Garlic Mustard Removal will start early in spring, safely distancing outdoors along with the beautiful spring wildflowers. If you haven’t taken part in this annual event with friends of the Copeland Forest, contact us at email@example.com
We are the
Copeland Forest Friends
The Copeland Forest is a 4,400 acre Resource Management Area in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada, owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests. The size, beauty, and unfettered use of the forest by a wide variety of recreational users inspired an initiative to conserve the natural integrity of the forest and facilitate compatible recreational use.
In October 2015 the Copeland Forest Friends Association formed a Non-Profit Corporation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MNRF, and began offering memberships. The organization has been structured to ensure that all of the major recreational user groups are represented equally. There are many ways to join us including becoming a member, volunteering, making a donation, and signing up for our newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the forest!