Copeland Forest
Stewardship Initiative
Banner image © David Kennedy

September 2011

Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative Launched

bike riding in Copeland forestIf you visit the Copeland Forest for recreation and relaxation, we hope you will get involved in an innovative project to help put users of the Copeland Forest in the driver's seat. While the Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to have ultimate management control over Copeland, they are interested in working with those who use and love the forest to help with management decisions and participate in stewardship activities.

Over the next three years, the Couchiching Conservancy will be coordinating the creation of a Copeland Forest Stewardship Committee, comprised of people like you who like to do anything from ski and snowshoe to horseback ride and picnic in the Copeland Forest.

In the first phase, we are compiling scientific information such as a four-season biological inventory, a lichen study, aquatic species research, and a human footprint study. All of this information will ultimately help the stewardship committee make informed decisions. Additionally, we will be holding educational workshops (see "Wetlands and Watersheds" article) and speaking with as many people as possible about how you use the Copeland, how often, and what you value about it most.

If you would like to be involved, please join our mailing list, and/or contact Dorthea Hangaard: dorthea@couchconservancy.ca (705) 326-1620


Upcoming Event: Wetlands and Watersheds of the Copeland Forest...an educational tour with David Hawke

Sunday September 18th

wetland scene

The Copeland Forest is the headwaters for three watersheds: The Coldwater, the Sturgeon, and the Willow.  Join local resident and Naturalist David Hawke on a three hour outing and discover why wetlands are such an important part of the ecosystem, where the Copeland watersheds flow to, and the difference between a swamp, a marsh, a bog and a fen.  David will also present how wetlands are evaluated by the Ministry of Natural Resources. 

Best known for his weekly nature column in the Orillia Packet and Times, David Hawke is also the author of Wetlands and Dave's Bloomin' Flower Guide.     

  • Time: 9 to Noon
  • Meet at the Martinville parking lot, line 3/Ingram Road. 
  • Easy terrain, under 3 kilometres, hiking boots or running shoes will work; bring water, a snack, and maybe some bug spray.
  • RSVP dorthea@couchconservancy.ca (705) 326-1620


A Rare and Precious Gem

forestAt 4,400 acres, the Copeland Forest is a particularly rare habitat type in this region: it is a mature upland deciduous forest large enough to support species that rely on "forest interior" habitat.

A wide variety of wildlife species including fisher and birds such as hawks, warblers, owls, and thrush, all rely on the deep woods provided by forest interior. The deep woods are less vulnerable to predators, extreme temperatures, and invasive species. Nestled on the edge of the Oro Moraine, the Copeland is also a key link in the Oro Moraine wildlife and vegetation corridor stretching from Craighurst to Bass Lake.

Increasingly, our forests are becoming fragmented islands of green, too small to support forest interior habitat. While forest cover is decreasing, human populations and development are increasing, and it is more important than ever to care for precious forests like the Copeland.