Thanks to the 105 members of the Couchiching Conservancy extended family who were able to attended the Ron Reid Nature Reserve Property Dedication.
We know there are more who wanted to come but were not able, and we felt you there in spirit. Whether as a volunteer or as a donor, most everyone attending the event worked on the campaign to purchase this 4 kilometre stretch of the Black River, comprising a total of 730 acres in the heart of QEII Wildlands Provincial Park.
Once we had a deal with the Haak family who were selling the property, the Couchiching Conservancy Board of Directors somewhat nervously gave the go-ahead to begin fundraising the $575,000 necessary to purchase the property. Within seven months, over 200 donors stepped up to make permanent conservation of this land possible, slightly exceeding the fundraising goal. Leading donors include Joan & John Rosebush, John & Rosemary Dunsmore, Bob & Wendy Sullivan, Gord & Jane Ball, and Doug & Barbara Christie.
Janet Grand organized seven hike-and-bike and three canoe fundraising events on the property. The Gosling Foundation’s early contribution garnered further support from the Schad Foundation and the Echo Foundation. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) were critical partners, also providing generous financial support to make this dream a reality. All in all, a massive team effort in a very short amount of time.
Dedicating this property to Ron Reid is a tribute to our Founding President in our 25th year as a land trust. Ron’s reach has been far greater than the founding of the Couchiching Conservancy: He has played a leading role with the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, now Ontario Nature, and helped with uncounted conservation initiatives across the province. We know that this particular property is close to his heart because of his work helping to protect Q.E. II Wildlands Provincial Park. Ron and Janet also wrote the book on canoeing on the Black River, dedicating a chapter of their 1994 canoeing book to paddling the Black. John Lounds, President and CEO of the NCC spoke at the Property Dedication about first meeting Ron and Janet on a Federation of Ontario Naturalist canoe trip, and presented Ron with a “restorative” bottle of Drambuie for his next adventure. Jason Dwyer, Superintendent of Q.E. II Wildlands Provincial Park welcomed The Couchiching Conservancy to the neighbourhood, and hailed our purchase of the property as a huge win for conservation. We greatly appreciated seeing Erica Thompson (NCC’s Senior National Director), Phyllis Lee (from the Ontario Land Trust Alliance), Bruce Stanton (M.P. for Simcoe North), Severn Township Mayor Mike Burkett and City of Kawartha Lakes Councillor Rob Macklem.
Once again, Cameron Curran has delivered some very special photographs of the day and all your lovely faces… See a Photo Album From The Day’s Celebrations Here