Local land trust encouraged by Ontario budget funding for protection of wild spaces

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The Couchiching Conservancy applauds the news that the Ontario government is investing in nature.

As part of Ontario Budget 2020, the Ford government announced $20 million will be provided to work with the provincial land trust community to bring more land under permanent protection over the next four years.

“We are delighted the province is making this a priority in such difficult economic times,” said Mark Bisset, Executive Director of The Couchiching Conservancy. “For every dollar governments invest with us, we have typically been able to generate two and sometimes three-times as much in matching dollars from private donors, businesses and foundations.”

While details are still to emerge, Bisset said the timing is excellent since The Couchiching Conservancy is in the middle of a multi-year campaign to build corridors of wild spaces along the Black River and on the Carden Alvar near Lake Dalrymple.

“For almost 30 years, we’ve shown the value of public-private partnerships when it comes to protecting wild spaces,” Bisset said. “By partnering with non-profit land trusts like The Couchiching Conservancy, the province can build communities where people can drink and swim in clean water, recover in healthy woodlands and grasslands, and breathe the fresh air that should be our birthright. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s shown us the value of a walk in the woods.”

The importance of private land conservation being recognized by Finance Minister Rod Phillips and Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek in the budget is very encouraging, Bisset said.

Working with partners such as The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and Ontario Parks, The Couchiching Conservancy has helped protect more than 13,000 acres of important natural wild spaces since 1993. Most recently, the conservancy announced the creation of the 175-acre Dr. Ron Taylor Nature Reserve, donated in part by Ron and Charlene Taylor and family. The reserve is on the Black River Road, east of Washago. The Conservancy is a charitable organization that protects important wildlands, cares for them and holds them in trust for the public to use. The majority of these protected spaces are open to the public for the passive enjoyment of nature. For more information, go to http://couchichingconserv.ca/.

November 6, 2020
Orillia, ON

Featured photo: American Bullfrog. T. Rowland.