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December 2022

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Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas from all of us at

The Couchiching Conservancy!

The office will be closed as of 3:00pm on Friday, December 23 and we will re-open on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Bill 23 & Environmental Policy Changes

The Government of Ontario recently passed Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, an omnibus bill proposing sweeping changes to the province’s natural heritage and land use planning legislation and policy.

The Conservancy has responded to the province’s threats to the greenbelt, to provincially significant wetlands, and Conservation Authorities, by signing on to support several Simcoe County and Ontario Initiatives and writing our MPP Jill Dunlop to express our concern that the proposed Bill undermines the biodiversity and environmental health of Ontario.

Consider reaching out to your local MPP and let them know what you think about Bill 23, and that you care about wetlands and natural habitat in your area.

The Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) has also put together a summary of information and actions you can take.

There is hope.

With your help, the Conservancy is taking action to safeguard as much wilderness as we can while the opportunities are there. It's a race against time. It's a race against policies that put pressure on our communities, our species and our natural landscapes.

Thanks to the generous support from people like you, we're having a tangible impact. Since the launch of the Corridors Campaign, almost 2,000 new acres of habitat has been secured. Our ability to secure five properties in a few years is thanks to forward thinking, planning and people like you who donate so we are ready to move when opportunities arise.

As you think about the looming pressure of Bill 23, what the future could hold and what action you can take, consider making a year end gift to support our work.


Sometimes you just don’t need more ‘stuff’. For $25 acres, you symbolically protect an acre of wilderness. You can send a special e-card for your loved one right away!

Or show your support with a fancy new tshirt. Snag your shirt from the office during the week for $25. We also have Holiday cards for $10 for a package of 6 which include envelopes.


Over 100 people attended the Orillia Vocal Ensemble benefit concert at St. Paul's Centre and donated almost $7,000. Wow! We are so grateful to the choir, musicians, organizers, volunteers and everyone who attended.

A special thank you to Blair Bailey, Carol Bendetti and Fred Larsen.

Pictured: Fred Larsen from Orillia Vocal Ensemble and Neil Gray, Board President. Photo: C. Algie


What's happening at the Reserves?

Beaver Baffle

Grant Wetland Nature Reserve

Visitors and neighbours of Grant Wetland Nature Reserve in Orillia may have noticed over the past few months that a beaver has taken up residence there once more. The beaver is primarily focused on the western side of the property and it has created a few small dams. As many people are aware, wetlands play an important role in flood control, acting like a sponge to collect run off water and then filtering the water while gradually releasing it downstream. Beaver dams enhance this action by slowing the flow of water and pushing water into other parts of the wetland allowing for greater absorption. Beaver dams also create habitat for fish, mammals, and plants. There’s also new evidence that active beaver dams increase carbon sequestration. To ensure water levels in the wetland do not threaten surrounding properties, the Conservancy has installed a beaver baffle (overflow pipe) to ensure water levels don’t exceed a specific level. Volunteers and staff are also monitoring water levels on the property regularly. 

North American Beaver by J. Burnie

Road Closure

Ron Reid Nature Reserve

The Ron Reid Nature Reserve is one of the Conservancy's wildest and most remote reserve. If you've been, you know that access through the Black River Road takes extra care to drive, but the rewards are great, excellent paddling and a stunning hiking trail.

This remoteness also means that the road can only be accessed seasonally. Once the snow flies, the Black River Road from Lewisham Lane east to Victoria Falls Bridge is maintained as a snowmobile trail (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs Trail 209). This means the snow on the road is actively groomed for snowmobiles and is NOT plowed for vehicle access. From March 1 to May 15 the City of Kawartha Lakes closes the same stretch of road for the spring melt. Do NOT drive your vehicle on Black River Road east of Lewisham Lane from November/December (whenever the first snowfall is) to May 15. If you get your vehicle stuck on the road during this period, a tow truck will NOT be able to access the road to tow you. You can still access the road by foot or ski in winter but beware of fast-moving snowmobiles and be prepared for backcountry conditions and poor cell reception.

If you're itching to do some winter hiking in the area, check out our trail systems on Adams Nature Reserve, Alexander Hope Smith Nature Reserve, or TC Agnew Nature Reserve.

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We operate on the territory of the Anishinaabeg

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Charitable #: 13972 5030 RR0001

Office: 705-326-1620