Planning Session - The Future for HOCP - Chair Tonia Kittelson
Tonia Kittelson - Let's talk about the future. A good place to start is why it was thought to create a collaborative group from different agencies, different occupations, different countries.
We share some of the same values, caring for public lands and the communities that surround them.
Our question is how can we help with that? Our mission:
"The Heart of the Continent Partnership works to inclusively build vibrant and resilient communities that value and protect public lands in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Ontario".
We have a mission to help our public lands and our neighbouring communities, and it can be the lines
that separate us that can sometimes hinder our progress. Over the years our efforts have been successful at helping each other steer in a more productive and less scattered direction.
The Partnership and our collaborative efforts have helped kick start our communities into working more as a region, cross-promoting each other. We can help to make under valued areas more visited and over used areas better
cared for. For context, a brief summary of events follows.
Our HOCP Canoe The Heart trip was a learning experience. It brought together our members to share ideas of creating a region-wide conversation that would help the environment as well as the economy.
Our Community Congress in 2011 gathered community members from all walks, to look at ideas that would enhance their work, clubs, businesses and agencies.
An HOCP Gathering on Voyageur Island near Quetico, spurred a commitment to create a combined effort to protect dark skies. A collaborative
project with public land managers that have protected a large area like no other!
We have had successful recreation and tourism summits to share ideas on sustainable tourism.
Our Bike the Heart Initiative has been a fun course of action to share the benefits of cycling tourism as well as
some of the popular routes, trails, and facilities that service bicycling enthusiasts.
Our science symposiums created a venue to share what is being done in natural science and social science on both sides of the border. It has also helped soften the border and lines of communication.
Tonia asked the group to think of the opportunities that we could be doing with a much larger budget and
more staff. While asked to dream big in ways we can achieve the mission, participants jotted down ideas:
* Increase number of science symposiums including Indigenous knowledge.
*More sustainable recreation/tourism summits.
*Increase our partnership involvement - both our small communities ie First Nation communities and our larger cities, Duluth and Thunder Bay. Other agencies including Parks Canada and OMNR
* Increased involvement with our CVB's and DMO's - Folk Schools
* "A Visit with Respect"; campaign!
*Promotion of Indigenous language in the HOC
*Trail app map for multi purpose usage
*Plan for controlled tourism, some destinations are feeling their visitations are too high, some too low. A continued strategy by our partnership as a lead to keep economy flourishing and the quiet character of the region.
*Continued and increase cross promotion of clubs, their trails, facilities, events which will generate visitation to neighbouring accommodations and restaurants.
*Developed subcommittees to work on specific projects. - distinct focused groups ie land managers.
*Create a "Stories from the Heart" - possibly blog?
*Potentially increase size to include western shores of Lake Superior - Black Bay in the north and Bayfield in the south.
Respect for the character of the land and the people was a common thought. It was pointed out that this concept is in our HOCP brochure, and it is what we have based our Partnership on.
There were a lot of good ideas that the group shared and we will bring these ideas to our next meetings to continue these good conversations.