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Conservancy, with supporters' help, protects key tract of land

Beautiful 185-acre tract of forest, grassland and wetland inside the Black River Wildlands Corridor has been permanently protected

A beautiful 185-acre tract of forest, grassland and wetland inside the Black River Wildlands Corridor has been permanently protected, The Couchiching Conservancy announced today.

The property has been purchased by the Conservancy with the help of generous support from the families of John Pitts and Kathleen Milligan, numerous community members, The Echo Foundation and The Gosling Foundation.

“John and Kathleen always hoped they could find a way to permanently protect their land,” said Conservancy president Jamie Ross. “Unfortunately, they died before they had a chance to see the idea through. Today, with the help of their family and the community, we’ve ensured the forests and fields they loved so much are safe forever.”

The Pitts & Milligan property, which harbours species at risk such as monarch butterflies, snapping turtles and others, is the first property to be protected through a multi-year campaign launched in August to create a wildlife corridor stretching across north Ramara Township and into Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park.

Over the next four years, the Conservancy is committed to protecting wild places in this region and raising an estimated $1.2 million dollars to make this work a reality.

An in-depth ecological analysis of the region allowed the Conservancy to identify five key focus areas where high levels of biodiversity and intact habitat are concentrated. It is the long-term goal of the Conservancy to work with willing private landowners and other partners to create a connected corridor of wild space roughly aligned with the Black River.

“Protecting this mix of forest, wetland and headwaters benefits our entire community,” said Mark Bisset, Executive Director of The Couchiching Conservancy.

“Creating corridors of connected wilderness is a critical goal of our work. Having land set aside from development is an imperative part of the solution to our collective climate crisis. Adding untouched wilderness to our network of Nature Reserves and other protected places is something that helps us all,” Bisset said.

An estimated $1.2 million is needed over the course of the campaign, which could protect a land base worth an estimated $4.5 million. There are currently have two additional parcels going through the Acquisition process, and work is underway to acquire additional land in the Black River Wildlands region.

If you want to help create new Nature Reserves and be a part of the land trust movement, please visit the Conservancy website to donate or reach out to Tanya Clark, [email protected] or 705-326-1620.