Monday, September 5, 2011

Copeland Forest Stewardship

Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative Launched. If you visit the Copeland Forest for recreation and relaxation, we hope you will get involved in an innovative project to help put users of the Copeland Forest in the driver's seat. While the Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to have ultimate management control over Copeland, they are interested in working with those who use and love the forest to help with management decisions and participate in stewardship activities.

Over the next three years, the Couchiching Conservancy will be coordinating the creation of a Copeland Forest Stewardship Committee, comprised of people like you who like to do anything from ski and snowshoe to horseback ride and picnic in the Copeland Forest.

In the first phase, we are compiling scientific information such as a four-season biological inventory, a lichen study, aquatic species research, and a human footprint study. All of this information will ultimately help the stewardship committee make informed decisions. Additionally, we will be holding educational workshops (see "Wetlands and Watersheds" article) and speaking with as many people as possible about how you use the Copeland, how often, and what you value about it most.

If you would like to be involved, please join our mailing list, and/or contact Dorthea Hangaard: dorthea@couchconservancy.ca (705) 326-1620

Increasingly, our forests are becoming fragmented islands of green, too small to support forest interior habitat. While forest cover is decreasing, human populations and development are increasing, and it is more important than ever to care for precious forests like the Copeland.


  1. Dear CTS,

    It is great to see such an organized group of MTBRs in the area. From your videos and website it seems that you do most of your rides in Copeland forest. Since I live in Orillia, it is my favourite place to ride too. In fact, the group that I typically ride with have been riding there for over a decade and were the original architects of the trails we now enjoy. Our group has no formal organization but its members have acted as stewards for the trails for many years.

    As you are aware, the Copeland trails have experienced growing popularity of late, primarily because they are such a good network of trails. This has led to increased use and pressures on the network and also greater scrutiny by the MNR. You may not be aware, but the MNR has recently contracted with an NGO called the Couching Conversancy to establish the Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative. They plan to have roundtable meetings with all stakeholder groups on how best to manage the trails. From word of mouth, we have heard that there is concern over the amount of trails in Copeland as well as the number of users.

    Our group of riders is deeply concerned about the outcome of these meetings since bikers are the biggest users. We love riding Copeland and we fear that bikers may lose access to this area. As a keen biker this puts me in a vexing position of always wanting more trails to ride on, yet, not wanting to jeopardize what we already have. It is my understanding that there has been little trail development in your neck of the woods but that there is a great deal of potential. I have heard that Awenda may be open to trail building amongst other areas. The benefit of building more trails in your area is twofold; it would help to reduce pressure in Copeland and also provide more places for us all to ride. Since CTS seems to have such an organized following, it strikes me that it would be easy for your group to cut new trails.

    We are glad that you enjoy the local trails we have here. We would love to be able to ride some trails in your neighbourhood.



  2. We are on the same team. We will do everything in our power to make sure that the blood sweat and tears that went into creating such an amazing trail system never goes to waste. We are just a group of riders that gets together to have a good time, we will never promote how to get to these trails. We were invited to join the Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative in June. CTS plans on participating in a series of events and workshops designed to begin the process of building a network of partners dedicated to keeping Copeland Forest healthy for years to come.

    Ps. We have local trails in the works.

    All the best & happy trails

    Greg Brewer
    A.K.A: Gorilla

  3. Hi Scott,

    We don't want to lose the ability to ride at Copeland nor do we want to make all the hard work your group has put into developing the trails over the years at Copeland go to waste. We are planning to participate in the Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative. What more can we do as a group of mountain bikers full of respect for the trails and the people that build them. What advice would you give us as a group to protect Copeland forest?


    - We do not advertise directions to Copeland Forest.
    - We do not send out mass invitations to ride with CTS, people contact us directly if they are interested in riding.
    - We respect the trails, we do not litter. We do not cut/build our own trails in Copeland forest. What we ride in with we take out with us.

    If there is anything else (besides not riding at Copeland) we can be doing, please let us know. We are an open minded group, always looking for insight/information about situations with the trails we might not be aware of. Anything we can do to help we will definitely consider :)

  4. Some of the bikers in CTS have been riding Copeland for 10+ years and live or have lived in Orillia, Oro, Horsehoe Valley etc.. So in saying 'the local trails we have here' - you are speaking for some of us as well. I'm certain CTS cares just as much about Copeland as yourself and will do it's share in keeping it healthy and open to bikers. I believe it is not the amount of bikers that ride the trails - but how the trails are developed & maintained that is the most important factor in keeping a forest healthy. http://cancelthatshit.blogspot.com/2011/07/imba-at-beausoleil-island.html

  5. "If there is anything else (besides not riding at Copeland) we can be doing, please let us know. We are an open minded group, always looking for insight/information about situations with the trails we might not be aware of. Anything we can do to help we will definitely consider :)"
    Angela thanks for your thoughts on our area singletrack and remember no one wants you to stop riding at Copeland, it is the promotion for money that rubs people the wrong way because more traffic means more work. I will give you an example and you can tell me if there is anything your open mind group can do other then broadcast the problem and hope it gets fixed.
    A trail called Tom's trail (in past CTS promotions) 8th line, start on orange trail, comes too close to an old log home with an out house, trail needs to be rerouted away from home or trail will be closed.
    Background: Trail was going to be rerouted away from the house to give our fantastic neighbours some privacy. It was put there because it was easier to follow the fireroad for the time being and the neighbours did not mind the small amount of traffic. Fast forward 10 years where the traffic is much much more and our fantastic neighbours have next to no privacy and people trespass on their property from the trail on a regular basis. They want it moved or closed, I would to.
    Does that sound like something that your club would be able to help with? It will be an easy fix for such a large club like yours and to have a leader who is IMBA taught is just icing on the cake.
    Please let me know if I can help after you contact Graeme Davis 705.726.9300 ext 1177
    PS if my directions do not make cents to your club Graeme will be able to be more specific since he has been dealing with this matter.
    Tom Shaw

  6. Hi Tom,
    As for the club making money off of this blog, that's kind of laughable. Just to give you a little insight on this blog, we get 30 hits a day (not even an average, I think that happened once lol), there are 65 people in our club. That means our own club members don't even care enough about our blog to read it on a daily basis. I hardly see the value in attacking CTS members for its video's and blog posts. We make zero dollars off of the blog, the advertising is for local bike shops, we get barters our of posting ads for them (ex. 10% discount when shopping at their stores, free cases of beer for our tailgate party hosting at a club members home, etc.)
    I'm just going to call out the elephant in the room, there seems to be quite an arrogant tone to your posts. The problem I have with responding to posts like yours is when you approach people with this disrespect you get their backs up right away. If you want help you should be polite, not condescending. You jump from complaining about us in Copeland forest to complaining about us in Tom's forest. You come down on us without even meeting/talking in person to a single CTS member. FYI - I have never seen a log house out on the 8th line, we'll have to call Graeme for better directions. You want this trail closed using the man power of CTS? Let's see who's in, pick a day/meeting time we can send a shout out to the club to see if we can scrounge up some man power for your project. Let's see if we can make things happen instead of having this back and fourth of who can put who in their place.

  7. The problem with responding to my post is that paying lip service will not work.

    “"If there is anything else (besides not riding at Copeland) we can be doing, please let us know”
    You can please reroute a trail so that a trail can be saved.

    “As for the club making money off of this blog, that's kind of laughable.”
    What is laughable is you thinking barter and beer are not money.
    “there are 65 people in our club”
    Should take your club about 3 hours if you/they are interested in helping singletrack.

    “I'm just going to call out the elephant in the room, there seems to be quite an arrogant tone to your posts.”

    This elephant has done more for your bike club then your club could do with 1000 sponsors. And if you were not part of the CTS you would be able to see that I am still giving to our community with each key strike. I am sick and tired of all take no give. Was that respectful, hows your back?

    Now back to the dirt ... What did Graeme say?

    Tom Shaw

  8. Tom,
    Thank you for everything you have done to contribute to the local MTB community. I will do as much as i can to give back as well.

    I hope we get a chance to talk at the first Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative workshop Sunday Sept 18th

    Happy trails

  9. To CTS:
    I just got off the phone with Tom, we had a great talk and I'm now very aware of the impact that the CTS club is having on the forest.

    It is time for me to step up and do my part to protect local forest and I'm looking for other CTS members to join me.


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  12. Well Jerett
    If you knew the difference between a menstrual cycle and singletrack issue you might also know the promotion difference between a dull listing with dozens of other dull listings and a bright, pro edited, rockin music video.
    You sound like you have a good back, hope you will use it to help our singletrack.
    Tom Shaw

  13. I really dont see the impact that 18 on average riders and a video on a blog once a week have on Copeland or any other trails out there. You just have to accept the fact that with everything popularity grows and it will never go back to ten years ago.

  14. The last ten years was alot of fun, hope the next ten are close to as much fun. I guess the point is that things have grown to a point where we need to organize, pay a membership, attend meetings and help out on the trail when work days are organized.
    Small price to pay if paid by all riders.
    Huge price if only paid by a few.

    Tom Shaw

  15. I'm ready to pay the price, so all of us can continue to enjoy this amazing place.

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  17. Over the past two days I have made a lot of calls and emails. I have found out a lot of information.
    You know how we always said, "if the day ever came that they tried to close the trails we would stand up and save them." Well that day has come!
    I was on the phone with the MNR yesterday and have no dough about it, they wont all MTBer's out of Copeland Forest. Unless we can find a way to make it work and keep the forest healthy.

    I have contacted and will be working with Jason Murray of IMBA Ontario. There is a MTB Copeland Forest stewardship meeting coming up in Oct. I will keep all of you posted.

    Will you stand with me and save what we all love.

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  19. Listen guys copeland forest is being promoted on several web sites. I honestly don't think people are finding out about it because of our clubs site. Check out ontariotrails.ca or singletracks.com they both give you direction right to the parking lot, one even gives you a loop trail. So instead of bickering back and forth on this blog, we need to get along and work together. NO ONE IS TO BLAME! Its up to all of us to make sure we can continue to ride there. It seems that alot of us really enjoy riding there. I know its my favorite place!

  20. To Mr. Shaw

    Please stop pestering these people, we know your opinion and if you would like to continue you your harassment of cts I will inform them of your history on the mtbr forum. They are out the helping and getting involved but know matter what they it will never be good enough for you unless they stay out of your trails.

    To the crew of cts,keep up the good work. I've ridden with you a few times and have a great time every time I do

    Regards from Tom Shaw's favorite sausage suit trail wrecking racer
    Matthew Spak

  21. Matthew Spak the last time I asked you to help with Copeland singletrack you informed me no, the road was your favourite place to ride and you only work on the race course in Mountain view. I will ask again. We are forming a Simcoe County IMBA club to support all MTBing in our area. Will you be an active member of our Club???
    Greg do you have a problem with how I have handled myself here and do you think I should just shut-up and let Matt Spak do what is right for our sport?
    Matt I will save you a seat beside me on Sunday October 23rd, 2 – 4 p.m. Will you be there?
    Tom Shaw

  22. Copeland forest need all the help it can get if we are going to keep it open to MTBer's.

    Not everyone will be able to contribute massive amounts of time, as we all have lives. Though, if most of us do just a little bit we can save Copeland for years to come.

    I appreciate all the passion we have about this place and our sport. There is no dough in my mind that together we will WIN!

    Happy trails

  23. I can't speak on behalf of Greg or Matt but I feel that SOME posts have gotten way off topic. And therefore feels like finger pointing. This blog was for The future of Copland. It was not about beer, bike shop discounts and what this group doent do. This group has contributed lots to MTB community in the short time they have been together. Bike to work day and trail building for example. Staying on topic; we understand the severity of Copland and will attempt to do what it takes to ensure everyone can ride there in the future. posting meeting times, contact information and reading content on the Stewertship Initiative is a step in the right direction. I agree with Greg there is no doubt in my mind we can be successful!

  24. Um Chris the topic was about promotion of Copeland has increased the amount of traffic to the point where the MNR is considering no Bikes. Also Beer, Bike shops, what promoters do and don't do will always be apart of the future of Copeland.
    Many people have said this and that about what should be done.
    I have pointed the finger at Matt, big promoter and he has yet to respond.
    Chris where is the trail CTS has been building?
    Is there any MTB singletrack in Awenda?
    If so have you promoted it? Where?
    Copeland has had no official MTB singletrack and yet you have promoted the heck out of it even when SOME people have said it could create singletrack problems...any singletrack in Awenda you would like to showcase?
    We should and will work together.
    Tom Shaw

  25. Tom. I can not attend because of a trip but there will be representation from the group that I associate with, I won't bother bringing up your previous narrow minded tactics and yes finger pointing here". Maybe over a ride sometimes? Ive asked you many times for that among others and you always seem to avoid the question. email me Tom and take this out of this great groups forum. matthewspak@gmail.com

  26. That really is too bad that you will not be there.
    But you did not answer my very simple question.

    Matt Spak will you be an active member of our club???

    Tom Shaw

  27. Mr.Shaw

    Sorry I didn’t reply to your questions earlier but I was out repairing some trail:)  Trails get built all the time.  They are built by people who love to ride and generally don’t post their location on the internet or on a blog (just like we haven’t) Trail info is passed on from rider to rider, friend to friend. Since I've never rode with you and you don’t really strike me as a nice person I won’t give you any information on any trails (because I would be advertizing trails and that’s not good)  Tom please don’t forward any comments to me on this blog.  I can be reached here cjro40@gmail.com I have agreed to help, any other comments, besides Thank you and looking forward to working with you are not productive.

  28. Chris R Thank you and looking forward to working with you, someone who knows what it takes to make sweet singletrack.

    Matt Spak will you be an active member of our club???

    Tom Shaw

  29. Tom

    As I mentioned previously contact me directly. As for your club, no I will not join YOUR club because YOUR club is not a club for anyone that does not abide by your elitist mentality. Am I involved with clubs that help with trail advocacy, yes I am. Will I stop bringing people into the forest to let them be active and healthy, no!!!

    Again Tom you begin to try and push but have nothing to back up your statements, these are the reasons you were banned from MTBR. Unless people play by your rules, which of course you have never actually told anyone what your rules are, I doubt we will ever be told because you continue to avoid offers by many.

    I find it funny that you hint to this club that they would be much better served to ride closer to their homes. Funny thing is that most of the cts members actually live closer to Copeland than you do. Funny isn't it Tom!!!

    On a positive note, who what where and when is this meeting you speak of??? Our club, Barrie Cycling Club along with AWI Racing are both very interested in having an attendance. We are members and on the mailing list for the couchiching conservancy and we to date have not heard anything yet.

  30. Tom you sure have alot to say to us. But if you were that much of a mountain biker you would have already seen the ads on singletrack.com or ontariotrails.ca. Dude we don't promote it and are vids don' t show where it is or how to get there. So i hope you are cherping are government as well. we simply enjoy riding there and want to keep it that way so stop fighting us and shooting your mouth off, we are on your side we love that place as much as you do. Many people including cts members have put time into fixing or clearing trails in copelands. You are not alone, it is time we work together to make sure it continues. Mnr is not going to put up with trouble makers they will just close it and forget about it. Then we all lose not just the mountain bikers.

  31. Don't be a Spak !!!

    Tom Shaw

  32. Tom I think youve worn out your welcome here and with this club. After reading your latter posts I know your type, Ive had to deal with people like you on other forums that Im a moderator on. I suggest you stop posting now.

  33. Tom,

    You never seem to disappoint the crowd when it comes to your evasive actions when a simple question is asked and just return to pointing fingers at everyone. There are more than a few of us that are interested in this meeting you talk of. Please inform us with the info.

    And to reply to your previous response, I'm rubber and your glue, it bounces off me and sticks to you!!! If you would like to continue childish name calling and finger pointing I'm up for the challenge. If you would like to be a grown up for once it would be a fantastic change for the better. As many have stated this involves all of us. Even though our interests are different to what we consider is mountain biking we are still all cyclists and should just get along for the greater good. Let's play nice for once, I'm willing to step away from the racer mentality, are you willing to step away from your troll temper??

    Or as Jerett has mentioned, you should stop responding now, I suspect that is what you will do.

    Again to all the guys from CTS, I hope this has not pissed anyone off for this continued immature antics, Can't wait to ride with everyone again. Maybe Tom should come out with your club and remember how much fun riding is. I know it helps me.

  34. I guess breaking your rant up into paragraphs makes it less juvenile?

    Let's focus on the task at hand.

  35. Gorilla

    You seem to be pointing this group in the right direction. I hope you guys stay involved with saving the trails in Copeland as well others in the area.

    I have signed up with Couch Conservatory but the bigger picture is the IMBA connection you mention. Please keep us all in the loop.


  36. Im going to start using FISH not Chris R avoid confusion with other Chris's. Just saying!

  37. Ian,
    Thanks for your comment, We are going to do our best to help save and keep copeland forest open to MTBer's for years to come.

    To keep everyone in the loop: This Sunday I will be attending and filming the Copeland Forest Wetland Workshop. After the workshop I will be meeting with Jason Murray of IMBA to discuss the future of the forest and how CTS can work with the IMBA to help.

    Happy trails
    the Gorilla


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