Nature reserve named for Washago’s Ron Reid
Property includes more than four kilometres of Black River shoreline
When the Couchiching Conservancy acquired several hundred acres of vital natural habitat east of Washago, it seemed only appropriate to give the property a name of substance.
Initially called the Black River Wildlands, the site is now known as the Ron Reid Nature Reserve, in celebration of a stalwart supporter and founder of the long-running land trust.
Never one to clamour for the limelight, Reid was “shocked and honoured” by the act.
“It hadn’t crossed my mind that they would do something like that,” the Washago man told Simcoe.com.
Twenty-five years ago, Reid and a handful of like-minded area residents founded the conservancy in response to a need for protection of the region’s natural environment.
“At the time, we had no conservation authority operating in the area,” he recalled. “There were people that we knew of that were strongly motivated to protect natural areas, and they were looking for, in some cases, someone who would accept the responsibility of taking on ownership and looking after those opportunities for the long term.”
In the intervening years, the regional land trust has helped protect close to 5,260 hectares of important natural habitat in the Lake Couchiching region.
“It feels amazingly good,” Reid said of the group’s successes. “It is one of those good ideas that the Orillia area has been able to export to, certainly elsewhere in Ontario and to a certain extent elsewhere in Canada.”
The group’s latest acquisition is a 730-acre property, one of several private parcels inside Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park.
It includes more than four kilometres of shoreline along the Black River and is home to several species at risk, including the Blanding’s turtle and eastern hog-nosed snake.
Reid, who was as an environmental consultant/planner during his career continues to volunteer with the conservancy, as well as working on a contract basis for the land trust.
“(The conservancy) is there for the long term,” he added. “You don’t want to build something that is going to sputter and fail as soon as the first group (of supporters) wears out. We have very deliberately built an organization that is going to last.”