THUNDER BAY – A panel discussion on cross-border partnerships and presentations on bi-national tourism projects will be among the topics on the agenda for a two-day meeting of the Heart of the Continent Partnership.
The Heart of the Continent Partnership, a coalition of public land managers and interested community stakeholders from Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Ontario, is holding its spring quarterly meeting Thursday May 29 and Friday May 30 at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
The Ontario-Minnesota group of stakeholders have been working together under the Heart of the Continent banner for over seven years with a region-wide vision to ensure the sustainability of the vast of expanse public lands here in the centre of the North American continent. The Partnership started out with representatives of public lands from both sides of the border – the Superior National Forest, Voyaguers National Park, Grand Portage National Monument (Minnesota) and the Ontario Parks of Quetico, Kakabeka Falls and Sleeping Giant – getting together to share best practices and find ways to collaborate on projects that make best use of this vast wilderness region with a focus on environmental and economic sustainability.
Communities with the Heart of the Continent that extend from Thunder Bay down the Lake Superior shore to Duluth then in a triangle over Fort Frances – International Falls are also interested in capacity building through region-wide dialogue to make best use of healthy public lands.
Naturalist and anthropologist Jon Nelson is one of the guest speakers at the scheduled two-day meeting this week who will make a presentation on “The People of the Quetico Area” Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. The meeting opens Thursday afternoon with a video presentation on Sleeping Giant Provincial Park – A Park for All Seasons, followed by remarks from Superintendent Greg Wilson.
The Thursday afternoon continues with session with guest panelists from both sides of the border who will summarize the need for partnerships, where they already exist, and where they are still needed. Tourism highlights the agenda on Friday morning as the HOCP meeting wraps up Friday covering topics on the Sister Cities Initiative between Thunder Bay and Duluth, an update on the nomination process currently underway for the National Geographic Geotourism interactive website plus a presentation on the bi-national regional tourism approach highlighting successful branding projects like Ride Lake Superior and the Lake Superior Circle Tour.
In addition to the meeting and guest speakers, participants will also have an opportunity to get out and enjoy the hiking trails and great views on a guided hike of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The park has over 100 km of hiking trails with a variety of distances and levels of difficulty.
The Heart of the Continent Partnership (HOCP) continues to represent a broad array of organizations interested in promoting the wilderness border region in the heart of North America to the world with a goal to sustain this natural treasure for future generations.