2011 International Community Congress: One year later
Balancing Nature and Commerce in Communities that Neighbour Public Lands
In October 2011, ten community teams from both sides of the Minnesota Ontario border came together to plan projects that take advantage of the incredible natural resources of the area and to develop workable action plans to improve the sustainability of their individual economies and the public lands in the broader Heart of the Continent region. (Download Workshop Results Summary, November 2011.)
Since then, the ten teams have launched a wonderful array of initiatives in the region. Here are some highlights from the many outcomes of the four-day gathering.
- The Ranier team completed its tourist map, is beginning a new project and has become a partner with Destination Voyageurs National Park
- North of Superior Parks Team is completing their interactive web app for a new hiking trail with HOCP input
- Destination Voyageurs National Park Team has completed their strategic plan and are now working on a fundraising plan
- The North Shore Scenic Drive team has completed much of the relationship building they set out to do and are now beginning a working relationship across the border with Thunder Bay Tourism. The team is supportive of ongoing HOCP planning efforts and will provide support with continued participation as they can.
- The Laurentian Connection Team completed their Environmental Fair, and are planning ongoing quarterly education opportunities
- The Trans Canada Trail Team has invested significant planning time creating the Path of the Paddle – a long distance water trail. The group worked within Quetico park this summer
The Congress resulted in a new project for HOCP to partner in creating a Geotourism Map and website with the National Geographic Society. This project will engage many folks from many different sectors
The intangibles are also important. New working relationships have been created between land agencies of the two nations, between local residents and conservation groups and between tourist bureaus in different cities. Most of us are now using these new relationships in our daily work.
As 2012 comes to a close, HOCP is wrapping up its work in providing follow up support for the Congress, but the ten team projects continue with a life of their own. The Steering Committee would like to thank the design team members, the participants and sponsors for making this innovative and productive workshop happen.
Teams and Action Plans
- Atikokan/Quetico – Familiarization Bus Tour in May 2012
- Destination Voyageurs National Park – Develop a Marketing Plan for DVNP by December 2012
- Grand Portage, Grand Marais & Gunflint Trail – Create A Cook County History Trail
- Iron Range– Educational Program to Connect Local Residents With The Outdoors
- Municipality of Neebing – Re-Open Pigeon River Provincial Park
- The New City of Ranier – Create a Ranier-Centered Map
- North Shore Scenic Drive – Use “Two Cities, One Route” To Promote the Duluth/Thunderbay Byway
- The North of Superior/Parks Group – Create Nor’wester Adventure
- Trans Canada Trail Ontario – Create And Promote a Waterway Trail Across The Region
- Connecting Volunteers to the Heart of the Continent – Web-Based Volunteer Pool
About the Congress
In October 2011, ten community teams participated in a multi-day forum and training event that brought together community teams, public land managers, and other interested parties from both sides of the international border with the purpose of learning how to best take advantage of the incredible natural resources of this area and to develop workable plans to improve the sustainability of their individual economies and the broader Heart of the Continent region as a whole.
The workshop sought to enhance the capacity for active citizenship and leadership in local communities by providing a structured environment for citizens to gather and create just and equitable opportunities for their community, and to connect socially, economically and environmentally with their neighboring public lands.