The Near North Chapter was founded in the Spring of 2009 with founding Directors: Don Willis (President), Stephen Mitchell (Vice-President), Tim Bryson (Treasurer), Tom Bryson Don McVittie, John Long, Rene Bazinet, Roy Warriner, and Bill Hagborg. We were the 17th Chapter created under the OWA umbrella. What is interesting is that the Near North Chapter was originally founded through the support of not only the OWA, but also two Stewardship Councils at the time – The Greater Nipissing Stewardship Council and the Parry Sound – Muskoka Stewardship Council. To date, we have held meetings, presentation and field tours in the towns of Mattawa, North Bay, Sumdridge, Burk’s Falls and South River. Our members come from the area stretching from Deep River/Mattawa over to Temagami in the north, west towards Sudbury then towards the northern edge of the Huntsville boundary.
Our membership is small and the Chapter was created to give woodlot owners a voice for those residing on the boundary between the Deciduous and Boreal Forests in Ontario. The properties are north of Ontario’s heavily populated areas, with highways 11 & 17 connecting and intersecting in the middle of our membership area. Our largest Chapter meeting was held April 18th 2015 where we achieved an attendance of 40 people. In the past seven years we have discussed subjects in our meetings covering invasive species, mushroom propagation, Trees Ontario programs, regeneration techniques, hardwood management, brush saw clearing, endangered species, weed competition management, Forest without Borders projects, OWA initiative, forest inventory, market indicators, and others. Nipissing Forest Resource Management, which, under SFI, has provided great direction, is an important industry supporting member of our programs. Other forestry organizations in our area are Westwind Forest Stewardship and Algonquin Forestry Authority.
Some challenges have resulted from the remote character of our area such as a lack of funding opportunities (in reforestation initiatives) in our general area due to a limited population base and landowners have struggled to have guest speakers of interest visit the local area and give interactive tours. Creating the NNOWA Chapter provided this opportunity and created a family of woodlot owners in a large area where landowners are spread far apart. The creation of the Chapter has also allowed our members to interact with our local sections of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) and The Canadian Institute of Forestry, Algonquin section (CIF).
President - Donald Willis
Vice-President - Stephen Mitchell
Treasurer- Tim Bryson