David Kennedy: Tourism Ambassador & Friend of the Forest

David Kennedy: Tourism Ambassador & Friend of the Forest

This new series profiles some of the notable people in the Township, and why they love to live, work and play in Oro-Medonte. The people that live here in Oro-Medonte are the experts, they are connected to the place and have a passion for the local culture and community.  We aim to highlight and share their stories and favourite places.


In a Township renowned for its pristine woodlands and vibrant natural spaces, David Kennedy is a true leader. As the founding member of the Copeland Forest Friends, a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the natural integrity of the 4,400 acre Copeland Forest, David has a decades-long passion for the great outdoors, environmental protection, cross-country skiing and landscape photography. All of which he can enjoy from his home in Oro-Medonte.

Since his retirement seventeen years ago, David has enjoyed living in the Horseshoe Valley area, and he currently serves as President of the Copeland Forest Friends. He’s motivated by a love for the unique natural surroundings: “I’m continually inspired by the beauty of the hills and forests throughout Oro-Medonte. Within the forest, there is a more intimate and small-scale environment that has its own beauty, whether spring wildflowers, fall mushrooms, flowing streams or vernal pools.”




Cross-Country Skiing


David is an avid cross-country skier, and it was first-rate skiing that first attracted him to Oro-Medonte: “We skied at Hardwood Hills and Horseshoe Resort for over twenty-five years and got to know the area. Some winters, we rented a small home or chalet as our son was in the development squad at Hardwood Hills (now Hardwood Ski and Bike),” he says. “When we decided to retire seventeen years ago, we wanted to continue to be close to cross-country skiing and looked for a home in the middle of the Township. We were fortunate to find a home with an amazing view just off Horseshoe Valley Road and in easy distance of Hardwood.”


Landscape Photography

David is a talented photographer whose work brilliantly captures the beauty of Oro-Medonte’s wild spaces. His images evoke the spirit of the landscape, with a keen eye for the remarkable colour and design on display by mother nature. Many of his stunning images, available on his Valley Edge Photography website, are created in the Copeland Forest where the rich fall colours, snow-covered scenery and thriving flora and fauna often catch his eye.

A Friend To Copeland Forest

Copeland Forest is a 4,400 acre natural area located in Oro-Medonte which is popular with cross-country skiiers, hikers, mountain bikers, landscape photographers, equestrians and more.

David is the current President of the Copeland Forest Friends which he helped to establish in 2015 to protect the largest intact forest in southern Ontario. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Copeland Forest Friends works to conserve the natural integrity of the forest and facilitates compatible recreational use. It is an entirely volunteer-led organization.

David, a seasoned expert on the features of the Copeland Forest, recommends that folks who may be interested in exploring the Copeland Forest should download the free map available on the Copeland Forest Friends website. He says that the Copeland Forest is open to all users (except motorized users) and he provides some insider tips on top spots to explore: “Visitors wanting to see fall colours or spring wildflowers can enter the forest at P4, there are multiple parking locations to access the Copeland Forest. For those looking for a challenging mountain biking adventure, he recommends that folks use the Trailforks mobile app to uncover some of the most advanced – and exciting – hills in the area.

Favourite Local Businesses


When David is not spending time in the forest he frequents some favourite local businesses. Horseshoe Resort is a local business that he likes to support because they have been an excellent partner to Copeland Forest Friends. “Horseshoe Resort has helped us with meeting space and trail work and the BBQ for our fall fairs,” he explains. “They are a great partner and contributor to the health of the forest.”

For an apres-ski or apres-hike refreshment, David recommends visiting Quayle’s Brewery located on the 12th Line N: “Quayle’s Brewery is a great destination after an energetic visit to the Copeland Forest. Their beer is some of the best in Ontario.”

For more information on the Copeland Forest, visit the Copeland Forest Friends website.

To learn more about outdoor recreation and other adventures in Oro-Medonte visit: https://www.orillialakecountry.ca/tourism-oro-medonte/

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