Virginia’s Copeland Forest Summer Trail Map is still available for purchase and porch pick up.
With no public hard copy map of Copeland available that includes all trails (double and single), I decided to take the map I had stuck in my head from hours of running/biking Copeland and transfer it to paper. Although there are apps on our phones and strava to help guide us a wee bit, I wanted a hard copy of Copeland where you can see the entire thing in one beautiful view. My result? A map that includes all single track, double track along with numbered signs, sensitive area signs, key trail features, parking lots and any natural features that help locate your position (rock walls, streams, ponds, skinnies, jumps, local trail names and downhills). Although I have done my best to retrace every last trail in Copeland numerous times, I can not promise 100 percent accuracy (although I believe it is pretty darn close) so please use only as one of the many tools to help you in your navigation. Please read below for more history of how this map came to life!
COST: Maps are $20 and all proceeds from the map will be donated to Copeland Forest Friends Association.
STYLE: Hard copy homemade style with graphic designs by Slawka Weber
SIZE: 17 by 22 folded into a 4×8 pamphlet OR can buy FLAT copy of map
PURCHASE/PICK UP A MAP: After you have purchased the map via e-transfer, I will email you address for pick up in Horseshoe Valley. Simply grab a map from the container at the side of my house at your convenience.
PAYMENT OPTION: Please e-transfer $20 to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the memo state “COPELAND MAP”. I will respond with my home address for pick up.
CONTACT ME: email@example.com with any questions!
PICK UP: Maps can be picked in Horseshoe Valley.
This map was definitely a labour of love. For the last 3 years I toyed with the idea to build a hard copy map of Copeland, but just never enough time as I knew it would be a huge undertaking. However, with the sudden loss of my sister, Vicki, in 2017, I found myself broken, angry and so very confused. I could not be around people as the littlest of thing bothered me. I was consumed with anger, guilt and resentment. As a result, I headed into Copeland for hours on end to find some kind of peace. I started to think about transferring my map from my head onto paper. This thought allowed me to focus on something different then the “why her, whose next, so unfair, where is she now, what about her kids” and all the other questions that ran ramped in my head. I began to hyper focus on every trail, every turn and every trail feature I saw. It gave me such relief from my busy non-stop thoughts that left me so frustrated. With something to finally focus on, with no end goal or reason insight, I just starting building it. I ran and hiked with friends, rode my bike with others to double-check trails and started to build the map with my husband, Ray Gingras, and kids too. It became a family affair. It brought me such joy. Such joy in a time of such pain. And then it was done. I didn’t realize how emotionally attached I was to it until I showed it to a few people. It represented something to me. Although I could not control or fix my sister’s death, I felt in a weird way that I was still doing something. Creating something. Or it felt like she was with me for each step I took. I talked to her quite a bit in the woods. I laughed, yelled and cried. I was quite surprised by some people’s reaction to the idea of this map. My friends where so supportive. But there were some naysayers that just ignored the idea or rolled their eyes with a silly joke. One person said, “lots of maps of Copeland out there” (guess they are in cyber space somewhere as I have yet to see a real good hard copy of one with all trails). I was shocked. Really? Why is building this map so threatening? Please do not say because it will bring more people into the forest and more garbage. Please. Really? Come on. People enter Copeland all the time and everyone knows about those trails. It blew my mind. For that reason I paused on releasing the map. I did not want any comments to ruin this process for me. I contemplated not releasing it. Then I had a phone call with a highly educated map builder/orienteerer who is also a very well-known successful race director in Ontario. His excitement and guidance to me was so inspiring. He asked about the map and did not downplay it despite his vast knowledge in maps. No dismissing it. No silly joke or comment of “its not needed”. He was quick to provide me with some of his own orienteering maps of Copeland and encouraged me to continue. He did this all within a 15 minute phone call and a few emails. That is what true leaders do. They build others up even when there is nothing in it for them.
My husband also continued to support me in releasing it. “Do it now. Who cares what others think”. I am so lucky to have him beside me.
I refocused. I realized that was exactly what I was just scared about. What would others think? Enough. Why did I care? A hardcopy of Copeland with all trails is SO needed and continuously asked for. Who wouldn’t want a hard copy map to somewhat guide us through this “web” of trails in our own back yard? This forest is for everyone to enjoy regardless of who started the trails, who maintains them, who uses them or who thinks others should not use them. I decided then and there to be a bit vulnerable and release this map. Copeland is for the public. Many in our community can not even go into it in fear of getting lost. Everyone should be able to have equal access (elite athletes or die-hard hikers, to the people who randomly walk on occasion). The beauty of that forest is for us all. Thank you to all those trail builders who spend countless hours on these trails volunteering their time for our pleasure in a thankless effort to give us access to this beauty. Especially to those that started building these trails well over 20 years ago, long before any of us were near them. Long before the current trail builders came along. Long before single track became a thing. I am not a trail builder. I wish I could help, but I can’t. However, I can provide this map. I can donate all the proceeds (minus the cost of printing the map) to Copeland Forest Friends Association and do my little part. So I ask you, “Can you help me with a purchase of this map?” If so, I would be forever grateful and also hopeful that you can get the same pleasure from it as I have.
Obviously, this map means so much more to me than just a map. It represents my healing journey through a life changing event. Most of us can understand this as we all at some point have had the carpet pulled from under us in some aspect. I ask for your support in helping me move through my own journey and support this cause. If you can sell a bunch at your business, on your street or around the community, please let me know. I would be so grateful for such support.
With great gratitude,
Virginia Gingras 🙂