Upper French River cottagers have three distinct neighbours: French River Park, Dokis First Nation, and the townships and municipalities in which they are located.
Our first and most immediate neighbour is French River Provincial Park. The French River is both a Canadian Heritage River and a Provincial Waterway Park. Unlike some parks like Algonquin where cottagers lease the land, cottagers on the French River own title to the land and their patented (private) properties are not included in the Park itself. UFRCA members are also members of Friends of the French, an organization that produces the Park maps and sponsors other endeavors to assist Park management. The UFRCA is represented on the French River Provincial Park Joint Management Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Park superintendent on a variety of issues. In association with the Park, the UFRCA created the Adopt-a-Campsite programme, whereby cottagers volunteer to clean campsites.
Dokis First Nation is our second close neighbour. Approximately 80% of UFRCA cottagers access the river from Dokis and most keep their boats and park their cars at Riverview Cottages, owned by Leonard and Shirley Dokis. Leonard Dokis is a respected elder and has become the perennial “go-to” person when emergencies arise. Leonard has built a strong reputation for his contributions to both the community and environment and lends ready assistance in emergency situations such as fire or medical evacuations. The ice cream at the store is a bonus! The UFRCA has supported many initiatives at Dokis and has close ties with the community.
Lastly, and somewhat reluctantly, cottagers on the north side of the river in Bertram Township became residents of West Nipissing Municipality after amalgamation in 1996. High taxes became an immediate issue and the UFRCA has struggled to be recognized as a major financial contributor to the region but with little in return. Since amalgamation, the UFRCA has been instrumental in promoting the establishment of 911 addressing on the river and in remote water-access areas, and mail-in voting. The on-going issue of the maintenance of the Dokis Road was finally resolved in 2011 when West Nipissing finally accepted responsibility for maintaining its portion of the road. Cottagers on the south side in Patterson and Hardy Townships pay a provincial land tax as these townships are unorganized. All pay education taxes.