Protecting Quetico since 1954

About The Quetico Foundation

Our mission & vision

The Quetico Foundation’s mission is dedicated to the protection of wilderness, with a particular focus on Quetico Wilderness Provincial Park. Our vision is to be recognized as an influential and credible leader in the protection of wilderness values and ecological integrity.

Our leadership

The Quetico Foundation’s volunteer Board of Trustees and Trustee Emeriti continue to be diverse, distinguished people from Ontario and the northern United States. We all share a love of Quetico Park and a passion for the protection of Ontario’s wilderness. Meet our trustees.

Our history


The Ontario Government sets aside 1,148,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness in north-western Ontario as a game reserve. This land is now known as Quetico Provincial Park.

In the same year, Minnesota matches Ontario with a tract of 1,400,000 acres of contiguous wilderness, the Superior National Forest. 1,090,000 acres of this land are now known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.


Prominent political figures, scientists and journalists become increasingly aware of the value of wilderness. In 1949, the Canadian Quetico-Superior Committee is established by Canada’s Governor General, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, and together with its US counterpart, promotes the protection and stewardship of this large international wilderness.


The Committee evolves into The Quetico Foundation, under provincial charter led by John B. Ridley. Its mandate is to “assist in every way possible – and particularly through education, research and promotion, protection of the great wilderness and historical values and development of the recreational usage of the section of north western Ontario…commonly known as Quetico.”


Our founders believed cultivating appreciation for the scenic, historical, recreational, and scientific values of wilderness is the best way of protecting it. The Quetico Foundation has stayed this course, ensuring the fulfillment of the vision of our founding predecessors. In 2014, we marked 60 successful years of wilderness protection!

Our approach

We place high importance on meeting our objectives. We believe credibility, connections, and broader support are critical to success. We get involved where the stakes are high and our value will be greatest, leveraging results through our broad base of supporters and allies.

We also recognize the power of collaboration, teaming up with like-minded organizations who share our aims. Together, we strive to help decision-makers, users and stakeholders value the Quetico wilderness – and so ensure its preservation for generations to come.

Our key accomplishments

  • Strongly influenced how ‘wilderness values’ are portrayed in regulations, policies and management plans
  • Provided advocacy, insight and contributions to numerous policy and regulatory initiatives
  • Mapped Quetico’s forest fire data and vegetation
  • Conducted benthic studies, shoreline assessments, invasive species assessments, and heavy metal contaminant analyses
  • Augmented Quetico’s indigenous, genetically superior rust-resistant white pines
  • Supported local community and Park initiatives, including the John B. Ridley Research Library (in honour of one of the Foundation’s founding members)
  • Supported the publication of numerous highly credible scientific and educational publications, maps and resources
  • Participated significantly in the creation and leadership of the new Heart of the Continent Partnership; a coalition of over 25 Canadian and US stakeholders who wish to protect the Quetico-Superior wilderness
  • Provided research and education-based programming for over 200 youth and families through our Summer Student Research Program, Biology Internship Program, Ridley Wilderness Youth Program and the Shan Walshe Memorial Bursary