Natural Heritage Conservation
With respect to natural heritage, the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation has a simple goal:
To protect the natural areas of the Lake of Bays watershed for future generations.
Our Foundation conducted a telephone survey of Lake of Bays residents in 2001 and they told us that protecting the natural qualities of the lake's shoreline is their number one priority. We agree and welcome volunteers to help!
To achieve our goal, the Foundation works on projects that:
- Protect and restore the natural environment;
- Encourage land owners to have an understanding and awareness of the natural environment and its value;
- Encourage local governments to include heritage conservation considerations in all policies and practices;
- Identify and assist in the acquisition and preservation of lands of ecological, recreational, scientific, scenic, heritage or open space value;
- Undertake research which will add to our knowledge of the natural environment of our area;
- Promote environmentally sensitive practices that minimize human impacts on the features and functions of natural heritage; and,
- Raise and allocate funds to accomplish these goals.
The Foundation, working with permanent and seasonal residents, focuses its efforts on protecting natural heritage features through means such as education, voluntary stewardship actions, conservation easements and land donations or acquisitions. We also are qualified as an official land trust so that we can own properties, as we do on the lower Oxtongue River.
Recognizing that the primary interest of the majority of its members focuses on the ecological health of Lake of Bays and its immediate vicinity, the Foundation's geographic area of interest is the Lake of Bays watershed. The land and waters within this watershed lie within three different municipalities (the Township of Lake of Bays and the Town of Huntsville in the District Municipality of Muskoka, and the Township of Algonquin Highlands in the County of Haliburton) and parts of Algonquin Park. The spectacular natural beauty of this region makes it a major tourist destination and popular recreation area. Located in the upper reaches of the Muskoka River watershed, it lacks the presence of a conservation authority to assist in the protection of its natural heritage.
On occasion, the Foundation's interest may extend to cover activities of the Muskoka bioregion.