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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.

Our Results
  • Acquired over 50 per cent of the Lower Oxtongue River for permanent protection, including 6.5 km of shoreline.
  • Preserved one mile of natural shoreline and 47-acres of forest at Port Cunnington.
  • Partnered with the Ontario Heritage Trust to be the steward of the 100-acre Pyke property near Brown's Brae.
  • Recognized more than 30 building owners with plaques for heritage property protection.
  • Encouraged the Township to create a Heritage Committee of Council to encourage protection.
  • Rescued the Bigwin ferry from a sunken mooring in 1991 and conducted feasibility studies to transfer to the current Navigation Society for restoration.
  • Established the Harriet T. Weaver Memorial Trust which funds two bursaries each year to assist one student from each of Bracebridge and Huntsville high schools to help pay for their first year of university or college.
Bird Count - June 8, 2019, 8am
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Butterfly, Dragonfly, Damselfly Count - July 7, 2019, 9:00am
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Silent Boat Rally - Aug 3, 2019, 9am-1pm
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Annual General Meeting - Aug 17, 2019
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Mushroom Walk - Oct 12, 2019, 9am
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Contact Us

Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation
P.O. Box 81
Baysville, Ontario
P0B 1A0