The Egbert Boothby Property
The Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation has helped to protect an ecologically important shoreline property on Lake of Bays as a permanent natural heritage site.
With funding from cottagers on the lake, the property was purchased from the estate of Egbert Ross Boothby by the Ontario Heritage Foundation (OHF) on December 13th, 2004.
The Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation played a key role in facilitating the conservation of this land, and will be the local custodian responsible for its management in an agreement with the OHF. The OHF is the province's lead heritage agency dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural heritage of Ontario.
Located north of Bigwin Island on the west side of the Port Cunnington peninsula, the property is a rare "old growth" remnant that includes 1.7 km (5,475 feet) of shoreline and 47 acres of undisturbed mixed forest that has been classified as ecologically significant within the Muskoka Region.
The shoreline stretches north from the last cottage on Port Cunnington Road to the first cottage on Point Ideal Bay. More than 50 species of plants and trees have been identified on the property in a preliminary assessment, including Hemlock, Beech, Yellow Birch, Eastern White Cedar, Red Maple, Snowberry, Northern Starflower and Slender Wheatgrass.
This property is a legacy from Ross Boothby and the Boothby family to the people of Lake of Bays. Ross grew up, lived and worked on Lake of Bays, and was a vital part of the community. As an advocate for the protection of natural areas and the preservation of the lake's history, he was a driving force in saving the Bigwin Ferry and served on the board of the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation. Before he died this past summer, he made the decision to sell this property for conservation.
A plaque will be installed on the property in recognition of the contribution of Ross Boothby and his family to making its permanent protection possible through the sale, and for their excellent stewardship of the parcel for more than a century.
The funds to acquire the property came from generous donations by six families with cottages on the lake: Steve and Kathy Coxford, Graeme and Phyllis Ferguson, Robert and Margaret Kerr, Mark and Judy McLean, the Meneley Family, and the Murray Sinclair family.
"We thank the Boothby family and the financial donors for helping us to preserve the health and beauty of the lake by protecting this natural shoreline property,"
said Bruce MacLellan, president of the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation.
MacLellan added: "Lake of Bays is fortunate to have an abundance of undeveloped natural shoreline. With increases in property values and taxes, the pressure to develop these last natural holdouts could irrevocably change the character of our lake. We hope the conservation of the Egbert Boothby Property will inspire other people to consider the options for their land so that we may preserve the legacy for generations to come."