Oxtongue River Property
In June 2008, a highly significant and ecologically important shoreline property on the lower Oxtongue River that flows into Dwight Bay on Lake of Bays was permanently protected as a natural heritage site by the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation.
The Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation acquired the spectacular 100 acre property that includes mature wooded land as well as approximately 5.5 kilometers of shoreline on both sides of the Oxtongue River (80 acres is land and the rest of the parcel is water).
The Oxtongue River stretches approximately 35 kilometers from Algonquin Park to Lake of Bays and was once an important canoe route through Muskoka. As it approaches Lake of Bays, the river meanders and creates a diversity of habitats for a wide variety of wildlife species. The lower Oxtongue runs between Marsh’s Falls at Highway 35 and Lake of Bays and is recognized for its ecological importance in the Muskoka Heritage Areas Program and by the Township of Lake of Bays in the Official Plan. The part now protected by the LBHF represents approximately 40% of the length of the lower Oxtongue.
Our many Life Members and other donors made this acquisition possible by their financial support over the years. By supporting the Foundation in our ongoing work, this tremendous piece of our natural heritage is now secure from any development.
The Foundation has worked with a biologist to assess the habitat and species found on the property and then develop a permanent stewardship plan. Given the combination of mature forest and riparian habitat, it is believed the property is one of the richest in terms of species diversity to be found anywhere in Lake of Bays Township.
Previously, the LBHF has partnered with the Ontario Heritage Trust to preserve the Boothby and Pyke properties in the Township, totaling almost 150 acres and almost two kilometers of shoreline. A telephone survey of permanent and seasonal residents of Lake of Bays by the Heritage Foundation in the summer of 2002 found that 97% ranked the protection of undeveloped natural shoreline as very or somewhat important.