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Access to Marsh's Falls

Marsh’s Falls and the Lower Oxtongue River

The Lower Oxtongue River is important to everyone in the Lake of Bays area. The Oxtongue River originates 35 kilometers north-east in Algonquin Park. It is the largest source of water for the Lake of Bays. The Lower Oxtongue River begins below Marsh’s Falls  where the river meanders 4.5 kilometers through a broad valley before emptying into Dwight Bay. The valley itself contains many abandoned meanders and oxbows left by the changing course of the river. This secluded valley of 425 acres has a variety of habitat which provides refuge for a great diversity of flora and fauna species. The Lower Oxtongue River is recognized by the District of Muskoka and the Township of Lake of Bays as an important natural heritage area. Many people on the lake make annual or regular trips up the river to enjoy nature and to experience Marsh’s Falls.

In November of 2014, the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation (LBHF) acquired property on the north side of Marsh’s Falls for conservation protection. This means, combined with the adjoining property purchased in 2008, LBHF now holds 170 acres of the river valley. In this way, much of the Lower Oxtongue River and the land surrounding it will be preserved for future generations.


Plans for Public Access

In the interest of providing public access to Marsh’s Falls and while preserving the natural heritage, LBHF plans to lease the land at the top of the falls to the Township of Lake of Bays as a publicly accessible park. Meetings have taken place and a site agreed to. However, the driveway that currently leads to the Falls is not acceptable to the Ministry of Transport of Ontario as a safe public access from Highway #35.


How to Access Marsh’s Falls Today

LBHF leads  a number of guided walks through the property as well as the annual Silent Boat Rally in which people bring their canoes, kayaks and paddle boards to the property and experience a guided paddle out to the lake and back. Information about these events and registration is available by contacting info@lakeofbaysheritage.ca.  Some organizations have made arrangements for groups of their members to schedule a nature walk or a guided paddle on the river. For liability reasons, the Foundation is not able to provide general access to the property by road or boat and due to the limited number of volunteers is not able to schedule visits for individuals. For canoeists paddling the entire Oxtongue River, the original native portage through the LBHF property has been re-established and is marked with portage signs.


General Information

The Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation is a registered charitable organization operated by volunteers from the Lake of Bays community. At any time we are happy to hear from our members or people interested in preserving our heritage through donations, volunteering or just general enquiries. Please contact us at info@lakeofbaysheritage.ca or (416) 284-0389. People can access our website http://lakeofbaysheritage.ca/ to subscribe to our electronic newsletter or visit us at Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation Facebook or follow us on twitter @LoBHeritage.


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.
Dr. Cathy Charles Stay-at-home Spring Bird Count, weekend of May 9
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The wherever-you-are butterfly, damselfly & dragonfly challenge, July 11 weekend
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Annual General Meeting of Members - by Zoom, Wednesday August 19 5:00pm
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Contact Us

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