Category Archives: Muskoka Activities

Reminder: The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience is this Saturday!

Even if you aren’t paddling in the event, it’s an … ahem… Great Experience to watch.
This Saturday, at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge, come out and see why The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience has become an epic one in Ontario paddling and beyond.

https://vimeo.com/76351898

The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience generously supports the work of the Muskoka Watershed Council. Past cottageinmuskoka.ca post, and here are some additional links to published articles on the event:

– Muskoka Watershed Council media release: story
– Town of Bracebridge media release: story
– What’s Up Muskoka : story
– Muskoka Magazine: story  (scroll down a page).
– Bracebridge Weekender: story

The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience

I’ve just finished post-processing and editing this video for the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience. This event, held annually on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend is a great opportunity for anyone – even if you don’t have a canoe or kayak, you can rent one there – to get out on the water for perhaps the last time of the year. It was a fun video to shoot and create and I hope it captures just how much fun the event can be.

The Great Muskoka Paddling Event benefits the Muskoka Watershed Council and helps give them a bit more of a budget to do important work. It’s a really well organized event and fun for all ages, and all levels of paddling experience.

Why don’t you try it this year?

GMPE_Flyer_v2

Muskoka and Global: Environmental Good News Stories.

Did you know that Gravenhurst Bay in Lake Muskoka is 4 to 5 times cleaner than it was 1970?
Did you know that everyone alive in the 70’s had toxic levels of lead in their blood?
Did you know that Muskoka has only half as many acid lakes as it once did?
Well, how about this then: if it wasn’t for the life in lakes, we would all be blind, deaf , stupid and dead.

Dr. Norman Yan
To be blunt; we would all be blind, deaf , stupid and dead if it wasn’t for the life in lakes.

From the Muskoka Watershed Council Lecture Series I have just finished editing and have just posted this video on the Muskoka Watershed Council’s YouTube page.
Dr. Norman Yan, an extremely engaging speaker, revisits some past environmental successes, what we have learned and the steps we need to take to solve today’s environmental problems.

Phosphorous is the conrolling factor in eutrophication.

Learn how the reduction of phosphorus resulted in a clean up in Gravenhurst Bay while the International Joint Commission was still debating whether its carbon or phosphorus that spikes algal growth? This local Muskoka cleanup helped convince the world that phosphorus is the cause of cultural eutrophication. This phenomena is of increasing concern as population grows and the climate heats up; after all, we learned from this lecture, that algae really love heat.

Current photo of lake in China where people swim in an algal bloom.
Current photo of lake in China where people swim in an algal bloom.

Revisit the change to unleaded gas which got the toxic levels of lead out of our blood. Dr. Yan also discusses the many benefits of the ban on DDT, as well as the immediate benefits of the recent Ontario ban of cosmetic pesticides and herbicides. Also be sure not to miss houses disappearing from view as the Sudbury environment improves over 40 years!

Tired of environmental finger wagging? Come and hear some good news and how we can all move forward.

Wed. August 15 th at the Port Carling Community Centre at 7:00 is the latest of the Muskoka Watershed Council’s Environmental lecture series.

Did you know that Gravenhurst Bay is 5 times cleaner now than it once was? That Muskoka has only half as many acid lakes as it once did? That lead pollution, once a common environmental and human health problem, has all but disappeared? That the concentration of pesticides in the environment fell 10 to 100 fold once the cosmetic use of pesticides was banned?

We can, and often have, solved very large and complicated environmental problems that affect our health and the condition of the watersheds we share with thousands of other species. In this Muskoka Watershed Council lecture, Dr. Norman Yan will celebrate our past environmental successes by briefly reviewing the history of several good news stories. More importantly, he will talk about what we have learned from the past and the steps we need to take to solve today’s environmental problems.

We have created global environmental problems, but we have also solved environmental problems of a global scale on more than one occasion. Come learn how we can move from creating to solving such problems.

Crossroads and cross-lakes.

After showing cottages by boat (they were mostly island cottages for sale) on Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau all day Saturday, we knew that we had planned well. We finished up around 6:00 pm at the top of Lake Rosseau, in Cameron Bay across from the Village of Rosseau, and just in time for dinner.
Fortunately our favourite Muskoka restaurant Crossroads Pub & Grill is just across from the village public docks. Crossroads is one of Muskoka’s best kept secrets – and that’s not just our opinion; check out the opinions of others on TripAdvisor. As you may see, the only criticism is that it takes a while to get your food served. That’s true, but having your meal made on the spot for you, well, it is absolutely worth the wait. Richard and Julie run a fantastic, community engaged restaurant serving a lot of local products. Pure. Simple. Delicious. Check them out in action. I think they didn’t notice their Videographer spelled restaurant wrong at the end:)

So, having arrived at 6:30 for dinner, meeting up with family and friends and taking our own sweet time to order and enjoying our fabulous meals, we weren’t back to the boat until 10:15. Even at the height of summer in Muskoka, it’s getting pretty dark. With a dock waiting on lake Muskoka, we had a long way to go: all of Lake Rosseau, half of Lake Muskoka, Indian River, Mirror Lake and the lock at Port Carling between them – which closes at 8:00 PM.

 

Lake Rosseau at 10:30 at 30 knots.
Lake Rosseau at 10:30 at 30 knots.

It’s a surreal experience, at cruising speed on the black surface of the lake. I know the way, but it is COMPLETELY different in the dark. Nothing is familiar; everything you normally use for guidance is gone. I know that Lake Rosseau  goes from close to 300ft. depths in the north to 100ft. or so in the south toward Port Carling; but it’s the edges I’m more worried about, and the rock shoals here and there. Anything other than that safe depth of water would be an absolute, potentially life threatening, disaster. This becomes little trouble though if you have, like I do an iPad and Navionics. For about 15 bucks I know, within a reasonable margin, where I am, where I am going and where the hazards are. All lit up on the iPad screen – you have to turn the brightness all the way down at night – really excellent!

Tobin Island Lake Rosseau on the Navionics app on my iPad
Tobin Island Lake Rosseau on the Navionics app on my iPad

The main lock at Port Carling closes at 8:00 PM, and we arrived there around 11:00PM. Fortunately there is a self-serve lock available. It’s tricky manoeuvering around to the smaller lock in the dark. There are marker buoys set, but no good lighting – if you have docking lights, put them on to pick up the reflective tape on the buoys. Head for the blue dock edge and tie up.

Tied up at the self-serve lock on the Lake Rosseau side.
Tied up at the self-serve lock on the Lake Rosseau side.

The self-serve part of the Port Carling locks is easy. Head over to the booth – we pay annually (about $85) for lock use, otherwise there is a drop box for your payment on the honour system. Then, you just stick your hand in the hole, move the lever in the direction of whichever gate is open, hold the lever in that position until the gate closes and the lock fills. It is crazy with bugs attracted by the light right over your head – but no biters for whatever reason.

Operating the self-serve lock at Port Carling.
Operating the self-serve lock at Port Carling.

The rest of the trip through Indian River and down into Lake Muskoka was just as beautiful as the Lake Rosseau passage. And again, no problem with the assistance of the iPad and Navionics. We docked about midnight. Nice adventure!

Stevenson Plumbing and Electric. “Working in the cold and dark to fix the problem.”

To have your customers recognize the lengths that you will go to, to take care of them – isn’t that the kind of testimonial we would all love to get, as thanks for what we do? An acknowledgement that our product or service accomplished exactly what was needed or desired, and performed under conditions and with such skill, that the customer couldn’t/wouldn’t take it on themselves.  Well, “Working in the cold and dark to fix the problem.” is one of Stevenson’s Plumbing and Electric client’s comment of thanks.

I love to recommend good people. And in this case, not just because they have done excellent work on huge and small jobs throughout Muskoka (I know – many, many of our cottage clients are big fans); everything from complete builds to emergency repairs and the annual closing and opening of the cottage in Muskoka. But because they contribute to our quality of life in countless other ways. I couldn’t begin to list the ways and the events that the Stevenson’s have contributed to the Muskoka community; it wouldn’t do them justice. It is quite simply countless. They invest, and are invested in our community.

This is a family owned and operated business with trucks full of good people and gizmos all over Muskoka.

Today, Stevenson Plumbing and Electric opened their doors with a BBQ to thank the community and celebrate their 20th year.

From left: Brent, Susan, Terry and Blake
The Stevenson’s. From left: Brent, Susan, Terry and Blake

In addition to the BBQ there was a “20 Year” cake and tours of their facility in Gravenhurst.

This was better than ANY aisle at Home Depot. I was amazed at what Stevenson's have at hand, and ready to deploy on that nasty problem.
This was better than ANY aisle at Home Depot. I was amazed at what was on hand, and ready to deploy on those nasty problems.

 

Algae and Water Quality. Looking back to see the future

As mentioned in previous posts, cottage owners and cottage buyers want to know about water quality on lakes in Muskoka. Because water quality has a direct relationship to property value, and algae – particularly algal blooms – directly affect water quality, we all want to know as much as we can .

I just completed and uploaded a video here for the Muskoka Watershed Council YouTube page. The subject is a talk that was presented by Dr. Andrew Paterson of the Dorset Environmental Centre at the Muskoka Stewardship Conference at Nipissing University in Muskoka (Bracebridge). The event’s theme was What Are You Watching?

2013_Theme_2_sm

This highly interesting talk looks at studying lake sediments deposited over hundreds – and even thousands of years. Sediments are archives of environmental change and within them are clues to possible triggers of algae outbreaks.

Dr. Paterson talks about sediment research done in Lake of the Woods in north-western Ontario and the Hudson Bay Lowlands which may help scientist understand occurrences in the lakes of Muskoka. There is discussion on the relationship between water quality and property value for cottagers. The seeming paradox of stable or even declining phosphorous levels – the usual algal bloom suspect- at the same time as blue-green outbreaks are increasing. And of course, the effect of climate change.

b682f36641169cef25163a9e7e1c_Content
Algal Bloom Three Mile Lake 2005

Of particular note is the 2005 toxic algal bloom in Three Mile Lake in 2005, where research may indicate the possible triggers of record high temperatures coupled with record low precipitation which occurred in the fall of 2005 in Muskoka.

Slide 1

There is significant evidence that a warming climate is related to the increase in algal blooms. Dr. Paterson suggests that if algae was the music that we hear from a radio: then phosphorous is the volume; other nutrients (particularly nitrogen), light, etc., influence what species are present – are the “tuning”; and climate is the antenna. The presentation concludes that blue-green algae likes it hot!

Slide 1

Click here for the link to the video on YouTube.

Sparrow Lake Fishing Derby & Picnic

We have hosted these two events in the past on behalf of the Sparrow Lake Association. I am glad to see it continue; also to see that the fishing derby continues to be catch & release.

We urge all Sparrow Lake and Severn River residents and visitors to join the SLA and enjoy these events as well as the annual Regatta. The SLA does important work to protect your investment in, and enjoyment of, this wonderful area.

Here’s a link to download the Sparrow Lake Association brochure.

Message from the SLA President

Please join us for the annual Sparrow Lake Association Fishing Derby and Picnic on July 6, 2013.

The fishing derby starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 11:30am–no fishing license is required as it is Free Fishing Week in Ontario. All ages are welcome to fish but only children 14 and younger are eligible to win prizes. You are required to hand in an entry form at the end of the Derby to be eligible for prizes. This is strictly a catch and release tournament and tracking of fish caught is on the honour system, as witnessed by an adult. Entry forms will be available at the Franklin Park Dock (adjacent to Silver Pines) prior to the start of the Derby or can be downloaded from our website http://www.sparrowlakeassn.com/fish.html

The Picnic starts at 12:00 Noon on the back lawn at the Silver Pines. The cost is $8 per person for: (1) the choice of a Hotdog or Hamburger; (2) a cold drink; and (3) ice cream. There will be activities  for the children afterwards. Please RSVP by July 3, 2013 and let us know your preference for a Hamburger or Hotdog. You can RSVP by phone 705-684-9241 or by completing the electronic form on our website http://www.sparrowlakeassn.com/fish.html  

We hope to see you all at the SLA Fishing Derby and Picnic.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Bob Corbett

President

Sparrow Lake Association

president@sparrowlakeassociation.com

cottageinmuskoka.ca gives to Muskoka charity

Catharine presented a cheque for $800.00 that she is donating to the Interval House in Bracebridge. In addition to this local Muskoka support, Catharine has donated another $800.00 to the Royal LePage National Shelter Foundation.

The Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group (MWAG) operates two 24-hour crisis shelters for abused women and their children – Muskoka Interval House, in Bracebridge and Chrysalis in Huntsville, which also offers supportive transitional housing units for vulnerable women.  Muskoka Interval House and Chrysalis are 24-hour women’s crisis shelters, serving Muskoka.

Catharine Inniss, Joy McCormack & Bentley
Catharine Inniss, Joy McCormack, Executive Director, Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group & Bentley

Catharine has chosen to to support this important charity every year: “I appreciate the opportunity to give to such a worthy cause, right in our community. Bentley appreciates the opportunity to enjoy some sunshine in Muskoka. After jumping for joy, he jumped on Joy”.

What do you really want to know? Muskoka Watershed Council wants to hear from you.

In cottage real estate we get asked a lot of questions: Is it weedy?; Eeeew! What’s that stuff?; Why don’t we see crayfish anymore?; My boathouse dock’s underwater – what’s with the water levels this year?; Is my water safe for swimming?; etc. It’s really a lot of fun to answer most of the time!
But here’s a chance to have some of what you want to know, perhaps monitored over time and have it reported on every 4 years!

As many readers of this weblog know, the Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC) is a volunteer based non-profit organization with the mandate to champion watershed health in Muskoka; I am one of those volunteers.

MWC produces a Report Card every four years. The Report Card is a science-based evaluation of the health of the water, land, and wetlands in Muskoka and the municipalities that share Muskoka’s watersheds. Three Watershed Report Cards have been released to date (2004, 2007 & 2010)  We are also assisting the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve with the development of a State of the Bay Report for Georgian Bay, which will be released this year.

For the next Watershed Report Card due to be released in 2014, we want to hear from you, what you want to know about the health of our watersheds.
Click on the page below to ask your questions or find out more.

2014_RC_Request