Summer 2020 – President’s Message

Donna McLean

SUMMER TIME & THE LIVING IS EASY

Hello Summer—it’s nice to see you back again … Time to stain the deck, make rhubarb crisp and fill the planters. The birdfeeders are out and the new bug spray is open. We are ready.

But what are we ready for? The guest calendar is empty. We have no plans. The boats are in the water but will we be casually dropping in on our friends at any point? One of our faves is have a few folks over for an Aperol on the dock around 5 pm. Not happening anytime soon. Lined up for the bottles return yesterday at the Beer Store. That’s ok — we weren’t in any hurry. It’s Muskoka—the place we come to, NOT to hurry anymore. What’s a few lineups cost? A little dock time perhaps? No worries. And know this — the Town Merchants are OPEN for business and waiting for cottagers to shop! Just bring your mask and practice healthy COVID-19 shopping! For even as Gravenhurst moves up in Opening Stages we still want to keep flattening the curve!  

And here is the good news — for over 50 years I have come here to swim, sit on the dock with coffee, marvel at the hummingbirds at the feeder, venture out in the kayak,  watch the forest fill in,  smile as the dragonflies land on my arm,  cheer as the beaver makes it across the bay safely once more and admire the wing span of the herons and hawks. So none of that has changed.  I come for respite, for community, for the warmth of the sun, for starlit smoky campfires listening to Freddie Mercury, for barbecues and candlelit dinners. I come for peace. And these are the moments that the virus won’t diminish.

The magic of Muskoka continues … SEE YOU ON THE DOCK IN PASSING!  Donna

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Are you a good lake steward?

Perhaps with less gathering time planned, this is a prime opportunity to take stock of our stewardship. Are we really doing all we can to preserve our Muskoka Experience?

Here is a checklist to review. How do you rate as a steward of our precious earth and lakes?

Realize that nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrient pollution) come from person-made sources like:

  • Fertilizer runoff…. DON’T use chemical fertilizers
  • Sewage runoff from septic tanks…. GET them checked and pumped regularly
  • Grass clippings…. DON’T let them rot in a pile
  • Animal waste… PICK UP animal scat, including pets and geese
  • Fossil fuels… ENSURE proper engine maintenance and PURCHASE 4-stroke rather than 2-stroke engines — it all helps!
  • Soap and detergent wastes….USE phosphate-free and environmentally friendly/biodegradable products — AND NOT near the lake!
  • Contaminants — SEE proper disposal guidelines on the District of Muskoka website (contaminants put down storm drains can enter waterways)

Realize that through responsible property design and maintenance, we can reduce runoff:

  • MAINTAIN or re-establish  a shoreline buffer, using plants native to our area. Riparian (shore vegetation) buffers reduce the runoff of sediments and pollution.
  • MINIMIZE foot traffic near your shoreline.  It reduces soil oxygen and encourages water runoff.
  • KEEP natural areas as large as possible.  Avoid fragmentation.  Encourage wildlife corridors.
  • MAINTAIN natural forest floor coverings including brush and logs (& encourage wildlife).
  • USE Rain Barrels to collect water for gardens and reduce runoff.
  • HAVE Rain Gardens to collect roof runoff and grow plants while directing water to the soil.
  • CHOOSE permeable materials like mulch or chips or gravel to allow water infiltration.
  • USE vegetated shallow swales to slow runoff and filter it.  Berms re-direct it for infiltration.
  • During construction, MINIMIZE exposed soil and use straw bales or silt fencing to filter runoff
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COVID-19: Let’s Do Our Part!

We sincerely hope that you and your families are healthy and remain safe during these challenging times.

With COVID-19 still on the increase in Ontario, there have been numerous municipalities across Ontario initiating Declarations of Emergency including neighbouring cottage regions like the Municipality of Trent Lakes & Peterborough County. 

Due to the stress already felt in the north country, mayors are publicly pleading with seasonal residents NOT to come north. With the already maxed out medical services and limited offerings for groceries etc., these municipalities are NOT equipped to handle the inflow of seasonal residents. But if you still choose to do so, IT IS IMPERATIVE that you practice self-isolation, especially for those of you who have recently entered Canada via travel (returning snowbirds, business, vacation, etc.). 

It is the law, if you have just returned to Canada, YOU MUST self-isolate for 14 days. This means, cross the border and go into self-isolation. No visits, no shopping, no errands. Enlist others to drop off what you need, if necessary.

Statistics are bearing out that community spread accounts for more than 50% of the increased infections. Iceland has reported that 50% of their carriers do not show any symptoms. This is what makes this virus so scary and potentially deadly.

Support from our region includes:

We all want to get back to normal and head north as soon as possible … Let’s continue to be good Muskokans – STAY HOME! If you do head north, take your supplies and stay in. Practise physical distancing and employ other measures of safety as outlined in the guidelines set out by the Federal, Provincial, and local municipalities.

We all have a role in reducing the spread of COVID-19! Let’s DO OUR PART! Please stay safe, take good care and hope to see you on the dock soon! 

Gull & Silver Lakes Residents Association

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