75 Years in the Kawarthas
When I was seven years old, my friend Russell Beare, took me to his camp on Kasshabog Lake. That was 68 years ago! He was building his cottage and needed a handy boy to help him. After supper, we went out fishing in his homemade rowboat. Our family was invited later to spend a few days there when the cottage was built. The only motorboat I saw my first summer there belonged to the game warden. Eventually, Russ built himself a larger boat and put a five-horse power outboard on it. I, however, liked to go out in the old rowboat by myself when a little older to fish. I even hooked into a big musky that straightened out the hook on my June bug spinner and jumped off. I was glad to see him go! Over the past 75 years I have spent considerable time in four of the neighbouring Kawartha Lakes and seen huge changes. Our modern industrial society is very hard on the lakes. Hardened shorelines and cultured lawns, kept beautiful by the use of chemicals, generate runoff during rains causing lake pollution, weed and algae growth. Then there is the invasion of geese who love lawns. The other big change over the years is the new boats. We now have "powerful wake boats" that play havoc with shorelines, docked boats and docks. Lake safety is an issue and the OPP has regular lake visits to try and keep things safe. Often, our local municipal councils do not support our lakes either. Most rely heavily on shoreline residential lake taxes to keep taxes down for inland residents. Most are poor at planning for the lakes and enforcing their own bylaws. I have worked with all the councils in the region as well as the County to try and put better bylaws in place that are needed to protect lake health. Since the late 1980's some cottagers have formed groups to help our lakes recover their health. Septic surveys, water quality monitoring, shoreline restoration projects and educational seminars are all done by volunteers and are helping. We realize that it is our lake groups that must collaborate and cooperate to restore the health of the lakes. The consequences of not doing this are obvious as we all want our futures on the lakes to be good for everyone.
by Ralph Ingleton
Note from our Environment Director: As you are aware the LKRA is actively involved in raising awareness of the environmental importance of healthy shorelines and overall lake health. Over the years, we have been involved in Trent University’s water testing program and this summer we have organized a unique fanwort research program with a Trent University graduate student. If you have a special environmental project you'd like to get behind and help organize. let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org