Lake Joseph North (from the Township line North) consist of 32 miles of mainland shoreline and 17.5 miles of Island shoreline. We estimate that there are 350 developed lots and the potential to more than double this number with still more severances possible and many undeveloped lots to be developed – particularly if our still sparsely developed islands become more fully developed. There is no crown land and no current strategy to preserve some of our beautiful shorelines and islands from full development, other than via donations to the Muskoka Conservancy (“MC”) or granting the MC Conservation Easements.
Starting in 2003, about 20 families contributed funds, along with a land donation from the owners, to buy and donate Island K to the Muskoka Conservancy, preserving 60% of the shoreline as non-development and the remaining 40% subject to very “limited development” permanent Conservation Easements. In 2007 we added 300 ft. of shoreline just across the channel from Island K, so a total of 3,500 ft. of shoreline is preserved under the Island K initiative. While the focus of development concerns is on the shorelines, these donations and Conservation Easements typically protect the interior lands behind the shoreline as well – all of which are important for wildlife habitats and healthy eco-systems.
In 2008 Peter Hertzberg donated a Conservation Easement on his property on the central portion of Yoho Island preserving approximately 2,300 feet of shoreline and 10 acres through the island. In 2009 a group of families on Portage Lake contributed money and bought property from CN Rail consisting of about 1,600 ft. of near shoreline which, along with the Twp shoreline road allowance, preserves this shoreline permanently.
In 2011 Elizabeth Mason donated land and Conservation Easements to the Muskoka Conservancy, on the northeastern facing shorelines of Chief's Island and on the southwest facing shoreline of the island, protecting over one mile of these shorelines and interior lands. While just south of the boundary of Lake Joe North, Chief's Island is the largest island on Lake Joe and very sparsely developed. Those of us that are active boaters will be familiar with the beautiful and barely developed corridor we pass through after passing the Three Sisters on our way towards the mouth of the Joe River or Little Lake Joe. These Chief's Island donations and Conservation Easements consist of most of the southern portion of this corridor and beyond.
Currently we are working with the Muskoka Conservancy and the Family owning Dahwamah Island to create Conservation Easements to preserve a majority of shoreline on this 40 acre island situated a kilometer south of Gordon Bay Marine. To achieve this we are looking to raise significant funding from Lake Joe cottagers which, along with a land donation from the Family, will preserve up to 1.5 kilometers of shoreline and adjacent interior lands.
For more information on the Muskoka Conservancy please go to: muskokaconservancy.org or email Cecil Hayhoe at: firstname.lastname@example.org.