Muskoka Conservancy now protects 428 acres of land north of Lake Rosseau, thanks to a generous donation. The land, near the Cardwell Township Old Growth Conservation Reserve, was donated by Rose-Maria Koetitz and is being named the Bear Cave-Koetitz Nature Reserve. It includes part of the Shadow River and large wetland areas that feed the Rosseau River.
“This is our largest single nature reserve by area,” says Scott Young of Muskoka Conservancy. “It includes two water sources into Lake Rosseau, which makes the area significant to protecting the water quality on this iconic Muskoka lake.”
The Bear Cave-Koetitz Nature Reserve is in a unique location where watersheds of the Rosseau River and the Shadow River come within less than a kilometer of each other on their divergent meandering way through north Muskoka. The two rivers flow into Lake Rosseau about five kilometers apart. The Shadow flows into Rosseau Bay and the Rosseau into Mutchinbacker Bay.
“I’m glad Rose-Maria could do this for the animals and the environment,” says her close friend Janis Gibbs.
Natural wetlands are critical habitat to 20 per cent of Ontario’s species at risk, some of which find their homes on Bear Cave-Koetitz Nature Reserve. In addition, wetlands are important to the filtration of water and slow the flow of water over land.
By protecting wetlands, conservation efforts improve overall water quality, reducing incidents of Blue-Green Algae blooms which have occurred in Lake Rosseau. Reduced flow helps prevent flooding, which has also been an issue on all Muskoka’s big lakes.
“We are very thankful for this generous donation made by Rose-Maria Koetitz,” said Bob Weekes, president of the Muskoka Conservancy. “This is a big deal and it never would have happened without Conservancy volunteers. I’d like to offer a special thanks to Janis Gibbs for facilitating the donation.”
Muskoka Conservancy is the nature conservancy of Muskoka. Its mission is to protect nature. Bear Cave-Koetitz is Muskoka Conservancy’s 49th protected property. The Conservancy protects 3,750 acres of land, 60,000 feet of natural shoreline and 675 acres of wetlands.