Over 3,000 feet of natural shoreline will be protected forever in one of Lake Rosseau’s busy bays, thanks to the generosity of the Lang and Mersky families. Muskoka Conservancy hosted a small champagne toast on Sunday to celebrate the recently donated Highlands Island Nature Reserve, located near Minett.
“Highlands Island Nature Reserve is about 25 acres with over 3,000 feet of waterfront,” says Scott Young of Muskoka Conservancy. “What makes Don and Karen Lang and Seth and Theresa Mersky extremely special is that their lots were zoned for development. They purposely chose to protect nature over the millions of dollars they could have gained by selling the land on the open market.”
Muskoka Conservancy now owns the property and is in the process of rezoning it environmentally protected. While the Conservancy protects 49 conservation properties in all corners of Muskoka, this is its first property on Lake Rosseau. “Hopefully just the beginning,” says Young. “This is an example for other landowners that you do have a choice.”
Highlands Island had once been the subject of a development proposal featuring 14 to 20 cottage lots ringing its shores. To prevent this, Lang and Mersky purchased the island and divided it into 6 lots, donating the two largest to the nature conservancy. Four cottage lots are located along the southwest shore in areas previously developed by cottagers.
Conserving natural shoreline protects against erosion, benefitting water quality and the overall health of Muskoka’s lakes. It provides habitat for fish and other wildlife, and is cherished by neighbouring cottagers who enjoy natural views and reduced boat traffic.
“Our members greatly appreciate what Don and Seth have done here,” said Nick Nicalao, president of the Royal Muskoka Island Association.
Joining in the celebration were Don and Karen Lang with son Trevor and partner Nadreyh; Seth and Theresa Mersky with son Zane and wife Katherine; Muskoka Lakes Councillor Barb Bridgeman, Nick and Sue Nicolaou and Bob Peacock from the Royal Muskoka Island Association; and from Muskoka Conservancy, Director Peter Love, Executive Director Scott Young, long‐time volunteer Allyn Abbott, and local supporter Julie Vaughan Sharpe.
Muskoka Conservancy permanently protects 3,200 acres of beautiful land, 60,000 feet of natural shoreline, and 600 acres of wetlands in Muskoka. If you would like to learn more about how you can make a difference, please visit www.muskokaconservancy.org.