Rosa-Maria Koetitz has donated 428 acres of land north of Lake Rosseau to the Muskoka Conservancy.
More specifically, conservancy officials say it’s near the Cardwell Township Old Growth Conservation Reserve and includes part of the Shadow River and large wetland areas that feed the Rosseau River.
The donated land will be named The Bear Cave-Koetitz Nature Reserve.
“This is our largest single nature reserve by area,” says Scott Young, Executive Director of the Muskoka Conservancy. “It includes two water sources into Lake Rosseau which makes the area significant to protecting the water quality of this iconic Muskoka lake.”
Officials say the reserve is unique because the watersheds of the Rosseau River and Shadow River come less than a kilometre from each other as they go through north Muskoka. The two rivers flow into Mutchinbacker Bay and Rosseau Bay, respectively.
They explain that natural wetlands are a “critical habitat” for 20 percent of the species at risk in Ontario, some of whom live on the newly donated land. Officials say wetlands are important for the filtration of water and slow the flow of water over land. By protecting wetlands, they continue, the overall water quality can be improved, there will be fewer incidents of Blue-Green Algae blooms, and helps reduce flows to prevent flooding.
“This is a big deal and it never would have happened without conservancy volunteers,” says Bob Weekes, President of the Muskoka Conservancy.
The conservancy now protects 3,750 acres of land, 60,000 feet of natural shoreline, and 675 acres of wetlands in Muskoka.