It’s considered by many to be the best season of the year: cottage season!! While it’s not uncommon in our part of the world to have, visit or rent a cottage, I would like to share a different cottage experience that I believe most do not get to experience these days. The pristine lake my cottage resides on is small and modest, hidden in the forest, completely “off-the-grid”. It has been my family’s luck to have this untainted wilderness all to ourselves, with the exception of two other cottages: one hidden around a corner of the lake, and one a ways up a near-by hill with no view of the water. That being said, the lake is very silent and peaceful. Even when all cottages are occupied at the same time, the lake remains relatively undisturbed. Here we get to experience scenes of wildlife in their natural habitat, as they were meant to be: the blue heron that stands statuesque on the water’s edge, fish flipping out of the water, the beavers slapping their tails against the mud as they build their dams and huts, the continuous call of the loon that we regularly call back to, the giant mud turtle who quietly watches us as we sit on the dock, the sleek black water beetles that chase after one another in ribbons across the water and the bullfrog’s croak at night … to name a few.
It is unfortunate though, that today very few people get to experience this kind of uninterrupted natural interactions with nature and wildlife. Most often cottages belong to a greater community of cottages where people and therefore destruction of natural habitats for the development of human structures, various types of pollution, noise, and motor boats, are in abundance. The infiltration and overtaking of land has, no doubt, had a direct impact on the loon and other wildlife populations. Loons are becoming more scarce, in part, due to the constant loss of habitat, pollution and noise from motor boats, clear cutting, housing developments etc. Some of these factors have contributed to either rendering species incapable of successfully nesting/reproducing, kills or frightens away wildlife that call these lakes and rivers home. For more information about some of the things impacting loons, please visit Parks Canada, Case Study #4
So I consider myself fortunate and very lucky to have and share these interactions with nature. Unlike most other cottage locations the wildlife on my lake is still thriving in its natural habitat because there hasn’t been enough human presence, pollution or development to disrupt the natural cycle of life in the area. But I fear for a time when this changes! I believe we should all start re-evaluating what is truly important in life – do we really need things like motor boats, more grassy yards instead of forests, or allowing the release of harmful chemicals into the water?
We and future generations need to be better educated about how we affect the lives of living organisms around us through the choices we make ~ we must starting thinking, planning and developing our futures strategically, thinking long term, what/who is impacted and how can we minimize the our negative impact and destruction of natural resources and wildlife habitats.
I encourage everyone to start thinking and working together, as we must find a way to actively preserve and protect the land that belongs to various indigenous species, in order to ensure that they continue to thrive like they historically have and as they were meant to.
For further information please contact your local CPAWS chapter to see how you too can support and help to ensure the preservation and continuity of various species and natural habitats, that humans have thus far so significantly impacted!
Or should you wish to have your voice and opinion heard regarding the need to preserve and protect more land and the wildlife who call it home, do not hesitate to contact your local MP, the National Capital Commission, the Minister of Parks Canada, the Minister of Environment Canada and/or the Minister of Natural Resources Canada.