With spring right around the corner, many cottage owners are day dreaming about opening their cottages and spending long lazy days down by the dock or boating with the family on a glorious summer day. What might await you could be something completely different with the water levels of lakes and water systems throughout cottage country dropping the past few years.
This is especially true for many cottage owners in the Parry Sound and Georgian Bay area where they are experiencing astonishingly low water levels. In fact, in some areas the water levels have dropped so much that some boat access only cottage properties built on Southern Georgian Bay in the 1970s and 1980s have become completely land locked, resulting in dropping property values.
The leaders of the communities surrounding Georgian Bay met in early February as a reaction to the rapidly decreasing water levels.
Peter Ketchum the reeve for the Township of Archipelago said:
“This is an emergency…pervasive across the whole Georgian Bay…it’s not as dramatic as a 10 minute or half-hour hurricane admittedly, but what’s left over is pretty dramatic. You’ve got a whole bunch of residences that can’t be used. You’ve got marinas and businesses that can’t be used. Isn’t that a disaster?”
What the area needs to be careful of doing is causing panic and tourists to look elsewhere for a relaxing cottage vacation. And yet, there is a need to not only create awareness for a serious environmental problem but also, to promote action.
If the problem of dropping water levels was limited to one geographic area, it would be less alarming. But as it is, water levels are dropping all over cottage country. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released data collected at the beginning of 2013. What this data reveled was: Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest levels since 1918 – when record keeping began.
Who or what is to blame?
Below normal rain and snowfall combined with higher temperatures are causing water levels to drop. What used to be an issue that affected far areas of the globe are now becoming a reality in Ontario cottage country. Hopefully a solution will emerge. Protecting the natural beauty of our lakes are water systems for future generations should be a priority for everyone.