A tribute to our volunteers

A tribute to our volunteers!

By Marilyn Vogel, Communications Manager

Established in 1894, the Muskoka Lakes Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the responsible use, enjoyment and conservation of the unique Muskoka environment. For the past 121 years we have concentrated our efforts on the protection and preservation of our waterways and the promotion of responsible land use and development. We have lobbied for responsible government practices and fair taxation. Furthermore, we have participated in government decision making processes and have successfully influenced precedent setting initiatives.

 None of this could be achieved without the passion, dedication and commitment of hundreds of volunteers.

 A volunteer is someone who gives time, effort and talent to meet a need, or further a mission or cause, without profiting monetarily. There are many reasons why an individual chooses to become a volunteer. At the MLA, volunteers may be inspired to protect the Muskoka environment, or have a desire to contribute to a fun, safe and memorable Muskoka experience. For our younger volunteers, perhaps they see an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding.

This year over 100 volunteers collected water samples on four separate occasions, from 184 sites in Muskoka. Analysis of these samples for clarity, phosphorous and bacteria levels will help both the MLA and the district identify and take steps to resolve issues that could potentially harm our lakes and rivers. And native plants sold by volunteers on Seedling Day allow our members to naturalize their properties and shorelines.

Continuing a tradition established 121 years ago, volunteers have made the MLA aquatic regatta the longest continuously running regatta in Canada. Volunteers have also contributed to the resurgence of the sailing regatta. And the biennial Antique Boat Show, much anticipated by members and the public alike, showcases a major part of Muskoka’s heritage thanks to our many volunteers.

Last weekend, the MLA board, joined by its members, celebrated the volunteers who supported our many initiatives this summer. Over 85 people enjoyed light snacks and beverages on a scenic cruise from Port Carling to Gravenhurst aboard the Wenonah II steamship. “We wanted a way to show our volunteers how much their efforts are appreciated. It seemed fitting to enjoy a uniquely Muskokan experience, a cruise aboard a Muskoka steamship,” said Michael Hart, president.

The MLA thanks all of our dedicated volunteers.