What do you value most about Muskoka? This is a difficult question that usually has very different answers. But I'm pretty sure that most answers include Muskoka’s waters, in some shape or form. What would happen if suddenly that part of the Muskoka experience wasn't available any more, for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren?
I think we all want the Muskoka we know and love to be around for our descendants. We want them to be able to enjoy that first chilly dip of spring. We want them to enjoy the timeless sports we all did as children: swimming, diving, canoeing and sailing. Maybe it's the tranquil call of the loon in the middle of the lake that we want them to enjoy, and the freedom of just doing nothing. What would you give to ensure that future generations enjoy the same privileges we do today?
That's where you can help. The Muskoka Lakes Association has been protecting and preserving Muskoka for future generations for over 120 years. However, more than 60% of local cottagers still aren’t members. They don't know about the MLA, our history, or what we do now for Muskoka.
Our members know about the important role the MLA plays in promoting the responsible use, enjoyment and conservation of the unique Muskoka environment. However, in order to be an advocate for long-term Muskoka interests, we need to ensure that everyone on the Muskoka Lakes understands what the MLA does, so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to join us.
In a nutshell, here are some of the things we do. mostly behind the scenes, to make sure your great-grandchildren will enjoy Muskoka as much as you do.
- Our Water Quality testing program is one of Canada’s best examples of citizen science, MLA Water Quality volunteers collect water samples from nearly 190 sites throughout Muskoka’s lakes and rivers. Where concerns are identified, we undertake remedial efforts and propose solutions to make Muskoka's pristine waters even cleaner. No single issue is more important than water quality to your enjoyment of Muskoka, to maintain your property values, and to preserve Muskoka for future generations.
- Muskoka is changing, and not every development proposal makes sense. The MLA’s Political and Land Use Committee monitors and speaks out on important waterfront issues throughout Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and the townships of Muskoka Lakes and Seguin. We keep an eye on Muskoka for you, and we advocate on your behalf. We also distribute a monthly email report to our members on what is happening in Muskoka at the municipal and district levels.
- Our political committee also keeps an eye on municipal finances. We lobby local councils to live within their means and keep tax increases to a responsible minimum.
- Promoting more responsible boating safety is a growing concern “on the waterfront.” The MLA promotes safe boating awareness and education initiatives throughout Muskoka., We are a proud founding sponsor and contributor to the Safe Quiet Lakes initiative. Through our partnership with BOATsmart!, Canada’s leading provider of boating-safety education, the MLA brings innovative, hands-on boater training to Muskoka.
- We run Muskoka’s oldest and biggest aquatic regatta, started in 1894.
- We host youth-geared sailing regattas all summer long.
- We organize a prestigious Antique Boat Show with over 80 boats on display, to celebrate Muskoka culture and craftsmanship for everyone to enjoy.
- We award Muskoka’s premiere scholarship for local high-school graduates.
- We bring partner associations together to resolve common issues.
This summer, for the first time, we're offering complementary, six-month trial memberships. These memberships are good till the end of 2014 and will help you get a flavour for all of the great benefits that come with membership in the MLA.
Once signed up for your trial, we will ensure you receive all the benefits that come with being an MLA member, including:
- The ShoreLines newsletter;
- NewsBites, our monthly email update;
- The MLA Advantage Card, with discounts and privileges at more than 120 Muskoka retailers;
- Access to MLA events, including our summertime seminar series, regattas and the Antique Boat Show;
- And much more!
When it comes to the cumulative impact of the MLA’s 24 directors and 170 dedicated volunteers, our past president, Brian McElwain, said it best: `If the MLA ceased its operation and efforts today, I do not know who or what association or which local government department would take over and assign more than 190 people to do what the MLA is doing and has done for over 120 years for the benefit of Muskokans. Do you?`
General Manager, Muskoka Lakes Association