Canada Geese

A point was brought up at last years meeting regarding the seemingly growing population of Canadian Geese that have started to appear on the lake and river area.  The HLSMR environmental team has been in touch with parks and conservation areas in Ontario along with Environment Canada on steps we can take to minimize an exploding population on our lake and river.  Environment Canada has provided a Handbook entitled Canada and Cackling Geese: Management and Population Control in Southern Canada.  It is available at a link below for review and we have highlighted a few key areas below as a summary as they relate to deterrents and controls.

Seasonal Deterrents to prevent the population growth in a particular area

  • Reduce attractiveness of feeding habitats
  • Prevent nesting
  • Prevent Hatching
  • Scare Pre-moulting geese away
  • Erect barriers
  • Lure Geese Elsewhere

Goose Control Prescriptions - Non Lethal

  • Ensure No One is feeding the geese
  • Erect Landscape Barriers on property
  • Modify Grass to grasses not liked by geese
  • Scaring Techniques - (some that require permit and some that do not)
  • Removal

Goose Control Prescriptions - Lethal

  • Hunting
  • Egg Sterilization or Destruction
  • Lethal Removal of Geese

There are a number of techniques mentioned throughout the document, and you can find the details about each section at the link provided.  The challenge on the lake environment is that Geese will tend to nest where there are no people, which is precisely why many of us have places on the same waterway.  If you do find geese nesting on or near your property  there are a number of techniques that can be used to relocate them to a different area, hopefully another lake, that are safe and easy to apply by most.  Some of the prescriptions above do require outside assistance such as Environment Canada or Minisitry of Natural Resources.

Canada and Cackling Geese: Management and Population Control in Southern Canada


Henvey Inlet Wind Centre

As many people have already noticed, there is now some empty space near the end of the marina road where forest used to stand.  Although we have been expecting this for some time with the expansion of Highway 400 to Sudbury, this right of way has been cleared to support the transmission of power from the Henvey Inlet Wind Centre (HIWC).  The HIWC is a 300 MW wind farm located entriely on reservation land near Henvey Inlet (just south of French River).  The project will entail 87 wind turbines with transmission lines that will connect to the main grid near Oastler Lake by Parry Sound.  Some links of interest to the HLSMR area are located below:

Henvey Inlet Project Site

Henvey Inlet Related Documents

Natural Heritage Assessment: Records Review

Transmission Line and Corridor Environmental Review

Final Environmental Assessment

Wildlife Etiquette

The Canadian wilderness might seem like it’s full of menacing creatures. However, equipped with the right tools and knowledge, you have nothing to fear.

Here’s what to do if you run into a predator (or just a really big animal) during a hike, camping trip, or visit to your cottage.


Coyotes are one of Canada’s few predatory species that frequents both the countryside and urban areas. While they have been known to attack people, you have little cause for concern unless you happen to be a cartoon roadrunner. If you see one scoping out you, your dog or your property, chances are that they’re just curious, or looking for food, water or shelter.

That doesn’t mean running into one is any less jarring. If you see a coyote, Coyote Watch Canada advises that you don’t run. Instead, stand your ground and use “hazing” techniques to scare them off, such as yelling (not screaming), waving your arms or throwing objects towards—but not at—the coyote.


What exactly do you do if a bear attacks? Answering this question is a hot topic of debate at campfires, partially because it can be a bit confusing. Parks Canada says your best strategy is avoiding them altogether, but that may not always be possible. Noise is your friend, however if your bells haven’t kept the bears at bay, here’s what to do.

First, stay calm and start talking, which indicates to the bear that you are human—not their next meal. Don’t run away, which can trigger an attack. Then, read the bear’s body language. If it’s being defensive (protecting its young, feeding, or just surprised at the encounter), try to appear non-threatening. Move slowly away and talk calmly. If it approaches, stand your ground and use your bear spray. If you don’t have bear spray on hand, fall on the ground and play dead. If it’s non-defensive (typically characterized by looking at you with its head and ears up), talk in a firm voice, shout and try to intimidate the bear. Very few bear attacks are predatory, but if it does continue to approach, use your bear spray and fight back, if necessary.


Like many of Canada’s predatory species, wolves generally avoid humans, making both an encounter and an attack highly unlikely. If you do cross paths, stand your ground—make yourself look larger by raising your arms and maintaining eye contact. Don’t run away or turn your back. Raised hackles can indicate aggressive, which is when it’s time to start yelling or throwing things. Most importantly, keep any pet dogs at your side. Positioning yourself between your dog and a wolf will typically end the encounter.


There’s nothing more terrifying than the prospect of being silently stalked by a mountain lion. But it’s an unwarranted fear—cougar attacks are incredibly rare. In the unlikely event that you see a cougar, you’ll want to make yourself appear as a threat rather than as prey. Pick up and carry any young children. Don’t run away or turn your back. Instead, slowly back away, make yourself appear larger, speak in a loud voice and if necessary, throw objects such as rocks.


When it comes to the big and bad of the Canadian woods, tourists and city slickers often fixate on bears. However, it’s the innocent-looking moose that have known to become aggressive, particularly during rutting season or when they have young calves. That’s why if you come across a moose in your travels, you’ll want to give it a wide berth—now is not the time for a selfie. Moose that are about to attack may give a “bluff” charge as a warning sign. Its ears will be laid back and the long hairs on its back will be raised. If this happens, back away and look for something—whether it’s a car, tree, or other obstruction—to put between you and the moose.

Take From Cottage Life:


Tiny Tick Carries a Big Stick

Recent reports have shown an increase in the number of human cases of Lyme disease in Ontario according to Dr. Curtis Russell of Public Health Ontario[1]. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi and is passed on to humans through the bite and gastric secretions of the black legged (also known as deer) tick. It may also be transmitted by some other varieties of tick. Ticks are found in grasslands and woodlands and hitch a ride when an animal passes through. These ticks are tiny -as small as a sesame seed – varying between 1mm to 5mm (or up to 20mm when engorged). When people are infected they often have flu type symptoms – headache, fever, achy, muscles, & joints, red sensitive eyes and nausea; also a local rash in the shape of a circle. If you ever have a rash like this go to the Doctor right away as it is diagnostic for Lyme disease and early treatment is crucial. If you find a tick, carefully remove it including the head with tweezers and take it to the Dr’s office to be sent for analysis.  If you haven’t found a tick or a rash but have persistent symptoms including “brain fog” and extreme fatigue get examined right away. It is curable if caught early. Otherwise it may cause life altering troubles.[2] For more information please check out this link: (Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation).

Rena Edwards


[1]  Cottage Life Dockside, May 4, 2017



[2] Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

HLSMR 2016 Photo Contest

2016 HLSMR Photo Contest Winning Photo by Jessica Smith  'Sunrise at the Government Dock'

2016 HLSMR Photo Contest Winning Photo by Jessica Smith
'Sunrise at the Government Dock'

Congratulations to Jessica Smith for being the winner of the first annual HLSMR Photo Contest! Jessica received a $50 ITunes gift card as this years winner that was donated to the Cottagers' Association.

The HLSMR photo contest ran through the month of August in which we asked anyone interested to submit photos that represent landscapes or waterscapes.  We received 91 photos in total and consider this event a significant success in terms of entrants and engagement.  

Because we had so many outstanding pictures submitted, we ended up ranking our top 12 favorite pictures and will be reaching out to many more of you to see if you will be interested in allowing the Cottagers' Association to use your, fully credited, picture in a 2017 Calendar which could be sold throughout the 2017 season with all proceeds going to your Cottagers' Association. 

Thank you for your participation!

Fire Season

Fire #1 HLSMR Region 2016

As we approach mid summer, we head deeper into the Ontario fire season.  The first fire occurred July 25, 2016 near little lake by the side of the rail road tracks.  MNR was onsite quickly and the fire was extinguished without any major damage.  The cause of the fire was classified as Human (which would include railroad sparks etc) and was under 1/4 of an acre.

Just a reminder to always be careful with fire in the forest, it can get out of control quickly. 

Thank you to Scott for the pictures.



Special Deals for Cottagers' Association Members

For any active Association Members who are interested, we have a two special deals available:

The first is a steel garbage container available from Home Hardware that is bear proof! If you have been looking for a way to keep your garbage 'locked up' and away from animals, this may be an option for you.  We have a coupon to save $100 dollars on this item until July 23rd, 2016 

Also - If you like Cottage Life Magazine, online or in paper form we have a special discount on new subscriptions available!  

Contact us at if you would like further information!

HLSMR Roads & Cottagers' Association Meeting + BBQ!

2016  Annual Meetings

Sunday July 31, 2016

Roads Board: 10 AM

Cottagers Association: 10:45 AM

Pulled Pork BBQ: 12 Noon!

(At Harris Lake Marina)


Once again your Roads Board & Cottagers' Association are gathering on the August long weekend for our Annual General Meeting.  This is a great time for everyone on the lake to get together and discuss topics that are important to us as a community.  The roads board does an incredible job of managing our road and our relationship with the MTO, while the Cottagers' Associations and its members represent and provide services in accordance to the mandates laid out by the organization for the lake and river seasonal and full time residents.

Participation in these meetings is very beneficial to everyone in our community i hope that everyone takes a hour out of their day to participate this year. This year, as an added incentive, the Cottagers's Association is hosting a pulled pork BBQ immediately following the meetings.  The pork will be slow cooked overnight before the meeting and will be perfectly tender for everyone's enjoyment.  The food is being sponsored by your Board members and all proceeds from the BBQ will go directly to the Cottagers' Association.  This is an excellent way to enjoy some great food with our community members, so please come out and support your community.  There will be hot dogs and drinks available for the kids, so feel free to bring the entire family.  Food will be first come, first serve.  (as much as we would like for everyone to attend the meeting, it is not required for the BBQ).

This year before the Cottagers's Association meeting, we will be publishing an Agenda as there are a number of items we would like to discuss and bring to members attention which will require some votes.  As always, the more people who vote, the more representative the Association is of its members.  

As many of you have seen in the newsletter, numbers are down so far this year.  We tend to grow when there are concerns and shrink when it is business as usual on the lake.  We are putting together an action plan to show why it is important for us to work towards consistent membership levels and will discuss at the meeting.  

So what do we do as an association?  This is what many people ask us as we are small and it can be hard to see the influence we have on our community.  Well, it is the role of the Association, its members, and our community to think about the eventualities that tend to go overlooked when they have not occurred in some time.

If someone you love has some type of cardiac event while on the lake, over 40 miles from the nearest hospital, and that does not include boat ride, it is nice to know as a community we have two AED's available, one one the lake, and one on the river.  Something that is easy to ignore, until the very moment it is your mom, dad, husband, wife, child in trouble.  This happens much more than you think,  and the very environment that we love so much, can become a real problem in an emergency.  If potentially saving someones life alone isn't enough, please read on. 

One of the earliest mandates we have had as an association is to protect our environment in all ways possible.  Since we are remote, and there are no fire departments that service the lake or could serve the lake, we have maintained first response fire equipment to be used by all willing and able cottagers to assist with fighting a fire.  In my 39 years i have direct recollection of 5 significant fires on our lake. All of which were maintained with minimal damage because of the fire equipment we maintain.  We started with one small pump, currently located on the river, with a second pump,  fire hut, and fire boat added to the marina.  This was all brought to you by the hard work of volunteers and  the Cottagers' Association members.   Not enough, keep reading.

If you have read this far, you are reading this on website. It was created and is maintained for members of our community to provide information to anyone interested.  The content does not have to just come from the board members, it is available to anyone who is interested.  We keep all of our information centralized here, and can tie into other social media outlets as required.  For anyone on our mail list (email or otherwise) you have likely received a copy of our newsletter. It takes time to write, it takes time to gather articles, and it is another means to communicate with our community.  Again, articles can come from anyone who cares about our community.  

In terms of continued environmental considerations, we are proud to be organizing our largest septic pump out run ever!  Currently we are organizing the pump out of 15 septic's in July and consider this a huge win for our environment.  A well maintained septic is critical to ensuring our environment, particularly our water,  is in great shape for generations to come.  We hope to make this a regular occurrence on our lake.  

Speaking of water, did you know we are part of the lake partner program?  We send samples of our water to the lake partners program every year for analysis of clarity and phosphorous. These two factors are considered critical monitoring of water for basic health and we have been contributing since the 90's.  Results are currently posted on the website under environment. With that being said, a number of years ago, there was a vote to do more detailed water analysis.  We have been looking to do this every year since, unfortunately, we do not even have a high enough membership to afford many of these types of tests, even if we only do them every couple years, we still cannot. 

How about emergencies?  Sure we have AED's to save lives, and fire equipment to save our residences and forest, but how do we know where these things are occurring?  It so happens that the Cottagers's association also produces and maintains a map for the lake so we can locate cottagers and events in our area.  These maps have been created for many years and have recently been updated for 2016.  We will be selling these for $25 each and all proceeds go to the Cottagers' Association.

So when someone asks what we do,  I ask, what do you do as part of your community? What could we be doing if every one of the 197 structures on the lake and river were part of the Association?  The answer is, a lot. 

Please give it some thought, for less than what the vast majority of people spend on a tank of gas driving to the lake on one weekend you could be contributing to saving lives and protecting our amazing wilderness.  I assure you, your family and your memories of the lake are more than worth the money and very worthy of your time.








Boating Safety!

As many people have already noticed this year, there has been an increased presence of police on the lake.  This is not a means for concern, but it is a good reminder that if you have not done so to make sure you and your family have valid boating licenses and all the required safety equipment for your type of boat.  This includes canoes, kayaks, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards, along with engine powered boats.  Check the link below to review the boater exam, which can be taken online, and review the safety equipment for your boat in the Safe Boating Guide from  the Transport Canada website.  We all benefit when we are safe on the water! 

We have been located! Updated Lake & River Maps + New Numbering System

After a few years of effort HLSMR is pleased to let our members know have nearly finalized updated lake and river maps for our area.  The last update we have for our lake and river map was in 2009, so we are pleased to have brought our mapping efforts into the digital age for 2016.  HLSMR will be producing a lake and river map with the traditional topographic backgrounds many of us are familiar with,  along with a relatively accurate location of most structures on the lake and river system.  We have been asked for these updates for some time now, as i know the current maps are becoming more and more difficult to track down.  

As part of the new map series, we have also come up with a new numbering system that will give each unique structure on the lake a unique number that is sequential, starting at 0 near the marina and accruing  as you move to the north east up the lake and east down the south magnetawan.  The new numbering system which will be used for 'lake' and/or 'river' information  (this does not replace Plan or Lot numbers) to assist in emergency situations and general navigability of our waterway.  The concept was introduced a couple summers ago at our annual general meeting so that we can work with members to have signs created that could go on a visible part of your property (such as a dock) to assist with being found in case of emergency. We first had to come up with a reference (a map) that would allow us to move to the next phase of getting signs reviewed and acquired.  We are well on our way!

Maps will be available this summer at the marina and we will pass on details as we finalize them.        

Septic Maintenance

In keeping with the environmental mandate of the Cottager's association we will once again be working with local contractors to assist cottagers in getting their septic systems pumped out this summer.  There is a form you can fill in online to let us know that you are interested, and once we hit a critical mass, usually around 7 septics, we move forward with a route plan and a specified date to get them all done in a single visit.  

A well kept septic system is critical to protecting our environment and to keep your plumbing running freely through the summer season.  One of the misconceptions is that you only need to pump septic tanks once they are 'full'.  This is true, as the lack of space will cause a backup, but understanding that a septic is comprised of  a leaching bed, in addition to the tank, that allows the liquid from the tank to seep into the proper soil type is critical to the internal organs of your system. If a tank is overfilled (with solids) the baffles that allow the liquid to leach into the surrounding soil will become clogged and the expense of having your septic pumped will seem very minor in comparison to replacing the entire system.  All new septics installed going forward do require a special baffle that helps prevent this from happening, but most systems on our lake and river pre-date this.  They can be installed after your system has been in use, but it does require this work to be completed immediately after having the septic emptied (for obvious reasons).  If you would like more information please contact the information officer and he can put you in contact with local contractors who can assist with this work.  

It is generally recommended that you have your tank inspected and pumped around the 5 year mark to keep it running smoothly.  The objective is to discover a potential problem before it escalates.

In light of this post, here is a link to the FOCA article on good septic maintenance. 




Climate Change and Cottage Country

Over the last several years there has been a lot of attention directed towards climate change and how it will effect the climate of the planet as a whole.  The Muskoka Watershed Council developed a comprehensive report on how climate change is expected to effect the Muskoka region of Ontario.  This report can easily be applied to changes that HLSMR and its members could expect over time as we adjust to a more varied climate.  Our use of the lake and river system and managing water levels will become more and more important over time to preserve our slice of paradise in the woods.  

You can read the full report here:

Bell Communications Tower Update

On March 13, 2014 members of the Cottagers' Association Board met with Bell Communications and the Archipelago Planning Board to discuss the siting of the new Bell Communications Tower. The planning board has given their letter of concurrence to Bell with the following stipulations:

  • Bell will install a 100 foot temporary tower at the Marina location for no more than 12 months
  • The permanent tower will be built at the public dock site
  • The tower cannot exceed 70 meters (230 ft)
  • Bell will try to create a tower that will not require lighting
  • The tower cannot be augmented by Bell or any co-locating company without a letter of concurrence from the Archipelago Planning Board.

Once the Archipelago Planning Board receives the final map depicting the new location of the tower, a copy of this letter will be prepared by the Planning Board and will be posted on the HLSMR website.

Highway 69 Lane Expansion

There have been many questions regarding the Hwy 69 Lane Expansion and the affect that it will have on access to the lake. The contractors have set up a full project site with numerous maps and records that are being used for the road and site selection along this stretch of highway. This segment of the expansion is in the early phases, but work is beginning in the area this year. For more information on the project, please visit the contractor's website

The Current Plan