Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations

FOCA's website is loaded with articles, cottager tips, environmental resources, policies and more!  Here are some items that are of particular interest ...

Safe Boating:  The organizers of this year's annual safe boating awareness campaign want to remind everyone of their five key messages:  wear your lifejacket, boat sober, take a boating course, be prepared and be cold water safe.  Have a look at each of these priorities along with video resources.

Responsible Cottage Rental:  FOCA supports a philosophy of responsible use that encourages cottage owners to:

  • educate and inform guests about cottage country living and etiquette
  • work with neighbours to promote harmonious relationships 
  • be environmental stewards by:  ensuring the sustainable use of cottage properties; recognizing the limits of the existing septic system; and reviewing road capacity and other community considerations.
Sample visitor information

    Imaging a Good Future for our Lakes, Despite Climate Change by Dr. Norman Yan:  An in-depth overview of the current state of our lakes, how we got here, where we want to go, and how to get there.  Three drivers for the increasing risk of algal blooms:

    1.  Faster algal growth due to increased phosphorous load caused by:  more waste and land clearing from development; the death of trees; and more erosion, mineralization or anoxia which are enhanced by climate change.
    2. Lower algal death due to decreased zooplankton populations caused by:  calcium decline; spiny water flea invasion; increasing use of road salt as a result of climate change; and decrease of zooplankton directly due to climate change.
    3. Continually improving blue green algal habitat due to climate change.

    Let's fix the problems we do understand; study those we don’t yet understand; and protect forests and animal plankton so they can protect the waters we all value.  The problems that we do understand along with their respective solutions include:

    • Faulty septic systems  repair along with regular maintenance
    • Too many invaders — prevent new introductions
    • Too much road salt  reduce use
    • Too little calcium — add it (for example, the ASHMuskokaproject)

    View Dr. Yan’s presentation. 

    Natural Shorelines Matter!  Wondering about the reasons behind our love of "natural" shorelines and what we mean by that? FOCA's Terry Rees discusses the role played by shoreline plants, fish habitats, goose deterrence and erosion control.

    Planting a Natural Edge:  There are lots of great resources on native planning suggestions for cottagers.  The Natural Edge online plant tool, a project of Watersheds Canada, generates a shortlist of appropriate plants, bushes and trees based on a zone map! Access the database and map here.

    Boat Wake:  Our waterways will be busy again this year! FOCA receives lots of questions on the impacts of boat wakes and signage that can be posted to remind boaters to be “wake aware”.  Take a look at some great examples and other useful resources.   

    Fire Safety:  The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management reminds everyone that the top fire safety concerns are: barbeques, cottage fires, smoking-related fires and forest fires.  Download the Summer Smart handbook and the Fire Marshal's printable Cottage Fire Safety tips.

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