Muskoka's Heritage Areas are those areas of Muskoka's landscape that, on a local, district, provincial or national scale, exhibit entities of historical, geological, archaeological, scenic or biological value.
In the early 1990's, Muskoka undertook a field-based program to identify the most significant natural areas in the District. This was a joint initiative in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Muskoka Heritage Foundation.
The program was science-based and made use of a number of data sources including air photographs, topographic maps, Ontario Geological Survey Maps, and local knowledge and information as well as extensive fieldwork.
Each of the candidate areas was evaluated following the work done in the field using a series of criteria. Biologists identified sixty-eight significant areas and sites located throughout Muskoka using generalized boundaries.
Heritage Areas are locations where more than one evaluation criteria was met, while Heritage Sites are locations where only one criterion was met.
During the field work program, 562 property owners were contacted for permission to study their property. In return, they were provided with site-specific information about their property following the study. The field work on these larger properties, along with existing information, provided the scientific information required in order to determine the biological significance of larger natural systems.
Six percent of the land base of Muskoka was identified as being significant. Crown land makes up approximately half of that area, or three percent of Muskoka's significant areas. The Province of Ontario, through the Ontario Living Legacy Program, has recognized the Crown land portions of those sites as Conservation Reserves or part of new provincial parks. The remaining three percent of the identified Heritage Areas and Sites are on private land.
Heritage Areas and Sites were identified with the goal of protecting significant features as development occurs in Muskoka. Special areas, such as Muskoka Heritage Areas, bring an identity to an area and represent the uniqueness of one part of the Province. There is a need to recognize these special areas in advance of development pressures in order to ensure that they are protected for the future.
Download the Natural Heritage Evaluation of Muskoka report (13.79 MB) to learn more about the Muskoka Heritage Areas Program.
Muskoka Heritage Areas Program
A field-based program to identify the most significant natural areas in Muskoka.
Muskoka Heritage Areas Information
Specific information about the sixty-eight significant areas and sites located throughout Muskoka.
Heritage Areas Selection Criteria
A list of biotic, abiotic and cultural criteria used to evaluate Muskoka Heritage Areas.
Heritage Area Maps
View Muskoka Heritage Area locations by Area Municipality using generalized boundaries.