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Heritage Areas Selection Criteria 

General Criteria

  • Species at the edge of their range or disjunctive communities
  • Biotic diversity
  • Areas of high quality with little disturbance
  • Significant animal habitat
  • Distinctive or unique landforms
  • Areas that contribute to regional hydrological processes
  • Rare, threatened or endangered species
  • Large undisturbed areas
  • Representation of a full range of the biotic communities and landform processes found in Muskoka


Abiotic Criteria

Objective: To identify a system of physical landscapes that incorporates the full diversity of bedrock, surficial, and aquatic landform types and features within Muskoka.

  1. The area has landform features or elements that are distinctive or unusual in Muskoka, Ontario or Canada.

  2. The area is representative of at least one landform type, process, or phase of development not adequately represented within existing protected areas.

  3. The area contributes to regional hydrological systems through ground or surface water storage or protection or enhancement of water quality.


Biotic Criteria

Objective: To identify in a systematic way, the best examples of the full range of Muskoka's biological heritage, including both aquatic and terrestrial habitats critical to the survival of healthy populations of native wild species.

  1. The area contributes to the full range of biotic representations in Muskoka by including community types of limited distribution.

  2. The area exhibits high diversity of native flora and fauna, either at the species or community level.

  3. The area contains biotic communities of unusual high quality or showing little recent disturbance.

  4. The area provides habitat for species of plants or animals that are rare, threatened or endangered in the Muskoka, Ontario or Canada.

  5. The area serves as a breeding, shelter, or feeding site for significant seasonal concentrations of wildlife or fish.

  6. The area is large enough to support species requiring extensive undisturbed habitats, or provides linkage between other significant natural areas.

  7. The area contains species or biotic communities of biogeographic significance, including those that are disjunct or at the limits of their distribution.


Cultural Criteria

Objective: To identify a system of significant cultural landscapes and features within Muskoka, including those that are disjunct or at the limits of their distribution.

  1. The area is representative of historic or prehistoric theme or process significant to the development of Muskoka.

  2. The area contains sites or landscapes associated with well-known events or people, or distinctive ethnic groups.

  3. The area contains buildings, artifacts, travel routes, or landscape patterns of relative antiquity or duration.

  4. The area exhibits cultural characteristics unusual or unique to Muskoka, possessing high artistic values, or embodying distinctive examples of a type, period, or method of construction.

  5. The area contains elements that reflect the distinctive values, attitudes, traditions, and lifeways of the people of Muskoka.

  6. The area has a high archeological potential, or known archeological significance.

  7. The area contains sites or landscapes with patterns of form, line, color, or texture that together present outstanding scenic value.


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.