Welcome to the Friends of Nancy Island & Wasaga Beach Park
The Friends of Nancy Island Historic Site and Wasaga Beach Park is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to furthering the educational and interpretive programs of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and Nancy Island Historic Site. Find out more about the goals of the Friends of Nancy Island!
Over the last six months two Friends members, Chris Looker and Fiona Ryder, have been volunteer coast watchers for the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (LHCCC). This program helps the Coastal Centre to organize coastal cleanups when needed, to monitor water quality and to work with municipalities on beach management practices. This involves weekly readings and observations at two locations on our shoreline (Beach One and New Wasaga) and there are a couple of other Coastal Watchers monitoring in other Wasaga locations.
In addition to documenting weather and water conditions (wind direction, wave height, etc.) they also record beach conditions (garbage, plastic pellets, erosion, natural and human-made debris, detritus, algae and so forth). As well, they document human activity (numbers of people and motorized vehicles on the water and on the beach) and presence of wildlife, including species at risk. Twice over the six months, water samples were collected. The six months ran until the end of October after which the Coastal Centre will be analyzing the data collected in multiple locations around Lake Huron/Georgian Bay. We look forward to their findings as the Friends of Nancy Island and its membership help with Beach Stewardship initiatives. More information is available on the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation website – www.lakehuron.ca
Nature of the Nottawasaga River; “An Educational and Environmental Experience,” by David Featherstone
September 29, 2018 marked the 10th Anniversary of the annual Nature of the Nottawasaga River, sponsored by the Town of Wasaga Beach Healthy Community Network (HCN) in collaboration with Free Spirit Tours. The purpose of the event is to promote active transportation and healthy lifestyles within the community and to educate the public about the wonders of the Nottawasaga River and its surrounding area. With subsidized canoe and kayak rentals available and shuttles provided by Free Spirit Tours, this is a family-friendly half day event that promises a leisurely paddle, wildlife sightings and fall colours.
Starting at Edenvale Conseration Area off Highway 26, the group paddles downstream through a forested river valley. Along the way, local ecologists and HCN members/alumni Scott Martin and David Featherstone offer their interpretation of the many physiographic and natural wonders along this portion of river system. The broader watershed drainage area – over 3,300 km2 – is discussed as is the Nottawasaga River’s important role in the War of 1812. Lake sturgeon, our largest freshwater fish, is showcased as is the flora and fauna observed along the route.
Jack’s Lake – a post glacial widening of the Nottawasaga River not far from the Sports Park trip terminus – is always a highlight of the trip. A large river marsh, this provincially significant wetland offers a great opportunity to discuss the myriad functions of wetlands and to introduce the public to some of the amphibians and marsh birds that make the wetland their home. Fringed by glorious silver maples, it is also an opportunity to talk about how citizens can play an important role in environmental monitoring. Last but not least, Jack’s Lake provides sightings of the trumpeter swan family that annually nests here. In recent years, bald eagles have also taken up residence and are often observed on the trip. Wild rice is another marsh specialty with a strong tie to First Nation communities – the stands and their role in First Nations life are highlighted.
The Nature of the Nottawasaga River is free for those with their own canoe or kayak and Free Spirit offers rentals at very friendly rates! It is important to register early – there is a limit on vessel registration to ensure a great experience for all. On behalf of HNC and Free Spirit Tours – it’s always a pleasure to to see familiar faces on the trip and to welcome new participants. Always a great day! Please consider joining us in 2019. Keep an eye on the Town and HCN websites for registration information.