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May 8, 2024

It takes 60 years to replace just one: watch for turtles on the road this spring and summer!

By Kate Dickson from cottage country’s Turtle Guardians


If you’ve been coming up to cottage country for a while, chances are you’ve seen turtles on or near roads, especially throughout the months of May and June. “Why are they in such a dangerous place”, you may be wondering? There are a couple of reasons!


It turns out that our roads frequently intersect turtle’s wetland habitats, which they need to move between for different needs like hibernating, mating, and more. With this movement, they almost inevitably come across roads they must cross. If you spot a turtle in the middle of the road, you are allowed to help them because all of Ontario’s turtles are species at risk, and intervening when a species at risk is in harm’s way is perfectly legal as well as encouraged! In fact, road mortality is the leading threat to turtles, so helping them across the road is particularly impactful! Here's how:


For all turtles except snapping turtles: Simply pick them up like a sandwich and move them to the other side of the road. You should sanitize your hands after as a precaution but don’t worry - your only (and very low) risk is salmonella. So the risk of helping a turtle in need is akin to preparing chicken in your kitchen!


For snapping turtles: Yes, snapping turtles can bite, but contrary to popular belief they cannot remove a human digit, and they only snap as a protective measure, as they cannot retract inside their shell. So, while a bite is certain to hurt a bit, it is not going to cost you a finger or toe! Be that as it may, it’s reasonable to want to avoid one, so that’s why there are a number of techniques for moving snappers. You can learn more in this instructive video!


The other reason you might see a turtle on the road, especially during the previously mentioned months of May and June, is because it is nesting season! During nesting season, “pregnant” freshwater turtles dig a hole to deposit their eggs, just like sea turtles, and it turns out that the gravel we use along roadsides makes a great substrate for these nests. That, and the shoulder of the road is nice and warm, which turtles like because it helps eggs incubate into little babies! If you see a turtle along the side of the road, it might be nesting. Keep your distance and reach out to our team at Turtle Guardians at 705-854-2888 for direction. If it is confirmed to be a nesting case, we will give further instruction!


Unfortunately, you might also come across an injured turtle. If this is the case, you should call the Ontario Turtle Trauma Center (OTTC) immediately at 705-741-5000. They will instruct you on what to do based on the situation and can often dispatch an emergency driver to your location to pick the injured turtle up and bring it to their facility for medical attention. Turtles can survive even the most traumatic injuries - their healing potential is truly incredible - and they may be carrying viable eggs. Unless the turtle is very clearly dead, a call to the OTTC is warranted!


You can learn more about Turtle Guardians here and follow along with us at @turtleguardians on Instagram and Facebook!

above: Common Snapping Turtle, photo by Carolyn Madonia, 2021 photo contest submission

left: Midland Painted Turtle, photo by Jane Surerus, 2021 photo contest submission

Wildfires: what you need to know

After last year’s scary wildfires across Canada, some questions come to mind. What will happen this year? In the event of significant fire events, how might they spread and how will they get brought under control? What should cottagers do to minimize fire risk? And how to prepare for a fire event?

For answers to these and other questions, the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department held an in-person event earlier this spring. It’s now available on YouTube here. The first part digs deep into our first questions - what’s likely to happen and how fires get fought. To cut to the chase and learn how we can protect ourselves from wildfires and their effects, just skip to minute 44:00.

For more information, check out FireSmart Canada.

Emergency Preparedness Event – Know the risks, protect yourself

During Emergency Preparedness Week, the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department is hosting an Emergency Preparedness event. This free public event is an opportunity to talk with emergency response agencies to learn all about preparing for an emergency so you can keep yourself and your family safe.

Floods, wildfires, storms, water-related incidents – living in Muskoka there are many hazards and emergencies that can put you and your family at risk. When we know the risks, we are better prepared to take appropriate actions to help prevent those risks. Arm yourself with the information you need to protect yourself!

The Fire Department has partnered with the following organizations for this event: OPP, EMS, Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Lake of Bays Public Works, Huntsville and Lake of Bays By-law, Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit, Canadian Red Cross, Hydro One.

Participating organizations will be bringing response vehicles where individuals and families will be able to go inside and discuss various emergency preparedness topics.

Muskoka Dippin’ Dots will have a truck available onsite for refreshment purchase and Oliver’s Coffee in the Summit Centre will be open.

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Canada Summit Centre Parking Lot

20 Park Dr, Huntsville, ON

Educational Topics:

  • How to make your own 72-hour supply kit
  • How to safely set up a generator
  • Sandbag demonstration for flood preparedness
  • Rapid deployment craft for water rescue
  • Wildland fire preparedness information
  • And much more…

For more information contact:

Steve Markham

Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department

Public Education/Fire Prevention Officer

705-789-5201 x 3609


Local emergency preparedness resources: Read more>

Emergency Preparedness Week: Find out more>

#AlertMuskoka - powered by Voyent Alert!

A test of the #AlertMuskoka system, powered by Voyent Alert! will take place on Friday, May 10, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. 

Learn more about #AlertMuskoka and the Voyent Alert! app: Click here>

The 2024 fire season for Muskoka has now begun. The fire season runs from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year.

For the up-to-date fire rating please call: 



Moderate — No daytime burning allowed. Fires for cooking and heat when there are no other sources. Extra care is required for all burning. You must have adequate tools and water to extinguish the fire if the need arises and you must be with your fire at all times.

Lake of Bays

Moderate — Fire must be under constant supervision and control from time of lighting until it is totally extinguished. Forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting. Carry out any forest activities with caution


The Muskoka Fire Danger Rating is determined using the Fire Weather Index, an internationally used method for determining the risk of fires in open air. It uses factors such as the relative humidity, temperature, previous 24-hour rain amount, wind directions and wind speed in combination with the forest fuel type and loads to determine the risk of the forest to certain fire types. From this calculation the Forest Fire Danger Rating is made in consultation with the fire chiefs of the six area municipalities and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming charity events ...

Baysville Friends of the Library

Summer Kickoff, Silent Auction & Dinner

Saturday May 25, 2024

Baysville Community Centre

Tickets $65

Tickets and more information at Baysville branch library



Baysville Riverfront Group

Surf & Turf Dinner & Silent Auction

Saturday June 15

Baysville Community Centre

Tickets $90, Turf only $70

For tickets contact Susie


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Photo by Paul Madder

2022 Photo Contest submission

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