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Great Lakes Article:

World's Largest Fresh Water Eco Museum Georgian Bay Ontario
Published March 9, 2007

The Georgian Bay Eco Museum will provide a resource to find natural Canadian Experiences in the Georgian Bay Area and the watersheds feeding Georgian Bay. Eco tours are available and provided by the members of the Georgian Bay Eco Museum.

(OPENPRESS) March 9, 2007 -- The new virtual museum The Georgian Bay Eco Museum will help position Georgian Bay in the international tourism markets and build awareness for one of Canada's largest fresh water lakes. Georgian Bay is often referred to as Canada’s Sixth Great Lake. The Eco Museum icon will represent a functioning and thriving ecosystem, an ecosystem that is diverse, essential, accessible, vital to the future of Ontario and the Great Lakes. This is the only Great Lake that has two internationally recognized United Nations designated Biosphere Reserves. Georgian Bay is 100% Canadian and it needs to be recognized internationally as unique and standing on its own. The icon will help position Ontario and Canada to defend the Georgian Bay water resource and capture the emerging eco tourism market. (See editors’ note)

The Georgian Bay Eco Museum team continues to assemble a virtual website representing Georgian Bay and the watersheds that feed into the Bay. It brings together a collection of resources that present a cohesive image of an ecological region around the Georgian Bay area.

“This is an icon that can be embraced by the many stakeholders in the Georgian Bay region as well as those in the watersheds that feed into the Bay.” The Tourism Industry is the bread and butter of Georgian Bay, and we need to be aware of the threats to the water resource while at the same time tell the Georgian Bay story to the world.” said Ron Taylor, publisher of the website.

In addition to the two Biosphere Reserves there are several national parks, numerous provincial parks, municipal parks and protected wetland areas. “I don’t know of another freshwater body of water with as many designated protected areas,” Taylor added.

Georgian Bay and the watersheds are well positioned to capture the emerging eco tour market. Despite the existing protected areas the Bay is fragile as are the watersheds feeding into the Bay. Georgian Bay needs to be recognized as the most important lake in Ontario. The Bay needs to gain the necessary support to maintain a healthy ecosystem and build back the water levels before wetlands begin to disappear and aquatic life is affected.

The concept for a Georgian Bay Eco Museum, was first identified by Taylor’s, son, Jason, now Director of Education at the Ecological Society of America in Washington D.C. He grew up in Barrie and worked along the Bay as a volunteer at the Wye Marsh, and as an on-site naturalist at Delawana Inn Resort. He also provided nature interpretation at several of the provincial and national parks along Georgian Bay.

Robin Tapley, one of Ontario’s foremost naturalists and Georgian Bay enthusiasts will be instrumental in developing ecotours and guiding trips around Georgian Bay.

Tapley operates Tapley’s Nature Trails and provides guided tours, nature talks, and consulting services throughout Canada, South America and Antarctica. He has conducted numerous guided trips along Georgian Bay, and is planning a spring guided Zodiac trip through the north side of the 30,000 Islands. In addition to running Tapley’s Nature Trails from his location in Dwight near Huntsville and his sail boat in Penetanguishene on Georgian Bay, Tapley is working on a book that will review many of the watersheds throughout the world.

“I keep my sailboat in Penetanguishene and feel that this new icon will create a long term vision of what we want Georgian Bay to be like 100 years from now---a recognizable icon for “freshest” and “cleanest” water in a vibrant and healthy ecosystem,” Tapley said.

Visitors to the web site can find information on conservation, recreation, area accommodation, eco tours, boating, Georgian Bay history and much more.

Opinions and comments are welcome by contacting:

Jason Taylor

Robin Tapley
705 635-9696

Ron Taylor

Editors’ Notes:
Peter Annin has identified the upcoming battle for water resources in his book The Great Lakes Water Wars. He holds the position of associate director for the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources based in Madison Wisconsin.

Eco Tourism invites tourists to your region and asks them to respect the integrity of the environment.

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