Ross Earl has uncovered some interesting facts about Skeleton Lake and the surrounding waterfront area. Please help ensure this unique part of Muskoka is protected by completing the official plan survey before fri.oct.9. Details here: Proposed Policy Directions Survey – TML OP Review

Here are some of the findings with sources listed below…

ANSI – Area of Natural Scientific Interest
Skeleton Lake is the only pre-glacial lake in Muskoka. It is an impact lake created by a meteorite 1.5 – 2 billion years ago. The north shore of the lake has an ANSI protection related to the discovery of breccias (broken rock from the impact) in the area. Much has been learned about the lake since its ANSI designation on the north shore in the 1970’s.

Gary Long – journalist, Waterloo graduate in Geology and author of “This River the Muskoka” has written over 20 articles on his exploration of Muskoka’s Lakes, Rivers and creation history in the MUSKOKA SUN newspaper. Two of these articles were dedicated to Skeleton Lake.

Scientists studied many lakes in Muskoka for mercury content. Only Skeleton Lake was found to have zero mercury content (0.5 ppm). Skeleton Lake was protected by a limestone shell created by the meteorite which filtered out the ground mercury from entering the lake.

Scientific articles indicate that the bottom of Skeleton Lake holds some of the only history of the earth that is almost 2 billion years old and should be preserved for exploration. Cracks in the earth’s crust made on the contact follow the ridges on the north shore. Skeleton Lake has a relatively small watershed which can be protected more easily then our other lakes. It is the only mercury free pure water source flowing into the Muskoka lakes system (Rosseau, Joseph, and Lake Muskoka).

With the inherent vulnerability of Skeleton Lake, I would like to see the township Official Plan protect and promote it as a Muskoka gem. The lake is situated at the juncture of 4 townships in two municipalities. Protection of unique natural phenomenons must start with the local people and their governing bodies. It would be a shame to destroy something this rare, especially if you did not know the unique history and geology of Skeleton Lake.


  1. Micheal W Milner – Geologist, Geomorphologist
  2. Gary Russell – retired diamond driller (Canadian Shield, Columbia)
  3. 1997 – Mercury in the Lake Sediments of Precambrian Shield – Huntsville, Ont, Canada
    – P E Rasmussen (Geological Survey of Canada)
    – D S Villard – Ont. Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
    – H D Gardner – Ont MNR
    – S I Schiff – Dept.of Earth Sciences University of Waterloo
    – W W Shilts – Illinois State Geology Survey
  4. A primer on the Geology of Skeleton Lake and Environments
    – 2010 Charles Barrie
    – Impact Crater Explorations – Charles O’Dale
    – A Paleozoic Impact Creator in Central Ont. Canada
    – Skeleton Lake – Waddington M R Dence – 1979
    – Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
  5. 1974 Earthquakes Triggered by Surface Quarrying
    (New York State Science Service – Series # 189
  6. Gary Long – Waterloo graduate in Geology and known author of “This River the Muskoka”.



This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:


Air Pollution! Water pollution! Traffic Horrors! Impact on Wildlife! Noise!

There is no positive reason to allow a quarry of this magnitude to be developed in this area. It will be of no benefit to area residents nor to any of the cottagers or tourists who frequent this area. The carnage it will have on the environment will be irreparable. Despite claims by the proponents and their paid advisors, no one person can be sure that this pit and quarry will not have significant environmental impact on the water quality of Skeleton Lake. Shouldn’t our goal be to try to preserve this unique area for generations to come so that they can interact with nature, recreation, and history in a positive way. Our ancestors had the foresight to classify this area as environmentally sensitive. That is the way it should remain.

Personally, we have owned property on Long Point Road, Skeleton Lake since 1952. Our cottage , built in 1979, is on a small, shallow bay. The stream that feeds into this bay has its beginnings at the proposed quarry site. Any pollutants-airborne or by water- from this site will have detrimental effects on the water of this bay, and the fish , turtles, ducks, herons , loons and the people who make their home here.

In addition, given the expected increase in the massive trucks using Muskoka Road3, we will cease to be able to enjoy the peace and quiet. Already, the sound of traffic is clearly heard as the vehicles contend with the hills on the road directly across the bay. What happens when you have an extra 100 trucks a day? This proposed quarry (less than 2 km distance) will not be just gravel pit but a quarry where there will be blasting of bedrock that will make the ground shutter and the non-stop noise of huge machines grinding it into small pieces. The proposal states that this operation will be seven days a week from May to November for the next 50+ years.

For over 60 years , we have paid mega taxes to enjoy our cottage and property. Is it going to be destroyed by greed and lack of empathy for our environmental gifts?

The proponents of the Lippa Quarry would be transporting their material on Muskoka Road 3 going west through Rosseau and 21 km east towards Huntsville. This is a two way road with curves, hills , blind corners , hidden driveways and gravel shoulders. Large trucks ride the yellow line . It is intimidating for any drivers let alone seniors to continually meet these deadly machines. This road is classified as a “scenic” route. Who will have time to look at the scenery?

Situated about halfway between the pit and Huntsville is the Aspdin Community Centre-originally S.S.# 2 built in 1893. It is a central gathering place for dinners, potlucks, social events, weekly card parties, senior groups, programs for children etc. When large trucks pass , the building rattles making it impossible to hear. What happens when there is a constant flow of huge trucks passing?

The economic gains of one company should not be allowed to cause permanent harm to residents , wildlife and the local tourism industry which has flourished here for decades. This is tourist country not mining country.


Ted & Irene Turner

Huntsville, Ontario




This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:


To the Editor of the Globe and Mail,

Re:Residents, cottagers in Ontario’s Muskoka region fight quarry proposal near unique Skeleton Lake

We live close to the proposed quarry site in a modest house living a simple life. How will this quarry impact our quality of life, our health and well being? What is the human cost to the many families living nearby?

I do not want health problems from breathing silica dust. I do not want my house shaking and damaged by the blasting. I do not want the animals to disappear. I do not want my well water poisoned. I do not want my peace disturbed by the constant rumbling of gravel trucks by my door.

Perhaps the people who want to build these quarries should be made to live next door to one and experience firsthand the devastating impact it would have.




This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:


Thank you to John Lorinc for writing an excellent article about the fight to stop the development of a quarry near Skeleton Lake, Muskoka. I just want to elaborate on several of the issues that Mr Lorinc identified in his piece.

My grandfather, Harry Newman, built a cottage on the north shore of Skeleton Lake in 1934, and members of my extended family have been cottaging there ever since. I personally have been visiting this area for more than sixty years, and in this time have seen many changes.

While the water still appears to be exceptionally clear, large blooms of algae have become increasingly common in recent years. A significant increase in phosphorous levels if the quarry goes ahead, as predicted by Gord Miller, would cause this algae problem to escalate rapidly, and to get out of control.

Muskoka Road 3, is proposed as the principal haulage route for the trucks from the quarry, and it runs within 100 metres of the shoreline at Newman’s Bay, where the trucks must climb a steep hill. Truck noise is already a serious problem for permanent residents and cottagers in this area, and the sound travels unimpeded across the lake, and can be heard clearly by cottagers on the southern shore.

Muskoka Road 3 is also designated as a Scenic Corridor in the Official Plan of the Township of Muskoka Lakes. It is a popular route for tourists in cars and buses, on motorcycles, on bicycles, and on foot. The proposed quarry would increase traffic by over 100 trucks per day during the height of the tourist season, a recipe for disaster.

Tourism is a sustainable industry that creates jobs and wealth in Muskoka, and this quarry proposal has very little upside, and a whole lot of downside.

Tom Newman



This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:


Re Residents, cottagers in Ontario’s Muskoka region fight quarry proposal near unique Skeleton Lake (April 1st):

Imagine a postcard perfect Ontario wilderness lake in front of you. You can drink the water, loons call and swim by in the early morning. How is it possible that one could be so lucky to enjoy such a place, and it still exists? Then a ten or twenty ton gravel truck rumbles down the road behind you, a road categorised as a scenic route through what Muskoka Tourism says is “consistently named as one of the best places to visit in Canada and the world by publications such as National Geographic, Frommer’s and Reader’s Digest. Discover what makes Muskoka so amazing.” Those trucks are already rolling by every day, but for now mostly for a few peak hours in the mornings and evenings, less frequently on the weekends. The proposed quarry near Skeleton Lake would turn up the volume to a constant flow seven days a week, dawn to dusk and beyond. Traffic noise levels now exceed 80 decibels while sitting on the shore. Unfortunately, planners with a lack of foresight never imagined trucks using this scenic route as a shortcut between highway 11 and 400 and placed the road extremely close to Skeleton Lake on the north side. It passes less than 100 feet from many dwellings and the lake. Now they risk making the same mistake again. More than 100 trucks a day could be rumbling by. I don’t think the loons would like that. It might be a bit difficult to discover what makes Muskoka so amazing once phosphorous and mercury levels rise and pollute first Skeleton Lake and then Lakes Muskoka and Rousseau. Oh, but you might never get near the water as the noise and dust from the gravel trucks would scare you (and the loons) away.

I thank you for your excellent article and putting a spotlight on this issue.

Kent Bonkoff
Utterson, ON
(Skeleton Lake)



This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:


On June 16th at Port Carling, Mr. Frank Lippa, applied to the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes for permission to open a rock/gravel quarry and pit on Butler Mill Road. This operation would take 200 000 tonnes of material out of the pit annually. This application was unanimously turned down in an open vote by the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Mr. Lippa has applied to go to the Ontario Municipal Board to request that his application for the pit and quarry be accepted as is. If this application is accepted by the OMB, that would mean more than 100 heavy gravel trucks a day would travel on Aspdin Road, (one every 4 1/2 minutes). Some of them would be going east to Huntsville, some would be going west to Rosseau.

There are so many reasons why this application should be turned down.

1. A major concern is for the safety of vehicles, pedestrian and bicyclers on the roads. Heavy gravel trucks are not able to stop on a dime. School buses that are stopped on the road would not have a chance if a gravel truck came around a corner and was not able to stop. There are already a huge number of heavy trucks using this road on a daily basis, such as logging trucks, Muskoka Containerized Services trucks, Panolam trucks, Hutcheson Sand and and Gravel pit trucks, to name a few that use this road. Aspdin Road is not a provincial road and was not built for such heavy traffic. An extra 100 trucks a day would wreak havoc with the road, with visitors, with residents and with the wild life. Not acceptable.

2. Residents, through their taxes, would have to foot the bill for repairs to the road and would have to live with the dangers of living on a road with such heavy truck traffic. Not acceptable.

3. Another major concern is that this pit will be operating below the water table. The water and the pollution from that operation will flow into Skeleton Lake and then on to Lakes Rosseau, Muskoka and Joe. This is simply not acceptable.

4. It is the belief of the directors of the Rosseau Farmers’ Market that this amount of heavy truck traffic will pose a serious risk to pedestrians in the village of Rosseau. The major economic engine in Muskoka is tourism. Rosseau Farmers’ Market draws an average of 3000 visitors on market days. The market is located on Highway 141, which is one of the roads that those huge gravel trucks would use. As it is, Rosseau has very heavy traffic congestion on market days. It is our belief that additional heavy truck traffic would result in accidents and deaths. We very strongly urge the Ontario Municipal Board lakes to deny this application.

Lynnis Royea, Founder of the Rosseau Market

The directors of the Rosseau Farmers’ Market.



Ontario Landowners Association OLA, JULY 1, 2018
Skeleton Lake Under Siege

Huntsville Doppler, APRIL 9, 2018
Oppostion to Muskoka-area quarries garners national attention

Cottage Life Magazine, APRIL 6, 2018
Cottagers and locals unite against Skeleton Lake quarry

The Globe and Mail, APRIL 1, 2018
Residents, cottagers in Ontario’s Muskoka region fight quarry proposal near unique Skeleton Lake

VIDEO:  Muskoka Lakes council vote against proposed quarry – CogecoTV Muskoka

Quarry reps mum on possibility of OMB appeal to Muskoka Lakes vote – Bracebridge Examiner

Muskoka Lakes council rejects proposed quarry rezoning, amendment – Bracebridge Examiner

Proposed Lippa Quarry project shut down following heavy public opposition – My Muskoka Now

Stop Muskoka Pit group wants your support at council meeting on Friday – Doppler Online

Proposed stone quarry in Muskoka Lakes raises eyebrows, says ex-councillor – Bracebridge Examiner

Skeleton Lake quarry ‘could be a disaster,’ says nature columnist – Huntsville Forester

Muskoka Lakes resident fighting proposed quarry just south of Seguin – Parry Sound North Star



The following letter was published here:

An application for a zone and official plan change was made to open a quarry on Muskoka Road 3 between Huntsville and Rosseau.

It was unanimously defeated by the Muskoka Lakes Council and their decision was also unanimously endorsed by the Huntsville Council.

Consequently, Frank Lippa has taken this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board in a bid to have it overturned.

His plan is to put a gravel pit and a rock quarry on Lots 3 and 4, Concession 4 in Cardwell Township.

The quarry is to be allowed to excavate below the water table and to “dewater” the pit into the creek and directly into Skeleton Lake at Long Point, just off MR3.

The quarry will operate 17 to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He will be crushing granite on the site and stockpiling it for truck removal daily.

This project, if successful, has many serious ramifications for local residents as well as the Muskoka area.

The estimate is for up to 100 truckloads per day going east toward Huntsville or west toward Rosseau. MR3 is the prime road for residents, businesses and school buses as well as for cottagers, tourists, cyclists and walkers with their pets.                                                                               

The quarry is only 1.7 kilometres from Skeleton Lake. The Official Plan for Ontario designates quarries to be close to major highways.  This quarry location is 21 kilometres from Highway 11 at Huntsville and 14 kilometres from Highway 141 at Rosseau, then 20 kilometres more to Highway 400 in Humphrey/Seguin, (a total of 34 kilometres as in Lippa’s report.

The provincial recommendation concerning crushing is that the crushing is to be over two kilometres from a designated shoreline. There are three lakes closer than two kilometres:
Skeleton 1.7 kilometres, Lamberts Lake 0 .8 kilometres and Mudd Lake 0.6 kilometres.

We will only live to regret treating our pristine area as if we were a Third World country. We will pay the cost to repair MR3. This, I believe, will leave the Muskoka taxpayer on the hook because it is a district road.                                         

It is now time for concerned citizens to show their support by attending the meeting at Port Carling on Feb. 21 at the municipal office at 10 a.m. Your appearance will help support those who are fighting to prevent this industrial development in tourist country and our homes.

If anyone would like to have more information or is willing to help with our cause please do not hesitate to call.


Ross Earl,



John Earl,


January 18, 2018

To: SLCO Members

Re:  Status Update #2 – Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry

With 2018 underway, I wanted to send you an update on the actions the SLCO Board and our lawyer, David Donnelly, have taken with respect to opposing the proposed Lippa pit and quarry.

We have retained a number of experts to help us prepare our case for the OMB hearing.  We have already received a preliminary report from a traffic safety expert, who has identified a number of issues that would arise on Aspdin Road as a result of the heavy truck traffic that would be generated by the quarry operations.

We are also meeting this week with David Pink, Director of Planning for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  As you know, Township Council unanimously rejected Lippa’s re-zoning application for the quarry, and we are working with David to co-ordinate our opposition.  

A reminder that a pre-hearing conference will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  The purpose of this conference is to determine the issues, parties, and participants prior to the actual Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing, which is expected to take place later this year or early 2019.  As David has advised, a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed pit and quarry is important at the pre-hearing conference.  Thus, please mark Wednesday, February 21, at 10:00 am at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council Chambers in Port Carling on your calendar, and plan to attend if possible. 

In the interim, we encourage all members to go to the SMP website ( and sign the petition opposing the Lippa quarry.  The petition represents the voice of many in the community.  There are now almost 2,000 signatures on it!

As communicated last month, SLCO has sufficient funds to meet both the legal and expert costs it is currently incurring, up until the pre-hearing conference.  However, substantial additional monies will be required if we are to succeed at the subsequent OMB hearing.  Our intention is to launch a fundraising effort over the next few months. 

We will continue to keep you informed on this important issue.  We appreciate your ongoing support as we work hard to keep Skeleton Lake the special place we all enjoy.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


Scott May, President

Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization


c:   416 559 2839



December 17, 2017

To:  SLCO Members

Re:  Status Update of Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry

A brief note to keep you informed on the status of the proposed Lippa pit and quarry:

As many of you are aware, SLCO and the “Stop Muskoka Pit” group have been working together to oppose a 200,000 tonne/year pit and quarry that Frank Lippa is proposing to develop at a site 1.7 km from Skeleton Lake.  In June of this year, the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council voted unanimously to deny Mr. Lippa’s rezoning application, in response to concerns raised about the impaired water quality, noise, and traffic that would result from such an operation.  Mr. Lippa subsequently filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  In response, SLCO has retained external counsel (David Donnelly) and various experts to assist us in opposing Mr. Lippa’s appeal.

Last week, we received some new information about the OMB Lippa appeal hearing.  Specifically, a pre-hearing conference will be held on Wednesday, February 21.  The purpose of this conference is to determine the issues, parties, and participants prior to the actual OMB hearing, which is expected to take place next summer.  As David advises, a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed quarry will be important at the pre-hearing conference.  Thus, please mark Wednesday, February 21, 10:00 am at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council Chambers in Port Carling on your calendar, and plan to attend if possible. 

Fortunately, SLCO has sufficient funds on hand to meet the legal and expert costs it is incurring, up until the pre-hearing conference.  However, substantial additional monies will be needed if we are to mount a successful opposition at the subsequent OMB hearing.  Our intention is to launch a significant fundraising effort in the New Year. 

We will continue to keep you informed on this matter, and are confident of your ongoing support as we fight to maintain the pristine water, along with the peace and quiet, that are so central to our enjoyment of Skeleton Lake.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


Scott May, President

Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization


c:   416 559 2839