Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka: A Report from the Muskoka Watershed Council


Muskoka provides a wonderful environment in which to live, and that environment sustains a vibrant tourism and recreational economy worth approximately $400 million annually (roughly 55% of our total economy). Climate change is going to alter our weather and our environment over the next decades, and these alterations will inevitably change our lifestyles and our economy. The good news, supported by the best available climate science, is that while climate change will bring quite substantial changes by mid-century, it need not make Muskoka a less wonderful place in which to live. In fact, it is likely to make our summers longer and more glorious than ever, and with appropriate forward planning, and modifications to infrastructure and activities, we should be able to adapt effectively at least to mid-century, while retaining most of the environmental values that enrich our lives and sustain our economy. On the other hand, if the international community (including Muskoka) fails to deal adequately with the need to reduce emissions, we and the rest of the planet are in for a very rough ride later in the century.

This report provides an in-depth look at the changes likely to come, and at the likely effects on our environment, our infrastructure and our lives. It closes with 15 specific recommendations for action by government, by business or community groups, and/or by individual residents (pages 43 to 46). We encourage all to read these recommendations, explore the arguments behind them, and join in the effort to adapt to the climate that is coming. With effective adaptation effort over the next several decades, we can keep Muskoka that special jewel at Ontario’s heart.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Muskoka Watershed Council

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