top of page

Abandoned Dock Program

Kathleen Hedley

KLCA Past President and current Environment Committee Chair


In 2021, the KLCA received an email from a member who sent in photos of dilapidated docks that were washed up on crown land across the bay from his dock. The mess created quite an eyesore, he said, and he asked the KLCA to look into the matter. 

After receiving the email, I found the docks the member had identified, and they were indeed quite an eyesore. I decided to patrol the entire shoreline of Kawagama and Bear Lakes to see how many other docks were washed up on crown land. The answer surprised me. We found 11 docks at various locations on crown land that had either been abandoned there, or washed up there over the years and were never cleaned up. 

Some of the docks were usable and/or salvageable. As a result, in 2021 the KLCA decided to tag each dock, and post photos and locations of each dock on our website, providing any owners an opportunity to collect the docks. Due to COVID, we knew American members may not have been able to travel to Kawagama in 2021, so we provided until July 1, 2022 for members to claim their docks.

After this period, only one dock was claimed, but many others were salvageable. The KLCA then posted the pictures and locations of these docks on the website and advised members these docks were free for the taking. After all, reuse of materials is much more environmentally sustainable than putting them in a landfill site. The KLCA also requested that dump fees be waived for the disposal of these docks. Unfortunately, Algonquin Highlands Council turned down this request. Some of the docks did find new homes this way.

So, in late August, a group of volunteers set out to clean up the docks that were left. Since many of the docks were in locations not served by roads, the clean up entailed securing volunteers with pontoon boats to carry debris, securing volunteers with trucks to haul away the debris, and general labour to take apart the docks. 

The biggest mess of docks was at the end of Loon Bay where people have set up unauthorized landings. While the land is not owned by individuals, putting a dock on crown land does require a permit from MNRF. At least five docks that had been used over the years were all rotting messy eyesores at the landing. In fact our volunteer, Dwayne Maltby, had to use his excavator to take apart the docks at this site and load them into his trailer for disposal.  

Another team of volunteers took on a number of docks that were washed up near Moorelands. Once the most dilapidated docks were taken apart at the site, the crew realized the other two docks at the site were salvageable. The crew disengaged the two docks from the shoreline and placed them in an easy to get at location, posted a picture of the docks on the KLCA Facebook page, and the docks were adopted within 24 hours.  Other docks in River Bay and along the north shore were also disposed of. 

There remain two docks that are salvageable. One is way up the end of Lower Fletcher Bay (up the section that appears to be a river, and around the first point), and the other is near the landing in Upper Fletcher Bay. So if you are looking for a new dock or swimming raft, and are willing to put in a bit of work, check them out and haul them away!

The abandoned dock clean up would not have been possible without the volunteers who came out to help. A huge round of thanks to the following members who made it all possible:

Dwayne Maltby

Tom Mulhall

Tom Astle

Margaret Smith

Stephen Smith

Liz Gereke

Tom Gereke

Paul Stephenson

John Forbek

bottom of page