Luc Voorn: Guardian of the Bay
Luc Voorn is a cottager in the South Channel and a passionate advocate for Georgian Bay. He currently serves as the Membership Chairperson for the South Channel Association (SCA), Editor of the SCA “On the Waterfront” newsletter, and as Director, Friends of the Massasauga Park. This past summer (2019), he was nominated as a Guardian of Georgian Bay for his ongoing enthusiasm and efforts to protect and preserve the Bay.
Note from Jamie Drayton, GBA Chair of Guardians of Georgian Bay Committee
My Dad used to take us camping. His lure to get us to bathe was to promise us ice cream if we ran into the water first thing in the morning for a swim. I recall the water being absolutely freezing at 7 o’clock in the morning… I don’t recall ever getting any ice cream.
A few years later, a friend invited me out for a kayak trip. It sounded like fun. We first tripped out of Killarney to Phillip Edward Island. There were more adventures, from Snug Harbour and on to Franklin Island, Red Rock lighthouse and on to the Mink Islands.
Skip farther along and I was fortunate enough to introduce my girlfriend (now wife!) to paddling. This gave me the opportunity to share a love of the scenery and of all Georgian Bay has to offer. We proudly framed the picture of one of our first dates on Franklin Island – a simple picnic in an amazing space.
Never did we think we’d eventually share cottage time. I grew up camping at Pinery Provincial Park, and my wife at her extended family’s cottage. Cottage time at any time of the year brings forth a rush of relaxation. Increasingly though, we felt a sense of responsibility. We both appreciate the advantages that have been passed on to us from our parents, and from what we as Canadians have inherited. But what will we pass on to the next generation?
Boating back and forth on the South Channel allows us to appreciate the grandeur of Georgian Bay. Being part of the South Channel Association (SCA) Executive team, and contributing my time to the Friends of the Massasauga Park, allows me the opportunity to give back to the environment I get to enjoy. Volunteering a few hours of my time each week is of benefit to others.
The SCA Executive are a small core group of cottagers focused on informing and supporting the beauty and opportunities within the South Channel and the Archipelago. Helping support the environmental initiatives of Peter Adams, our SCA lead on the environment, is important. There are many within our association who are also passionate about the environment – Claudette Young, Director with the GBA, and Katherine Denune, fighting phragmites, are but a few. There are many others who have owned a cottage in the area and dedicated time over the decades to protect the environment. Recognizing that each person can play a role in doing their “bit” is so key to thinking long term.
As editor of our cottage association newsletter, I also get to help promote different environmental initiatives. The newsletter has highlighted a variety of environmental articles from Peter Adams. On Redner Bay, we test the water through the Lake Partnership program. We have monitored several phragmites stands, and there are ongoing initiatives to collect plastic debris from the shorelines.
The Friends of the Massasauga Park are a keen group of volunteers. Collectively they help maintain the Wreck, Moon and Baker hiking trails. Together with the GBA and cottage associations, environmental initiatives like phrag cutting and Bay Day clean-up, are promoted to campers and cottagers. I am proud to be a Board member as it has allowed me to help promote the value of this area.
It is an honour to be nominated as a Guardian of Georgian Bay, and I embrace the role. To me, being a “Guardian of the Bay” entails being mindful of the space you occupy. I enjoy my playground but I recognize that generations have enjoyed the Bay before me and I need to play my role in ensuring that future generations can enjoy it just as I have. The Bay is more than just a body of water. It’s a state of mind. There is no other place in the world quite like Georgian Bay.
Luc Voorn, South Channel Association