Valli and Tim McDougall plan to leave light foot prints as the new owners of Bay Lee Mac Cottages on Rib Lake, a short 11-kilometres north of Temagami near the Cliff Lake Conservation Area.

“It feels like we’ve been preparing for this all our lives,” Valli says about acquiring the well-run and respected operation last fall.

Her parents have had two cabins on Rib Lake for 40 years and the exposure to old growth forests and diversity of wildlife led to two University degrees in Environmental Science and Biology. And there is no doubt Tim’s study in the Millwright field and his certification as a Heating Fuels Contractor in the HVAC trades, will come in handy.

There’s a sandy beach with shallow swimming area with trout, bass and pickerel waiting to jump on a hook just a stone’s throw away and vast hunting opportunities.

“I have yet to come by a lake that matches it in its cleanliness and beauty. You can actually eat the fish!”

Nearby hiking trails will take you to the Rib Mountain Summit and the Cliff Lake Conservation area and the ATV trails that snake through 5,000 acres of forest.

Do they have big plans for expansion and marketing?

“Ultimately, we want to keep the pressure off the environment as much as possible and keep it clean,” she says, although they have no plans to expand, they may winterize the cabins down the road.

“We got to know the owners and they did a beautiful job over the years maintaining the cabins and grounds,” she says. “We knew it was for sale for a long time and we fell in love with the idea of owning it and would like to retire up there in a few years.”

                  

The cabins are powered by propane (fridges, stoves, lights) but they’d like to get off the non-renewable resource and minimize their footprint in the future.

“We’d like to gradually go to solar,” Valli says, adding heat is provided by wood stoves, which is “nice for ambiance but not ideal…;however, the wood we do provide is solely from dead standing trees on our property and our pine and cedar tree sapling nursery provides the replacements to those dead harvested trees.”

Winterizing the cabins is a long-term project, although it may remain a spring to fall operation for quite a while.

“We’re OK with that, we don’t want to put too much pressure or stress on it. We want to improve it but keep it environmentally friendly.”

With two boys in their 20’s and four grandchildren, they have a good reason to guard against having a detrimental impact on such a natural treasure.

“We’d like to pass it on to them one day.”