Pristine island property preserved in Rideau Lakes

RIDEAU LAKES, Jan. 9, 2023 – A small island property in Rideau Lakes Township will remain in its natural state even as waterfront development ramps up around it. 

The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation received the donation this fall from five siblings who together owned the remains of their family’s legacy cottage property. The exact location will not be shared to discourage unwanted visitors.

The four-acre island parcel includes more than 500 metres of pristine shoreline and a good mix of habitats. 

“Some lower areas near the water have lots of wetter tree and plant species, and then there’s also high and dry species like white pine, oak and sugar maple,” said Chelsey Ellis, Conservation Lands Manager at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), which helps the Foundation manage the donated lands. “The shoreline is also a high priority for us because that’s the ribbon of life, that’s where most of our biodiversity is found in the lake.” 

The island is located near several publicly-owned natural properties on the mainland, which create a connective corridor for wildlife across the water. Ellis said the island will remain a convenient stop-over for creatures looking to cross the lake, whether by flying, swimming or even walking over the ice.

Protecting this type of habitat corridor is especially important on highly-developed lakes, which will face increased development pressures going forward. 

“Before it was donated, one or two developments would have wiped out the natural integrity of the site,” Ellis said. “On such a popular lake, it was going to be under a lot more development pressure in the next 50 years. This generous donation has taken it out of the bidding.”

The property will be owned by the Foundation, while a conservation easement agreement with the RVCA ensures it will remain free of campfire pits, docks, trails and other development. The family will receive a market value tax credit through the federal Ecological Gifts program and will be exempt from capital gains taxes on the gift. 

Get involved

Families wishing to shed their natural properties are encouraged to consider land donation through the Foundation, either now or as part of their long-term estate planning. Having conversations with family members now to clarify your wishes can save time and money for your family members down the road, and avoid uncertainty for them at a difficult time. 

Those who can’t donate land can support the costs associated with land ownership through the Foundation’s Conservation Lands Endowment Fund. The Foundation uses the fund’s annual interest to cover maintenance, insurance and other routine costs of property ownership. 

Learn more about the Foundation at


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