Sauble Beach continues to be recognized as a prefered destination of beach goers in Ontario. The Friends of Sauble are proud of this recognition and continue to promote the wise use of the beach and dunes for future generations to enjoy.
CARP '07 & '11
In 2007, and again in 2011, a "Best Beaches" article appeared in CARP's ( Canadian Association of Retired Persons) publication . Sauble Beach was rated as "one of their 6 favourites".
Jennifer Gruden wrote:
"Canada has its share of fantastic places to enjoy the water and catch the rays. California's beaches may be the most famous in North America (or are Floridians about to rise up and protest?) but Canada has its share of fantastic places to enjoy the water and catch the rays - almost too many to mention. Here are six of our favourites.
COTTAGE LIFE AWARD '07
Defenders of the dunes
FRIENDS OF SAUBLE BEACH
Outstanding Environmental Achievement, Cottager Group
“I’ve always enjoyed the dunes,” says Peter Seibert, the chair of the Friends of Sauble Beach, who has been coming to Sauble his whole life and has had a cottage there for 33 years. “I developed a fondness as a kid, playing on the beach.” That beach, a mecca for cottagers, stretches 11 kilometres along the shore of Lake Huron, with the flat lakeside land bordered by undulating dunes, a unique habitat for rare plants and animals and a defence against incoming storms. This fragile ecosystem is constantly at risk, especially from human activity.
“Sauble is a relic beach. There’s no new sand coming,” says Mary Ransom, Seibert’s predecessor as Friends’ chair. So in 2000, when the town proposed paved parking at the beach, the community reacted. “That’s when we mobilized,” says Ransom, also a Sauble cottager for more than 30 years. Cottagers united with local residents to save the dunes and preserve the coastal environment at this popular retreat. The fledgling group, which now numbers 50 families, two-thirds of them cottagers, first secured a $46,500 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, then commissioned the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation to produce a beach management plan. “The plan gives us credibility and reassures people that we’re not just dune-huggers,” says Ransom. “We want people to enjoy the beach for years to come. Everything we’ve done and will continue to do is based on its strategies.”
What the group has done is this: constructed boardwalks and walkways so the crowds cross the dunes only at specific locations, reducing erosion; erected sand fencing (provided by the town) each fall with local firefighters and other volunteers, to keep the sand on the beach during the winter; built benches along three kilometres of beach; created educational pamphlets, which it then gives to members and local residents and businesses; and conducted field trips and seminars for local schools. Now, visitors to the beach are greeted by strategically placed signs, which explain the importance of preserving the dunes, and blue flags, showing the water is safe for swimming, from an international organization, Blue Flag, that designates beaches that meet strict waterquality, safety, and environmental-management guidelines. Sauble is the first beach on Lake Huron to get that designation (and the second in North America), due, in part, to the work of the Friends in encouraging stewardship among beach-goers. When you arrive to go for a swim or just to take in some sun and breeze, you see a demonstration dune, with representative plant species. “We have interpretive signs that explain the dune cycle,” says Seibert. “The demo area, about sixteen by twenty feet, is hemmed in by large stones donated by a local quarry. And all the native dune plants – wormwood, grasses – are labelled.” This spring, the group is unveiling a new viewing platform it constructed for people with disabilities. “Our sunsets are renowned, of course,” says Ransom. “We want everyone to be able to see them.” That’s the kind of place Sauble is. “It’s a very friendly community,” she says, mentioning the wealth of activity on the beach – walking, kayaking, sandcastle building – and the fish suppers that “cottagers flock to.” And as for the Friends: “We’re a very cohesive, hardworking group, and we all feel passionately about this place.”
We were struck by the innovation of the Friends’ program and its impact on the Sauble community. We like that the group of mostly cottagers took on a project to preserve and improve a public resource not just for their benefit but also for that of the greater community. We all love beaches, but our use of them can threaten their ecosystem so it’s great that the Friends found ways to encourage people both to enjoy and respect the dunes.
Photo: Ian Brown
READERS DIGEST '07
The Editors of Reader's Digest write:
"For our 2nd annual Best of Canada special, we called on you to help us find great people, extraordinary places and unique things.
This beautiful 11-kilometre stretch of fine sand alongside crystal waters has been compared to the Mediterranean. But Sauble Beach, one of the world's longest freshwater beaches, is right here in Canada, at the foot of the Bruce Peninsula in southwestern Ontario. Flanked by endless dunes, Lake Huron's shallow waters here are a favourite of kids on hot summer days, and grown-ups are hooked on the spectacular sunsets."
Published summer, 2007
SHARING SUCCESSES '07
SHARING OUR SUCCESSES IN 2007
In 2007, Friends of Sauble Beach was again requested to share their experiences with a number of different organizations. We are always pleased to participate with other groups as it becomes a learning experience for us and we always come away from these meetings with new resources and contacts.
Highlights of our engagements so far this year:
• July 13th presentation by Peter Seibert and Ken Frook at a conference on Southern Georgian Bay's Coastal Environment, entitled "Caring for Our Beaches." The conference was held at Highlands Best Western in Midland. Our presentation was entitled "Sauble Beach Grassroots Stewardship." It focused on the journey of Friends of Sauble Beach which involved a group of committed citizens successfully carrying out environmental stewardship.
• July 27th meeting at Sauble Beach with a delegation from Central Elgin, led by Ron Richard. They were particularly interested in changes they would need to implement in acquiring Blue Flag status. Many positive comments were received about our conservation of the shoreline and sand dune ecosystems.
• In September, Peter Seibert traveled to the County of Huron and once again presented the accomplishments of our organization. He was well received.
• October 9th to 11th an International Conference on best practices and key issues at beaches around the world was held in Toronto at the Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. Peter Seibert and Ken Frook consented to present at two of the sessions. Over 180 delegates attended from all over the world and Friends of Sauble Beach was definitely very honored to be involved. The conference also celebrated Blue Flag's successes over the past 20 years, having grown and developed globally to involve 37 countries and has 3,200 beaches receiving Blue Flag status.
• Locally, Friends of Sauble Beach continues to highlight the importance of sharing our goals with the community. In this regard, Ken Frook is speaking to Oliphant residents on Saturday, November 10 and Peter Seibert is the guest speaker at Sauble and Area Men's Club on November 13.
• Friends of Sauble Beach will review their 2007 activities with the Town of South Bruce Penninsula at the town hall on Monday, November 19 at a Committee of the Whole Meeting. The time is 9:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. Of special significance, the Sauble Beach Management Plan which features the area north of the FSB Look Out and extending to the River will be presented. We are hoping to receive Council's support for the adoption of the Plan which will then allow us to apply for Blue Flag extension status and fundraising initiatives to support the recommendations.
Honorariums are frequently received for speaking engagements by Peter and Ken and in return they are donated to Friends of Sauble Beach. This year over $1,100.00 will have been received and this money has been earmarked to pay for a projector and a computer to assist with Power Point presentations.
TORONTO STAR '02
An Internet-based survey, conducted by The Toronto Star, readers chose Sauble Beach
as their favourite beach among 47 different beaches in Ontario.
Published on April 30, 2002.