Little can stand in the way of determined people

The campaign to secure Willisville Mountain from Sudbury’s smelting furnaces is well underway and fundraising efforts are fast closing in on the goal thanks to the determined efforts of a group of very diverse people whose hearts have been captured by the iconic vistas that have been immortalized in the works of countless artists, including Canada’s famed Group of Seven.

It has been estimated that the cost of purchasing the property for a land trust aimed at keeping the mountain intact will come in just shy of $200,000, and an online fundraising site has secured $55,000 of that goal, supplemented by many cheques and cash donations coming in by snail mail. This is a laudable cause that has an important impact on our entire region and is well worth consideration for a donation or gift in the name of that loved one who is so hard to buy for.

The campaign to save Willisville Mountain came about when ordinary folk out and about for a hike noticed surveying taking place in the area and, upon further exploration, they discovered that the mountain was part of a quarrying licence. It seems the minerals which make up the mountain act well as a flux in the smelting of nickel and other valuable metals. The mountain’s owner is mining giant Vale, whose purchase of the former INCO included the company with the rights to quarry that stone from the area.

Thanks to a concerted effort by a small group of people, and the thankfully receptive ears of an international corporate giant, Willisville Mountain was removed from Vale’s quarrying licence.

This is one example, of which there are many, where a small but determined band of like-minded people can come together to make a tremendously important impact on the larger world around them. There are many other examples where volunteers weld their passion to a cause that has benefit on each and every one of us, not the least of which is the ongoing work on the Cup and Saucer and Misery Bay Park here on Manitoulin

Many of these volunteers are people who make their summer residence in our region. Perhaps a multi-generational camp owner from McGregor Bay or the Bay of Islands, or someone who simply happened upon our blessed Island in their travels and became enthralled with its stunning natural beauty. Each coming together with those whose ancestors settled in this region, or upon whose traditional territories these natural gems are to be found.

So much of our world is caught up in the pursuit of economic advancement. Like Mordeci Richler’s Duddy Kravitz, too often we gaze upon breathtaking beauty and see its potential in dollar signs, and end up destroying that which originally captured our heart’s eye.

As we look outward in a world that seems intent on reducing everything to a zero-sum game of trade wars and when all about us there seems to be only businesses engaged in a tragic game of brinksmanship against Mother Nature herself, it is immensely gratifying to know that there are many here among us whose eyes can see the majesty of the beauty that stands before us and whose passion leads them to preserve that majesty and beauty for eyes yet unborn.

To those passionate volunteers whose efforts are aimed at making ours a better world and to preserve our natural wonders for posterity it can never be said enough: thank you.