current dam at outlet to Eels Lake
The remains of the original wooden dam built by the logging company in the first half of the 1900's is visible at low water. The dam was used to raise the water level in order to facilitate floating the logs dragged onto the banks of the lake to the dam, then the logs were fed in the spring rush down Eels Creek. The newer concrete dam in the background was later built to help regulate water levels in the Trent water system.

The way it used to be

     " They say that change is inevitable. Certainly, there have been many changes on Eels Lake over the years. People come and go, forests grow and are harvested or die, animals arrive and disappear and climate change seems to be an annual thing.
     "Last September my father and I went for hike near Heron Pond. It was one of those glorious, warm days, when the red and gold leaves seem to blaze in the afternoon sun. As we reached the top of a high rock face we could see the West Eels Lake Road laid out before us and miles of forest. As we took in the view, we discovered a small cairn of rocks with a cross set upon it a little to our left. There was an inscription that read:

Mom and Dad
Forever Young

     "We wondered what the story was behind that little cross. Who were these people that were loved and missed? How did that monument come to this particular place? . . . . . . . .

Heron Pond in fall, at Eels Lake area
Heron Pond in fall.

     . . . . . . . . "In the first half of the 20th century, Eels Lake and Eels Creek became a path by which the logs that were harvested from the original white pine and white cedar forests were sent to sawmills on Stony Lake and places further south. As the forests were cut down, the logging decreased and landowners began to move in. The first few places on Eels Lake were hunting and fishing camps. Apparently some famous canadians including newspaperman Greg Clark and singer Neil Young spent some time at ‘Nameless Lodge’ , one of the original camps!
     "With the development of highways during the fifties and the automobile becoming a way of life, cottaging became fashionable. The Marina was built during this time by the father of Bert Reynolds (of Watson’s Gas Bar in Apsley). The next owner, Reg Armstong, ran the Marina for over a quarter of a century. For a number of years it was the only access point for people to get to their cottages and Armstrong’s Marina was a bustling hub of activity. Today Eels Lake Cottages and Marina is still bustling with a general store, cottage rentals, boat & motor sales and service, and by serving the many needs of the current generation of Eels Lakers.
     "It is interesting to note that the connection between Eels Lake and Rice Lake that existed for the Mississauga natives, still exists today for Eels Lake Cottages and Marina. Highland View (our sister resort) is located on the north shore of Rice Lake between the Hiawatha First Nations Reserve and Serpent Mounds Provincial Park (another sacred site for native people). I know that the story of Eels Lake will go on long after all the present day cottagers are replaced by future generations. I sometimes wonder though, how the paragraph or chapter covering this current era will read! See you in the spring, Carolyn."

(excerpted from ELCM Newletter Spring 2002)

Remains of old homestead near Eels Creek
Remains of old homestead beside the Creek.
To encourage settlement the government literally gave away land on condition it was cleared in a specified time and a home built. However the land was generally too rocky and sandy for successful farms and with the coming of cottaging, most farming was abandoned.

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