28 January 2018 – Celebrate the Winter Blues Moonlight Snowshoe Event

The Blue Moon sailed among the drifting clouds and lit our way over the forest trail.  About twenty people donned snowshoes and crampons to trek a packed snow trail on a mild night at the Carp EcoWellness Centre.  Thank you to our host, Katherine, and to our volunteers for the après snowshoe hot chocolate and goodies.  

January 2018 – What We Accomplished in 2017

If you review our Facebook postings from 2017, the words “wet”, “rain”, flooded trail”, and “bugs” are the recurring themes!  2017 was a record year for precipitation, keeping many off the trail all summer and delaying our trail work until the fall, when we finally experienced warm and somewhat drier conditions. 

In 2018 there is more work to do on the trail.   We will also continue to work on conservation activities, and on learning about the ecology and history of the Carp Hills.

Here’s what we and our dedicated volunteers accomplished in 2017:

  • We ran a popular evening snowshoe event in February, which was enjoyed by 60 people from as far away as Crysler and Carleton Place.
  • We held our fourth public meeting in March 2017. Over 35 people attended, including Councillor El-Chantiry.
  • In April we ran a nature photography course, generously offered by Allan Joyner.
  • With grant funding from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, we added directional trail signs in May and we expanded the boardwalks in wet areas in October on the Crazy Horse Trail.
  • Botanist Colin Chapman identified rare plants in a fen near the Crazy Horse Trail, including a regionally significant cotton grass that, within Ottawa, had only been found at Mer Bleu.
  • In Carp we hosted the Ontario East Nature Network and took the members on a fall hike in the Hills.
  • Suzanne Monnon led a guided walk about mushrooms in the beautiful woodlands of the Carp EcoWellness Centre.
  • Lichenologist Dr. Troy McMullin checked out the Crazy Horse Trail in November to look for two uncommon lichens and to lend his expertise to identifying some of the lichens on the trail.
  • In partnership with the Ottawa Stewardship Council, we sponsored a project for third year Environmental Science students at Carleton University for a study on human use of the Carp Barrens.
  • Judy Makin and Maureen Rae started interviewing “old timers” about what they can remember about the Carp Hills.
  • We continued an outreach to interested landowners to discuss conservation of their properties. Our partners for this initiative are Ducks Unlimited Canada and Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust.
  • Our Facebook group grew to 330 members at the end of 2017.
  • We sent out 4 newsletters during the year to a subscriber base that had grown to over 240 by the end of 2017.
  • We continued to document the flora and fauna of the Carp Hills using iNaturalist.

26 November 2017 – “Lichen” the Hills

Lichenologist Dr. Troy McMullin checked out the Crazy Horse Trail yesterday to look for two uncommon lichens and to lend his expertise to identifying some of the lichens on the trail. Troy is a research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and co-author of the book “Common Lichens of Northeastern North America.” In the photo he is showing us Maple Dust, Lecanora thysanophora.


13 October 2017 – New Boardwalks

Finally!  The drier weather allowed us to get out and work on the Crazy Horse Trail, clearing overgrown areas and adding two new boardwalks to cross wet areas:  one near the trailhead on the approach to the existing boardwalk and one along the final stretch of the road allowance.  As you can from the photo, it’s wet work!  Board member Brian is a dedicated volunteer and we hope he helps out in 2018, because more trail work is needed.


1 October 2017 – ‘Schrooming in the Hills

Fall is a great time to look for mushrooms.  We are holding a guided nature hike about Mushrooms in the Carp Hills on Sunday, 1 October, starting at 1:30pm, on the 4 km trail at the Carp EcoWellness Centre.  Our guide will be Suzanne Monnon, who has been an avid amateur mycologist for many years. She will share her knowledge and enthusiasm in a way that will intrigue adults and children alike and open their eyes to the wonders of the mushroom world.  The guided portion of the hike is expected to last about two hours.Those wishing to then complete the rugged trail loop can do so.   

This is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Carp Hills, so we are requesting a donation of $10 per person (children 16 and under are free).

The Carp EcoWellness Centre is located at 2386 Thomas Dolan Parkway.  Our hosts have generously opened their property to the public for this hike.  Last year botanist Dr. Ted Mosquin walked this property in the fall and was thrilled to find many mushroom species.  Such bio-diversity is an indicator of a healthy and undisturbed forest ecosystem.

Please arrive between 1:00pm and 1:20pm.  You must register and sign a waiver when you arrive.  There is no-preregistration required for this event, but if you’d like to print and fill-out the waiver ahead of time to speed things up, you can download the Waiver here.

Wear hiking boots, suitable clothing, and tuck your pants into your socks.  There may be ticks on the property.  You can bring a knife and small magnifier if you want to examine the mushrooms we will find.

The event will run rain or shine, unless it is really pouring. Mushrooms like rain!

30 September 2017 – We’re Hosting the Ontario East Nature Network in Carp

The Friends of the Carp Hills is hosting the next meeting of the Ontario East Nature Network in Carp on Saturday, 30 September.   We are members of the Nature Network, a group of more than 150 conservation and nature organisations who are members of Ontario Nature, a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members from across Ontario. We are pleased to host the Ontario East meeting and to introduce other nature organizations to our great community and, in particular, to our natural treasure of the Carp Hills.  By introducing like-minded organizations to the Carp Hills, we intend to develop provincial allies in our work to preserve the Hills.

July 2017 – Flooded Trail

It has been a record spring and summer for rainfall.  In one eleven day period in late June/early July, 7.5 inches (190mm) of rain fell in Carp.  On 24 July we had 1.5 inches (39 mm) in less than 24 hours.  All this rain has made the Crazy Horse Trail extraordinarily wet to the point of impassable, especially on the access along the snowmobile trail.  We planned to install a boardwalk on the south side of this section, but it’s been too wet for us to do the work.  Let’s hope for some drier weather in August!

12 May 2017 – New Signs Installed on the Crazy Horse Trail

We installed new directional identification signs on the Crazy Horse Trail to help hikers orient themselves on the trail, especially at intersections with loops.  We added the signs in response to comments from those unfamiliar with the trail who found it difficult to determine how to return to the trailhead.  We also posted tick warning signs.


May 2017 – Spring is Tick Season

Photo: Oxford Veterinary Hospital

The Carp Hills host a healthy population of blacklegged ticks, which are the species that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.  We had the University of Guelph drag a Carp Hills property for blacklegged ticks in the fall of 2016 as part of a research project about Lyme disease.  450 larva, 103 adults, and 3 nymphs were collected.  The 106 adults and nymphs were sent to the lab in Winnipeg.  Of these 53% tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.  The property is accessed from Saddlebrook Estates, right in the middle of the Hills between March Road and Thomas Dolan Parkway.  However, it’s likely that this level of infection is typical for the rest of the Hills and this area. Check out Ottawa Public Health’s web page about how to minimize your exposure to ticks.  Read our Ticked Off in the Carp Hills for more information.

29 April 2017 – Outdoor Photography Workshop

How to Get the Photos You Want – Saturday, 29 April, 9am to 4pm, $100 per person

Photo and Copyright by Allan Joyner

You’re on the Crazy Horse Trail and want to capture the brilliant colours of the autumn leaves reflecting in the beaver pond or the white freshness of newly fallen snow backlit by a winter’s sun.  You eagerly download your photos to your computer only to find that the colours are washed out, the snow scene is over-exposed, and the composition is uninspiring.

The Friends of the Carp Hills, in partnership with Carp-based professional photographer Allan Joyner, are offering a photography workshop for people who would like to improve their outdoor photography skills.  Proceeds will be shared with Friends of the Carp Hills.

28 March 2017 – Annual General Meeting and Public Briefing

We’re holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, 28 March at 7pm at the Carp Memorial Hall, 3739 Carp Road.  It will be followed at approximately 7:30pm by our fourth public briefing where we’ll talk about our activities and plans for 2017+.  We welcome the community to the AGM, but only members in good standing can vote on the budget and the slate of directors. 

Join us to find out what’s happening, provide feedback, and find out how you can help.  As a community organization we rely on your support and involvement.

11 February 2017 – 60 People Enjoyed Our Night Time Snowshoe Event

Wow!  Sixty people from Ottawa, Almonte, Renfrew, Carleton Place, Crysler, Kanata, and the Carp area came out to enjoy snowshoeing on a beautiful winter’s night in the Carp Hills.  Although the moon did not make an appearance, the ambient light reflected from the snow and the clouds lit our way up rocky slopes and through the White Pine forest on the beautiful 50 acre private property near the village.  We enjoyed the view over the Carp River valley from two lookouts, and then wound our way down the hill, returning to share hot mulled cider, hot chocolate, cookies, and good company.  We’ll have to do this again next year!

January 2017 – What We Accomplished in 2016

Alarmed by the expanding urban boundary and the threat this posed to preserving both the wild areas and public recreational use of the Carp Hills, we formed the Friends of the Carp Hills in late 2013.  Because of you – volunteers, donors, the community, and local businesses – we have a new trail on public land, a strong volunteer base, a partnership with a local land trust and with a national organization, an active Facebook page of engaged citizens, and 212 subscribers to our newsletter. Thank you for caring about the Carp Hills.

There is more work to do on the trail in 2017, but we also plan to spend more of our time on conservation activities and on learning about the ecology and history of the Carp Hills.

Here’s what we and our fellow volunteers accomplished in 2016:

  • We changed our name to the Friends of the Carp Hills to better reflect the area we are committed to protecting.
  • We opened the organization to public membership.  For a small fee, members can support our work and participate in how we run the organization.
  • We held our third public meeting in March 2016. About 50 people attended, including Councillor El-Chantiry.
  • We ran two sold out ecological and geological tours along the Crazy Horse Trail in May.
  • With grant funding from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, we enhanced the Crazy Horse Trail experience by adding a boardwalk across a wet area, building a bridge across a channel, adding trail markers, opening new side trails, and installing a trailhead sign. We published new trail maps.
  • We logged 177 volunteer hours of physical work on the trail.
  • We held the official opening of the Crazy Horse Trail in October with the unveiling of the trailhead sign and led a guided hike through the rain with dedicated hikers.
  • We completed two interpretive guides for the Crazy Horse Trail – a detailed version and an abridged version – which are available for download from our web site.
  • We began an outreach to interested landowners to discuss conservation of their properties. Our partners for this initiative are the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
  • Our Facebook group grew to 256 members at the end of 2016.
  • We sent out 4 newsletters during the year to a subscriber base that had grown to 212 by the end of 2016.
  • We held an open house for Hidden Lake residents in February.
  • We began documenting the flora and fauna of the Carp Hills using iNaturalist.

December 2016 – Year End Charitable Donations

If you’re thinking of making a year-end charitable donation and want to contribute to land preservation in the Carp Hills, you can make a donation in cash, cheque, credit or debit card, PayPal) or securities to the Carp Hills Opportunity Fund.  This is a charitable fund administered for the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust by the Community Foundation of Ottawa.  MMLT uses the funds for costs directly linked to the acquisition or donation of land or to the establishment of conservation easements in the Carp Hills. A receipt for tax purposes will be issued. For more information please see Carp Hills Opportunity Fund, where you can make a donation on-line.

Crazy Horse Trail Beaver Pond - photo by Anne Chapman Wong

10 November 2016 – Trailhead Sign Installation Completed

img_1148We completed installation of the Crazy Horse Trail sign at the trailhead on March Road.  We were waiting on our contractor to install the posts.  The sign conforms to City of Ottawa standards and was funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa.  We have more work planned for the trail next year to deal with wet areas beside the road allowance and to add some interpretive signs.  Thank you to Bernard and Brian for completing the installation.

16 October 2016 – Trailhead Sign Ceremony & Group Hike

bernard-and-eliWe unveiled the Crazy Horse trailhead sign and held a short ceremony to thank all those who have contributed to improvements of the trail:  the volunteers, the Community Foundation of Ottawa (funding), Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (charitable partner), Councillor Eli El-Chantiry (pictured at the left with Bernard, our trail coordinator), and Deka Home Building in Carp.  It takes a community to build a 200 foot boardwalk and a bridge, put up trail markers, clear new trails, and develop a trailhead sign.  Thank you!

some-intrepid-hikersDespite the rain, intrepid hikers set out on the trail and completed either the shorter side loops or the longer main trail and loop around the beaver pond.  The rain-washed autumn colours were brilliant!

4 October 2016 – Bridge Completed

img_1092Volunteers have completed the bridge across the beaver pond channel.  With thanks to a private landowner in Westwood Estates, we had a “short cut” across his property to haul in the lumber out to the site.  This was still a significant distance, so thank you to the strong armed volunteers for helping with this physically demanding work.



1 October 2016 – Trail Clearing

bernard-with-trimmerMaintenance of the Crazy Horse Trail and side loops started last weekend with routine cutting back of summer growth.  We also started major work on clearing a new section of trail to the south of and parallel to the road allowance, which is frequently flooded.  Most of this area is on higher ground, but it will still require some bridging over low areas, which will be possible without interfering with the snowmobiles.

September 2016 – Volunteers Needed For Trail Maintenance

Message from Bernard, Trail Coordinator:  “The hot and dry weather we have had over the summer was good for the trail.  People have been using the main trail, which means that it is well worn and relatively free from overgrowth.  That said, the two new loops need some work as they have seen less traffic.  There are a couple of sections on those trails that show lots of overgrowth, but nothing that can’t easily be fixed with some loppers and cutters.”

This fall five days have been scheduled for trail maintenance: four for clearing and one for building a bridge that connects a channel by the large beaver pond.  Please see our Facebook page for dates.  If you’d like to volunteer, but haven’t received an email, please contact us.

August 2016 – New Side Loops Added to Crazy Horse Trail

IMG_1108We’ve marked two new side loops with scenic lookouts on the Crazy Horse Trail.  A few hundred meters after you leave the snowmobile road allowance and enter the main trail, look for yellow trail markers on your left.  One side loop takes you beside a grassy wetland and around a small pond.  The other takes you over rock barrens and through a pine forest.  Look for blue trail markers and lookout signs for scenic views.  We’ve also published a new trail map and an abridged interpretive guide to help you enjoy the new additions to the trail.

8 June 2016 – Trail Boardwalk Completed!


We have completed construction of the 200 foot boardwalk through a wet area of the Crazy Horse Trail.  The boardwalk will keep people on the trail and prevent the creation of ever-widening circles by hikers seeking drier ground. There is still more work to do bridging other wet areas on the trail, but this was the longest span. Funding was provided by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa. Lumber at an excellent price was provided by Deka Home Building Centre in Carp.

Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped with the construction, and especially Bernard and Brian.

4 June 2016 – Trail Boardwalk Construction Underway

BridgeThe dry weather allowed us to begin construction of the 200 foot boardwalk over the small  creek and wet area near the beginning of the trail.  Planned with military precision by our trail coordinator Bernard, the project unfolded with pre-cut lumber and delivered boards being assembled and placed on site.


DekaThank you to Deka Home Building Centre in Carp for helping with the cost of the lumber.  Your support is appreciated!!!

This project has been made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa and by our dedicated volunteers.


7 May 2016 – Crazy Horse Nature Tours Enjoyed By All

Over fifty participants attended our two guided tours on the Crazy Horse Trail to learn more about the natural history of the Carp Hills and how this affects the terrain and the plants that inhabit the forest, uplands, and wetlands.  We learned that the composition of the underlying bedrock determines what type of plants like to grow on it.  The trail offers a stark contrast between calcareous (lime) loving forest plants at its beginning and plants that tolerate acid, poor soils as the bedrock changes abruptly from marble to mainly monzonite and gneiss.

More information about the trail’s natural history and ecology is available in our interpretive guide, which we revise in an ongoing basis as we learn more about this special area of the Canadian Shield, unique within the City of Ottawa.

Owen and ButternutThank you to Owen Clarkin for donating his time and sharing his extensive knowledge of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.



John and FoliationThank you to John McEwen for donating his time and expertise, and telling us about the turbulent history of the Carp Hills, whose rocks began their formation between 1.6 and 1.3 billion years ago.



23 March 2016 – Public Meeting at the Carp Memorial Hall

CH Trail PlansWe held our third annual public meeting to a turnout of about 46 people.  There was a lot of interest in our plans for expanding the Crazy Horse Trail and about the events we’re planning for 2016.  We provided an update on the land preservation initiative we’re working on with Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited Canada and presented a vision for Carp that connects and celebrates the village’s human and natural heritage.  We also showed the screen premiere of the Carp Hills Aerial Video!

Thank you to the following Carp businesses for supporting us by providing door prizes:

March 2016 – New Name, Same Vision

After much debate and community feedback, we’ve changed our name to one more readily associated with the special and unique area we’re dedicated to preserving:  Friends of the Carp Hills.  Over the next month we’ll be switching over our web site (to carp hills.com), our email, and our social media.

We started this group just over two years ago to address the expanding urban boundary and the threat this posed to preserving both the wild areas and public recreational use of the Carp Hills. Because of you – volunteers, donors, the community, and local businesses – we have a new trail on public land, a partnership with a local land trust, an active Facebook page of engaged citizens, and over 160 subscribers to our newsletter.  Thank you for caring about the Carp Hills.

January 2016 – What We Accomplished in 2015

We had another busy year culminating in the opening of the Crazy Horse Trail in November.  Thank you to all of the volunteers, donors, and businesses who supported us.

  • We held our second public meeting in March 2015.  Over 50 people attended, including Councillor El-Chantiry. Two directors from the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust were present to answer questions about how landowners can help preserve the Carp Hills through land donations and conservation easements.
  • We opened the Crazy Horse Trail in November and held a guided hike.  Volunteers helped us clear and mark the trail, donating many hours over many weekends in the summer and fall.
  • We ran a sold out ecological tour of the Carp Barrens in May.
  • We held the Celebrate the Hills event in September that engaged artists and businesses in the community.  Despite the torrential rain, over 50 people came out to view the exhibits and take a guided nature tour by Dr. Owen Clarkin.
  • The Community Foundation of Ottawa awarded us a grant to build a boardwalk and install trail signs on the Crazy Horse Trail.  Our charity partner is the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT).
  • We partnered with Ducks Unlimited Canada and MMLT to plan the Carp Hills Campaign for land conservation.
  • Carp businesses donated time to create an aerial video of the Carp Hills.
  • We began the development of an ecological interpretive guide to the Crazy Horse Trail.
  • We submitted comments to the Province as part of their wetland policy review.
  • Our Facebook group grew to over 180 members at the end of 2015.
  • We sent out 5 newsletters to a subscriber base of 166 at the end of 2015.
  • We held an open house for Westwood residents in November.

19 December 2015 – Up in the Air and Over the Hills!

The Carp Hills are designated a wetland complex because they support a large number of interconnected Provincially Significant Wetlands. You can see this on Google Earth’s satellite maps, but we wanted a viewpoint closer to human dimensions.  In preparing to launch a campaign next year with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, we knew we needed aerial footage.  Thanks to DUC and Jules Selwan, a plane was flown over the Carp Hills on a sunlit day in early December with Allan Joyner aboard to get the aerial panoramas we wanted.  We’ve uploaded some of the photos to our photo gallery.

We’d like to thank Allan Joyner at AJP Productions for donating his time and expertise in taking the video and photos. We’d also like to thank Jules Selwan, owner of the International Pilot Academy at the Carp Airport, for donating pilot time. And thank you to Ducks Unlimited Canada for funding the plane time.
DU7982 NNE over SW Carp Vill

11 December 2015 – Trail Grant Successful!

IMG_4261The Community Foundation of Ottawa has approved our grant application for funds to develop the Crazy Horse Trail.  The grant will allow us to build a 200 foot boardwalk across a wet area, design and install a trailhead sign, and purchase trail markers and other signage.  The grant only covers materials so we’ll be looking for help from volunteers in the spring to build and install the boardwalk!

We submitted the grant jointly with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) as our charitable organization partner.  MMLT has established a Carp Hills Opportunity Fund (CHOF) for preserving land in the Carp Hills.  This fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Ottawa on behalf of MMLT and qualifies for a charitable tax receipt. You can donate to the CHOF by clicking on this link and selecting the Carp Hills Opportunity Fund from the drop down menu under Option 2.


25 November – Preserve  Connect  Enjoy

Check out the article about the Carp Hills in Stittsville Central:  PRESERVE, CONNECT, ENJOY: MEET THE FRIENDS OF THE HUNTLEY HIGHLANDS

21 November – Crazy Horse Trail Event

Trail with MarkerThanks to volunteers, the Crazy Horse Trail is now cleared, marked, and ready for hikers.

Information about the trail, including a trail guide with a map, is available on our Crazy Horse Trail web page.

About 25 people and 2 dogs came out to our inaugural hike event led by our trail coordinator.  The full 7 km with loop around the pond was travelled in 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace.

We still need to buy more trail markers so we can remove the orange flags and ribbons.  If you’d like to donate to the trail, you can do so via our PayPal account.

October 2015 – Ontario Wetland Policy

We have submitted our comments on the province’s current wetland policy as outlined in their discussion paper:  Wetland Conservation in Ontario, EBR 012-4464.   The province intends to develop “a Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands that will identify a provincial vision, goals and objectives for wetlands in Ontario and set out a series of actions that the government will undertake over the next 10 to 15 years to improve wetland conservation across the province.”  They are seeking public feedback on current policies.

IMG_3894The Carp Hills consist of a network of evaluated Provincially Significant Wetlands and are designated a “wetland complex” by the City of Ottawa.

Wetlands clean our water for drinking and recreation by filtering pollutants.  They hold water in times of excess, thus reducing flooding, and release water during drought. They provide habitat to many plant and animal species and sequester carbon.

We believe that current policies are inadequate for protecting wetlands.  Specifically, our wetlands are not protected by fragmented regulations and insufficient resources for data gathering, monitoring, and enforcement.  There needs to be a “net gain” in wetlands rather than a “no net loss” policy.  Landowners who preserve their wetlands should be compensated for their stewardship and the public should be better educated about the value of wetlands.

To read more detail on our comments, please click FHH Comments on Ontario Wetland Policy.

Trail Clearing

Our trail coordinator, Bernard, has set the following dates for trail clearing:

Oct, 3, 18, 24, 25 and 31
Nov, 7,8,14 and 21

We will be looking for no more than 6 people per date.
If you’ve already contacted us, then Bernard will be in touch with you directly, and no need to respond. Otherwise, if you’d like to help, then please contact us via our email on the web site.

We have submitted a grant application for boardwalk material, trail markers, and a trailhead sign for spring installation.  Stay tuned!

Celebrate the Hills Event

IMG_4474The rain did not dampen our spirits or prevent the many intrepid people from coming out to Celebrate the Hills on the forested Canadian Shield property located on the edge of Carp. Owen Clarkin led two, well-attended 1 hour nature tours, art was exhibited and sold, and dogs enjoyed all the new smells.

IMG_4482We’d like to thank our volunteers and exhibitors, especially artists Aleta Karstad and Graham Mastersmith, for braving the elements and risking their artwork in the rain.  Carp Pizza deserves special mention for setting up a generator and a hot pizza box to keep us all fed with delicious hot pizza.  Thanks to Owen for leading two tours, for which he was richly rewarded by finding a Slippery Elm on the property!  And thanks to Judy Makin, who made it all happen!

For more photos, please see our FHH Facebook page.

Here is a list of our generous sponsors:

The Landowner, who opened his property to the public for this day only.
Bolivar Philips
Scotiabank in Carp
Carp Pizza (under new ownership!)
Alice’s Village Café
Nick Pope (Pianos in the Park)
Andy Oswald – Royal Lepage Gale Real Estate
Eric and Christine Brackenbury – Jewellers
Deka Home Building Centre
Carp Bakery
Pizza Workz
Faith’s Foodliner
Sweet Potato Fries
Chang Thai Kitchen
West Carleton Drug Mart
Carp Garden Centre – donated trees
Martha Fraser – Signage
Carp BIA – West Carleton War Memorial

Celebrate the Hills – Sunday, 13 September, 10:30am to 3:30pm


Photo by Allan Joyner

Photo by Allan Joyner

Join us in “Celebrating the Hills”, a public event on a 50-acre private property in the Carp Hills near the village of Carp. Surrounded by an old forest with rocky outcrops of rugged Canadian Shield, participants can enjoy many activities, explore nature trails, and climb to an exceptional view overlooking the Carp River valley.  An art show and sale, guided and self-guided nature walks, music, refreshments, and children’s activities are planned.

Autumn Splendour at the Carp Farmer’s Market on September 5th


Beth Mlacak and Judy Makin set up our booth at the Carp Farmer’s Market to show off the beautiful painting, Autumn Splendour, by Beth’s late husband, John Mlacak.

The painting is being auctioned online as a fundraiser for the Friends of Huntley Highlands. The auction runs from September 5 to September 14.

Information on how to bid is provided at Silent Auction Details.

Engineer, Reeve of March Township, and celebrated artist, John Mlacak loved to paint the Canadian Shield en plein air, and his landscapes are known for their brilliant, bold colours. Autumn Splendour is an original oil painting that depicts one of John’s favourite subjects: the countryside of March and Huntley Townships, which contain the Carp Hills.

July 2015 – Celebrate the Hills – Call For Artists

Photo by Allan Joyner

Photo by Allan Joyner

If you’re an area artist – painting, sculpture, photography, other media – and inspired by nature, we want to hear from you!

We will be inviting the community to “Celebrate the Hills”, a public event on a 50-acre private property in the Carp Hills where people can discover the natural beauty Ottawa’s own rugged Canadian Shield.  The event is being held on Sunday, 13 September, from 10:30am to 3:30pm.

Surrounded by an old forest with rocky outcrops, participants can enjoy many activities, view works by local artists, explore nature trails, and climb to an exceptional view overlooking the Carp River valley.  In addition to the art show and sale, guided and self-guided nature walks, a refreshment area, and children’s activities are planned.

Just as the iconic Canadian Shield landscape inspired the Group of Seven, artists are being offered a “Plein Air” day on Monday August 17th to visit the site and work on their art.

For more information about the event and how to apply, please download the Application Form (PDF) and follow its instructions for submission.

Carp Barrens Ecological Tour – 9 May – SOLD OUT

Carp BarrensThe Carp Barrens is a sparsely vegetated outcrop of Canadian Shield dotted with small ponds. In the spring it explodes with wildflowers and green mosses, sedges, and lichens.  Join us in a guided tour by Dr. Owen Clarkin to learn more about the special ecology of this extraordinary area.  Space will be limited.

To learn more and register for the event, see Carp Barrens Ecological Tour.

Join our Facebook group for information leading up to the event.

Public Meeting – 11 March

11Mar15 Public Brief Final

Thank you to everyone who came out to our public meeting on 11 March at the Carp Memorial Hall (click on slides to download a copy of the presentation).  About 50 people attended the presentation and following discussion.  Members of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust were on hand to answer questions about land donations and conservation easements.  We introduced our trail coordinator, Bernard Proulx, and provided information on the Crazy Horse Trail and upcoming events:  Carp Barrens Tour (9 May) by Owen Clarkin and Art in the Hills (13 September).

We are looking for volunteers to help with coordinating the events and to serve on the executive.  Contact us if you’re interested.

Thank you to all the local businesses who contributed door prizes:  Alice’s Café, The Swan, Deka Home Hardware, The Carp Bakery, Faith’s Foodliner, and the West Carleton Drug Mart.

The West Carleton Review published an article by Jessica Cunha about the meeting in the 19 March edition:  Interest High in Preserving the Carp Hills.

Read the West Carleton Review Article

Huntley Highlands Group Partners with Land Trust, by Jessica Cunha, in the 5 March edition.

January 2015 – What We Accomplished in 2014

We have a major new initiative to announce and many activities planned for 2015, which we will be publicizing in the weeks to come.  Looking back to our inaugural year of 2014, we reached out to the community and began to a build an organization.  Here’s a list of what we accomplished in 2014:

  • We held a public meeting in March 2014.  Over 80 people attended and voiced their concerns and ideas.
  • We developed a Manifesto from the community feedback, which includes three key actions that guide our activities.
  • To raise awareness we created a video with comments from people in the community about what the Carp Hills mean to them.  Thank you to our producer, Oliver Brackenbury.
  • We started a newsletter, which now has over 100 subscribers.
  • The Mountain Equipment Coop ran a bike race in West Carleton/Lanark that raised awareness and funds.
  • We forged a partnership with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust for land conservation – more about this in 2015.
  • We began work on developing the “Crazy Horse” trail – more about this 2015.
  • We held the Carp Hills’ Biggest Tree Contest to encourage landowners and recreational enthusiasts in the Hills to take a real look at the nature around them.   The winner will be announced in a few weeks.

December 2014 – 13 Biggest Tree Contest Entries

The Carp Hills Biggest Tree Contest is now closed.  Thirteen trees with arboreal brawn were submitted for the championship title of Biggest Tree:  6 sugar maples, 2 red oaks, 3 bur oaks, 1 basswood, and 1 elm.  We’ve measured the top 5 entries (largest diameters) and will be publishing the results early in the new year.

Check out photos of the contest entries on our Biggest Tree web page.  Read the article in the 19 February edition of the West Carleton Review by Jessica Cunha:  Towering Red Oak Takes Title of Biggest Tree.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to send us photos and submit their trees.

7 November 2014 – The Beaver, A Canadian Icon: Pest or Eco-hero?

Photo by Michael Runtz

On Friday, November 7th, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) will hold its Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction at the Almonte Civitan Club Community Hall in Almonte. Michael Runtz is the honoured guest speaker.  The event also features a Benefit Auction offering a wide range of useful and uniquely interesting items, with proceeds going to help support the important work of the Land Trust.

18 October 2014 – Geoheritage Day Tour of South March Highlands

Carleton University’s Department of Earth Sciences is running a set of geological tours across the Ottawa area on Saturday, 18 October. One site is the South March Highlands, which is the southern expression of the geological feature that forms the Carp Hills. See the Explore Geoheritage Day web site for details.

14 September 2014 – MEC Bike Ride Benefits the Carp Hills

MEC Fund RaiserOver 200 cyclists participated in the first Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Century Ride held on Sunday, 14 September.  The event benefited the Friends of Huntley Highlands and the Friends of the Carp River to support the preservation of natural areas in Carp for conservation, recreation, and the mutual benefit of human and wildlife communities.

With the start/finish situated in Carp at the WE Johnston Arena, cyclists enjoyed a ride through the beautiful countryside of West Carleton and Lanark County and finished with a BBQ lunch at Alice’s Village Cafe afterward.

Thank you to MECAlice’s Village CafeBeau’s All Natural Brewing Co., and VRTUCAR for their generous support for this event.


21 August 2014 – “Caring About the Carp Hills” Article Published

The West Carleton Review published an excellent article on the “I Care About the Carp Hills” video written and produced by Oliver Brackenbury.  The article, Caring About the Carp Hills, was published in the 21 August edition and written by Jessica Cunha.  It highlights how recent development on the edge of the Hills spurred Oliver to create a short film that would capture peoples’ attention and raise awareness about the threat of adjacent development and population growth on this beautiful natural area.

9 July 2014 – Carp Hills Video Released

We have released a short, professionally made video, “I Care About the Carp Hills”, to raise awareness about what makes the area special and how changes may be threatening it.

The video was produced and directed by Oliver Brackenbury. Currently a writer and filmmaker living in downtown Toronto, Oliver grew up in Carp not five minutes walk from Hidden Lake before it was developed. He has never forgotten his many formative experiences in the Carp Hills. Starting with his kindergarten class trip to Hidden Lake where he saw his first beaver, Oliver benefited greatly from access to such a wealth of nature’s beauty. His affection for the land and desire to see others benefit as he has drew him back to Carp earlier this year to offer his skills pro bono in the production of a short promotional video for the Friends of Huntley Highlands.

“I couldn’t agree more strongly with the group’s goal to protect this area from irresponsible use”, states Oliver. If we lose the Carp Hills there’ll be no getting it back. It might happen in dribs and drabs of unmanaged change, all the easier to forget about or ignore, but the result will be the same. I sincerely hope citizens of the surrounding area will be inspired to lend a hand as well. They needn’t be a specialist like myself; there are several ways in which anybody at all can volunteer their time to help.”

The video is a powerful tool for raising awareness about how special the Carp Hills are and about our action plan for preserving them. We are fortunate that a talented professional like Oliver volunteered to make the video, because a high quality product has more impact.

10 April 2014Our Manifesto

We held a meeting with the community on 5 March.  We listened.  The result is declaration of our organization’s motivations and intentions.

10 April 2014South March Highlands and Carp Hills Geoheritage Event – One Billion Years in One Day – Second date scheduled due to overwhelming response

Sunday, June 1st 2014
Presentation: 1:00 PM Doors Open |  1:30 PM Start Time
Location: 359 Terry Fox Drive, Suite 210
Field Trip: 3:15 PM
Location: South March Highlands Trailhead  (Old Second Line Rd., near Klondike)
Cost: FREE!
For more information go to: www.ottawagatineaugeoheritage.ca

To register go to: www.eventbrite.com (search for the event name)
*** Please note: if you have already registered for the April 27th event, we kindly request to please attend on that day.  Thank you! ***

Everyone is invited to join Dr. Allan DONALDSON and Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage for an exciting geological trip through time!  We will begin with a lively interactive presentation to provide an overview of impressive geological features within the National Capital Region, emphasizing those within the South March-Carp Hills region. Rock specimens and poster displays will be available to allow attendees to become acquainted with features mentioned in the talk. If the weather is suitable, this educational exchange will be followed by a fun and informative to view several nearby rock exposures within the stunning South March Highlands.  For more information: www.ottawagatineaugeoheritage.ca or contact Ann at arocks2002@hotmail.com.

Explore the geology within the South March Highlands and Carp Hills!
Discover why these rocks have revolutionized our understanding of our geological history!
Learn to read the rocks in your neighbourhood!

10 March 2014 – Thank you to everyone who came out to the meeting last Wednesday.  We are reviewing all the comments and will be contacting those who expressed interest in helping with various activities.  Please see the Contact Us page for volunteer opportunities.

12 Febrary 2014 – Send us your photos of the Highlands. Tell us your name and where and when you took the photo and if there’s a story behind it. We’ll post this information on our Photos page.