About Friends of the Carp Hills

Vision: To preserve the Carp Hills for the benefit of nature and the community in perpetuity. Mission: To forge a partnership of private landowners, community groups, local residents, organizations, businesses, the City of Ottawa, and other levels of government working together to create an eco-connected area of wilderness conservation and public access in the Carp Hills.

Carp Barrens Public Meeting

The Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH) invites you to a public meeting at the Huntley Community Centre Mess Hall at 2240 Craig Side Road, on 11 June at 7 p.m. to share your views on the conservation and use of the Carp Barrens on land owned by the City of Ottawa. Councillor El-Chantiry and City staff will be on hand to participate and answer questions.

The FCH has an agreement with the City of Ottawa to maintain low-impact recreation trails for public use in the Carp Hills.  The FCH has offered to host the meeting in this capacity and as a community organization and will publicly post feedback from the meeting on its website.

In the last two years, public use of the Carp Barrens for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, dirt biking, birding, field naturalist outings, orienteering, snowshoeing, and skiing has increased substantially.  Users have created and marked new trails without City authorization. The sensitive vegetation and wildlife of the area have experienced damage and disturbance. Parking on the narrow shoulder of Thomas A. Dolan Parkway creates a safety hazard.

The City’s policies for its natural lands do not distinguish between more and less sensitive habitats in regulating uses. City staff will consider feedback from this meeting in a review of its management practices.

Please come and tell us how you see the future of the Carp Barrens for the preservation of nature and the enjoyment of people.
The Carp Barrens
The City’s property in the Carp Barrens consists of approximately 1,000 acres on the north and south sides of Thomas A. Dolan Parkway (see map).  The area consists of Canadian Shield covered by delicate lichen and moss mats, forests on thin, easily eroded soils, and provincially significant wetlands.  It provides habitat for numerous species at risk, and is a candidate for the designation of Provincially Significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (Life Science).

For more information see our web page about the Carp Barrens.

The Carp Barrens property owned by the City of Ottawa is shown in purple.
(Note: The subdivision plan shown in the area south of Thomas Dolan Parkway relates to an old proposal that is no longer in effect.)

History of Hills – Part 2

You never know what you’ll find when you start looking! 

Seeking to know more about the history of “The Carp Hills” we found ourselves fascinated by our visit to an historic farm bordering the northern parts of the ridge . The farm buildings include logs harvested as long ago as 1829. This part of the township was surveyed by Reuben Sherwood in 1822. Sherwood ( 1775-1851)was the son of one of the first Loyalists to settle in Leeds County and was a Provincial Land Surveyor. The property has revealed ancient hide scrapers, and a whole collection of clay pipes , some bearing the mark of Robert Bannerman Clay Pipes from Montreal (1855-1907).

The owner of this wonderful property shared her research about the ancient history of her farm dating back over 11,000 years to the time of the Champlain Sea.

The Champlain Sea was a temporary inlet of the Atlantic Ocean created by retreating glaciers in the last ice age. The sea included lands where we now live . 

In this next map (see below) provided by our host we can see the “island “ of the Carp Ridge floating in the sea. The historic farm we visited had previously been on the shores of the Champlain Sea. Evidence of ancient Indigenous peoples activities is present on this land, including fire rings on what would have been the shoreline.

We have respected the owners desire for anonymity but thank them for their generosity in sharing their research. Perhaps in future editions we can share more news from an archeological assessment of the property.  Stay tuned.

If you have history about the Carp Hills that you’d like to share, Contact Us.

DUC Carp Land Public Presentation – 9 May 2018

The following are notes of the Questions and Answers from the meeting.

Will there be established routes?
DUC: Want controlled access and trails, location based on the ecological assessment.

Is there another access point?
DUC: Not at this time.

Want private property boundaries marked so that users don’t stray onto private land.
DUC – There will be something. Had 40 acres beside the village surveyed.

What does the management plan contain?
DUC: Describes permitted activities, conservation goals, ecological assessment, activity plan.

DUC – There is a trail now, historic use, should continue unless there are serious problems (don’t want ATV or truck use).
Councillor El-Chantiry – It’s easy to work with organized groups such as the snowmobile club.

Is there a plan to set barricades on Glenncastle to prevent vehicles from using the entrance?
DUC: Current structures are effective.

How will DUC deal with hunters and hikers both using the property?
DUC – Maybe post dates, encourage wearing orange. Hunting is currently allowed; shotgun, not rifle.

Where will hunters get permission to hunt?
DUC: From DUC.

You said that DUC supports sustainable hunting. If a trapper came to you with the requisite permits and asked for written permission to harvest beavers—or any furbearers—on your property, would you (DUC) give it to them?
DUC: I would have to think long and hard about that.

What about mountain bikes?
DUC: If bikes degrade trails and affect conservation values, then won’t be allowed. It’s about the impact on the land.

Scouts: Bikes are allowed in South March Highlands and that’s why the scouts stay away from it. Scouts will contact FCH about work on the trails. Scouts have “leave no trace” approach.

Will you consider including citizen science information when doing the ecological assessment? e.g. wildlife sitings, rare plants and birds.
Will DUC get input from local people with knowledge of the area for the ecological assessment?
DUC: Happy to receive local collective wisdom of the land. Similar to First nations.

Some have been encountering fat bikes in the winter using the ski trails and ruining the tracks.
DUC: Fat bikes have same impact as snowshoes and skis. Tremblant has separate trails for them.

DUC needs a media plan to communicate issues to the community, like when it’s hunting season.

Fear of throngs coming. How much advertising will DUC do to promote this property?
DUC: In better position once ecological assessment is done.

Is it DUC’s objectives to promote the property?
DUC: Objective is conservation.

If conservation is a priority, why do you want to get people in there?
DUC: Brand promotion. Can’t have two classes of citizens (local people and others).

Eli: The acquisition of this property is a good news story. It could have been developed. It could have been bought for private use and the public excluded.

How are you going to control Glenncastle parking?
DUC: Could use Crazy Horse Trail access. There are also solutions like restricted parking.

Can City buy the land beside the CH Trailhead?

Do you have liability insurance?
DUC – Yes.

How is DUC funded?
DUC – $90M budget. Some from governments. Some from individual donors, campaigns, some from major corporations (e.g. forest management). Example of a 3-nation projects for duck habitat, with US, Canada and Mexico.

Where is the fundraising campaign for the Hills?
DUC – $200,000. Just starting. To pay taxes, pay expenses for stewardship.

What about the ticks and the kids?
Nick Stow (City of Ottawa) – Ottawa Public Health monitors tick populations across the City and tests for Lyme disease.

It’s good to have people come to town for economic development reasons.

More than 1 in 3 ticks testing positive for Lyme Disease

From CTV News, 26 June 2017

Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Monday, June 26, 2017 5:16PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 26, 2017 6:45PM EDT

An Ottawa researcher is trying to figure out why the west end of our city is seeing a dramatic rise in the number of ticks carrying Lyme disease.  Epidemiologist Dr. Manisha Kulkarni says her research shows that at least one in every three ticks is carrying the bacteria that can cause a chronic and debilitating illness. The research so far shows about 30 to 40 percent of those west end ticks are testing positive for Lyme disease but Dr. Kulkarni believes it could be higher than that.

Brown bagging it has a whole new meaning at this University of Ottawa lab.

“So these are the samples that have come in from Ottawa Public Health,” says Dr. Kulkarni, as she opens a fridge in her uOttawa lab. 

“This is a weeks’ worth, so we’re probably looking at about 15 ticks per week,” she explains. 

They are ticks sent to Ottawa Public Health from members of the public, taken off themselves or their children.  They end up in Dr. Kulkarni’s lab for testing.

This year she says, there are far more ticks submitted than last year and many more testing positive for Lyme disease, especially those from Kanata, Carp and Stittsville. 

“We’re seeing a higher proportion of ticks from certain parts of west end,” she says, “more than 30 to 40% are positive in some areas.”

Dr. Kulkarni’s research project, funded in part by the Public health Agency of Canada, is trying to figure out why recreational trails, provincial and municipal parks in the west end are seeing a dramatic rise in the number of ticks. The thinking is that it is connected to a growing problem south of us, a problem creeping up a wooded corridor in the Kingston area that has a long-established tick problem.

“It does seem to be a corridor coming up from St. Lawrence Valley,” she says, “There’s a wooded corridor that seems to really prone to tick populations.”

Dr. Kulkarni’s students are monitoring that population in the Ottawa area by dragging for ticks in 19 parks and recreational paths across this city.  Charles Thickstun, who is a Masters students in Epidemiology says he and his two colleagues found no ticks today at the Rideau River Eastern Pathway park in Ottawa’s north east end but,

“The Greenbelt pathway, Stony Swamp and down Smiths Falls by Murphy Point,” he says, “We found quite a few there.”

That’s no surprise to Lesley Fleming.  She has Lyme disease and a keen interest in where those Lyme-carrying ticks are.  She dragged for ticks at the NCC recreational pathway behind the DND building off Moodie Drive a few weeks ago.  Of the two ticks she found, both tested positive for Lyme disease. The path is popular with both DND employees and dog walkers.

“I used to bring my dog here,” Fleming says, “and a year and a half ago; we found 7 ticks on her so I’ve never been back.”

She also dragged for ticks at a popular bird-watching spot in Shirley’s Bay.  One of the three ticks collected tested positive for Lyme.  Now, alongside the no-smoking and poison ivy signs, she’s pushing for signage to warn of ticks.

“The warning signs need to say there are ticks present that carry a high percentage of Lyme disease,” Fleming says, “with references to prevention material where people can find out how to take precautions

Ottawa Public Health says with the wet weather, it has yet to begin dragging for ticks but plans to start June 28th in Carp, Stittsville and Rockcliffe Park.  Later this summer, it will do tick drags in all areas of the city including east and south ends. OPH says to date, 88 ticks from the Ottawa area have been submitted and 17 or 19.3% have tested positive for Lyme disease.

Tree Cutting Near Hidden Lake Park

Updates to the Post made on 26 April are in Blue.

Summary:  It appears that the cutting occurred in an area zoned for development, probably without proper regard for consulting MVCA or MNRF or telling the neighbours, but generally it is lawful.

This post is meant to provide information about the property near Hidden Lake Park where tree cutting started on 23 April 2018.  Zoning Information is sourced from GeoOttawa and is current (confirmed).

First, the property consists of 35 acres (14 ha).  In the map below, it is shown in blue.  It has narrow road frontage on Carp Road shown in the bottom left.  The property is next to Hidden Lake Park, shown in purple on the the right hand side.

There are three zonings on the property, which are outlined in RED:

  • V2B – an L-shaped area where residences can be built,
  • DR1 – development reserve, a pie-shaped area where residences can be built, and
  • EP3 – environmental protection level 3 where a single residence can be built subject to various constraints.

(Speculation) There looks to be an option for a road from the DR1 zoned area between 157 and 165 Hidden Lake Crescent.

The next map shows that the V2B and the DR1 areas fall within the Community Design Plan for the village of Carp – see the pink overlay. Combined with the zoning, these areas are available for development at a density consistent with other development in the village.  (Note: The EP3 area does not fall within the CDP area.)

A Provincially Significant Wetland lies within the EP3 boundary. Permission of the conservation authority, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority in this case, must be given for any alteration of the wetland or any alteration of its hydrological function within120m of the wetland.  Part of the DR1 zoned area falls within the 120m boundary.  Councillor El-Chantiry has asked MVCA to visit the site to determine if there has been an impact on the wetland function.

The mica mine in Hidden Lake Park is located at the easternmost corner (right side) of the DR1 zoned area.  Looking at the logged area on 25 April from this vantage point, it would appear (this is opinion, not a fact) that logging has cleared the V2B and DR1 portions.

This City has confirmed that is has not received a planning application for this property, and thus cannot regulate tree cutting.  Ottawa’s Tree Conservation Bylaw only applies to the urban area and Carp lies outside the urban boundary.

So, what can we conclude?

  • Development of V2B and (part of) DR1 was a given.  Trees were going to be removed sometime.
  • Since there is currently no planning application, the City has no authority over the removal of the trees.
  • If there is no alteration of the wetland’s hydrological function within the 120m area, then there is no violation of regulations.

What’s in questions are:

Where?  Hidden Lake is a known nesting area for Species at Risk (SAR) Blanding’s turtles (Threatened status).  Under the Endangered Species Act, habitat cannot be damaged or destroyed, but the guidelines are flexible and require quite a bit of on-the-ground knowledge about the extent of the population and its habits in the area. 

When?  At the federal level the Migratory Bird Act comes into play as we’re into nesting season. In addition, the City has a Protocol for Wildlife Construction during Construction, but this does not apply to this property since there is no planning application.

How? (This is speculation) It is likely that the clearing of this property has been done without consultation with MVCA or MNRF.  Permission from the City was not required.

Who?  We want to make clear that the owner of this property is NOT the owner of the Hidden Lake property where the new house is being built behind Charlie’s Lane.  Please see our Post about Hidden Lake.

This is all the information we have at this point.  Updates will be made as more information becomes available.

9 May Public Meeting About DUC Acquisition


Building a Natural Retreat Together
Public invited to provide input on future of Carp Hills property

Have your say about one of the largest, environmentally significant areas remaining in the National Capital Region—the Carp Hills property.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is hosting a public forum to share ideas related to the newly acquired, 178-hectare (440-acre) conservation land in the southern Carp Hills region. This property represents the largest natural area acquisition with the City of Ottawa since its amalgamation.

Local residents, and all those interested, are invited to Carp Memorial Hall, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. to learn more about DUC’s conservation mandate, ask questions and share their comments about the future of the Carp Hills property.

About the Carp Hills property: The Carp Hills property is a mixture of provincially significant wetlands, forest cover and grasslands set amidst unique Canadian Shield rock formations. The property is adjacent to existing conservation areas, creating an essential natural corridor that supports and connects wildlife habitat. Carp Hills is renowned for its high biodiversity of plants and animals, including species at risk like the Blanding’s turtle, a species listed as endangered under the Canada Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Finding the right balance to conserve landscapes for wildlife while continuing to provide people with recreational opportunities is an important goal of this project, and this event.

Join us so we can get to know each other and work together to benefit people and wildlife in our community.

What:                                        Public forum on the Carp Hills Property
Residents and others are invited to meet their new partner in conservation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and provide input on the future of the 440-acre property.

When:                                       Wednesday, May 9, 2018, Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Where:                                                       Carp Memorial Hall, 3739 Carp Road, Carp, ON

Hidden Lake

The beautiful 121 acre Hidden Lake property will soon have a new resident.  Meet Greg Bell, a young farmer who purchased the land at the end of  2013.  “I was searching for farm land and for some reason the agent brought me to see the Hidden Lake property,” said Greg.  “Although not suitable for farming, its natural beauty and tranquillity resonated with me.  I wanted to live there.”

Other than building his house in an environmentally sensitive manner, Greg’s number one priority is conserving the landscape.  He plans no other structures or alterations to the property.  He shares the Friends of the Carp Hills’ goal to protect the Carp Hills and sees himself as a steward of the land. 

Greg knows that in the past residents have enjoyed walking and skiing in Hidden Lake, but the property is private and not open to the public.  Greg will be posting signs to ensure that people know where the boundaries are and they don’t inadvertently trespass.  ATVs and hunting on the northern side of the property to shoot waterfowl are also not permitted.

People can still experience Hidden Lake in the City-owned 10 acre park next to Greg’s property.  Hidden Lake Park has a short trail that can be accessed from Charlie’s Lane or Hidden Lake Crescent and has a nice view of the lake.  The one kilometre trail is clearly marked by crushed gravel and has two interpretive signs.  When entering the park from Charlie’s Lane, turn left to follow the trail, otherwise you’ll enter private property.

Greg farms 50 acres on Marchurst Road called March Meadow Farms, growing pesticide-free vegetables for roadside and market sales.  Stop by and visit him at the farm. The address is 1490 Murphy’s Side Road.  Like his March Meadow Farms Facebook page to follow what’s happening.  Let’s give Greg a warm welcome to our friendly village of Carp.