Welcome

April 2020 – Spring Photography Contest

We are holding our second seasonal photography contest to capture nature’s reanimation and the fleeting beauty of spring in the Carp Hills.  The contest runs from April 15 to May 31, 2020.  The winner will be announced on 7 June,  Along with public glory, the winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Carp Custom Creamery and a one-year new membership or membership renewal to Friends of the Carp Hills.  If the format is suitable, the winning photo will also be used as our Facebook banner for one month and as the banner for the post on photography contest winner.

Read our post Spring Photography Contest for details on the contest rules and how to submit your photos.

26 March 2020 – Hello Neighbours!

Like you, we had so many plans for spring!  But we’ve had to put all of our spring events – the AGM and Holly’s Carp Barrens Study presentation, the guided nature hike, the Carp tick research public meeting, trail maintenance – on hold until the Covid-19 situation plays out.

In the meantime, we have some activities that you can still undertake on your own or with your family to enhance your appreciation of the Carp Hills.

  1. Read our Interpretive Guide about the Crazy Horse Trail.  We have a long version at 11 pages and an abridged version at 5 pages.  Download one in PDF and take a copy with you when you next head out (when conditions permit).
  2. Check out information about the geography, ecology, and geology of the Carp Hills at:  About the Carp Hills.  There are maps and lots of references to read.
  3. Create an account, download the iNaturalist app to your smart phone, and start contributing citizen science observations about the Carp Hills on your next hike (when conditions permit).  Make sure you link them to our iNaturalist project:  Carp Hills Bio-Inventory.
  4. Submit photos to our Spring Photography Contest.  See information below.
  5. Tick season is here. Temperatures above zero and bare patches of ground mean ticks are active. Found one on you or your dog?  You can help Canadian researchers by submitting a photo and location to etick.ca.
  6. Missed some of our History of the Hills articles?  You can read them all at:  History of the Hills.

25 March 2020 – A Message from Our Trail Coordinator, Bernard Proulx

These are not easy times with the Coronavirus (Covid-19), but with winter just over, the spring song birds will soon be arriving. Despite the fact that warmer days are here, we are being told by all levels of government to stay home. Social distancing is the new norm. The Crazy Horse Trail, like others (so far), is not closed, but we still need to avoid the temptation to use it. Also, over the next few weeks the trail will be very wet so staying off it will prevent erosion and widening. Currently the City of Ottawa has not closed parks and recreation areas, but some other cities have. The NCC has closed Gatineau Park due to crowds. So let’s not be selfish; stay home and if you have to go out, respect the 2 meter rule. With that said, you still can enjoy the outdoors. Go out in your backyard, take a walk around the neighbourhood (if your health condition permits), and mind your distance. You do not need to be on the trail to enjoy nature and take in the beautiful sounds and sights of spring.
 
For parents with young kids trying to find new ways to get them entertained, it is not easy these days with all recreation facilities being closed. So next time you take the little ones out in the backyard or out for the daily neighbourhood walk make a game of it. Look for the spring birds coming back from down south. Unlike us (snowbirds) they do not have to self-isolate when returning from vacation. Get the kids to identify them: colour, size, song, shape, etc. There are many websites and apps that can help them identify or report their findings, such as Merlin Bird ID, iNaturalist, Seek, naturecanada.ca to name a few. Who knows, maybe your child is a budding ornithologist or biologist.

So what’s coming up on the Crazy Horse Trail? Last fall new boardwalks and a bridge section were added; they proved to be a great addition during the wet fall period. For the near future, we (FCH) will listen to our health experts and stay home unless for emergency and essentials. This means that some of the regular spring trail maintenance will be delayed for a bit. Once life starts to return to normal we will be conducting our annual spring trail inspection and clean-up. We are also planning to add/extend a new section near the beaver pond loop.

We thank you for your understanding. Stay safe, stay home as much as you can. Mother Nature will still be there when things return to normal.

P.S. For those who live in proximity to the Carp Hills it is time to remove or empty your backyard bird feeders. The bears are coming out of hibernation and will be looking for easy meals like bird seed. Bears will visit given the opportunity.
 

POSTPONED – Our AGM and Public Meeting

Due to concerns about spreading of Covid-19 in group assemblies, we have postponed our AGM and Public Meeting to some time in the future.  The City of Ottawa has also closed all city-owned facilities, including the Memorial Hall where we planned to hold the meeting.

POSTPONED – Meeting on Tick and Lyme Disease Research in Carp

We have postponed a public meeting scheduled in April where epidemiology researchers from the University of Ottawa were to talk about a new project in Carp and answer questions.

The researchers, led by Dr. Manisha Kulkarni, will be conducting a project on ticks and Lyme disease in the village of Carp and the adjacent Carp Hills over the next two years (2020-2021).  The project is still going ahead.

Read more about Project UPTick in our post.

 

1 March 2020 – Erik Frebold is Our Photography Contest Winner

Erik is from Vancouver and took his photo while skiing in the Carp Hills on 17 February.  Our judge liked the composition and colour range.  Read Erik’s story about the photo in our Winter Photo Contest Winner post.

18 February 2020 – Winter Photography Contest Closes Soon!

We are holding a ❤ the Hills in Winter photography contest to celebrate the beauty of the Carp Hills in our coldest season.  The contest runs from now until February 18, 2020.  Along with public glory, the winner receives a one-year new membership or membership renewal to Friends of the Carp Hills.  If the format is suitable, the winning photo will also be used as our Facebook banner for one month and as one of our rotating banners on our website.  Learn more about the contest rules and how to submit at our Winter Photography Contest post.

15 February 2020 – ❤ the Hills Winter Evening Snowshoe

Bonhommie around the Bonfire (J. Leblanc).

We enjoyed mild weather, excellent trail conditions, hot chocolate, and bonhomie around the bonfire at our Family Day weekend snowshoe event.  Thank you to landowner Greg LeBlanc for making his property available, to our trail guides Bernard, Julian, and Brian, and to Josee for the hot chocolate. 

 

 

January 2020 – Renew or Become a Member

Join us!  Membership fees help make our work possible.  Membership entitles you to participate in and to elect directors at our Annual General Meeting.

Membership runs on a calendar year basis.  Three terms are available:
1 year – $20
2 years – $35
3 years – $45

New and renewing members can use our online membership form and online payment through PayPal.  You can also renew/purchase a membership at our public meeting on 25 March or send us a cheque via Canada Post.  See our Membership web page for details.

New membership applications must be approved by the Board of the Friends of the Carp Hills. By becoming a member, you are agreeing in general with the Vision, Mission, and Goals of the organization.

January 2020 – What We Accomplished in 2019

Our major activities in 2019 were twofold:  adding almost 50m of new boardwalk to the Crazy Horse Trail and conducting a trail impact study on the Carp Barrens.  The study confirmed the site’s high ecological quality, identified 20 regionally significant plant species, and documented evidence for the area being critical habitat for two Threatened Species at Risk:  Blanding’s turtles and Eastern Whip-poor-will.  For a complete list of our activities, read our post.

November 2019 – Carp Barrens Trail Study Phase 2 Report

Consulting ecologist Holly Bickerton has completed her Phase 2 report for the Carp Barrens Trail Study. Her focus was on determining the extent of turtle nesting, the presence of species at risk birds and rare/unusual plant species, and the impact of human use. You can read a summary of the report’s finding in our post:  Carp Barrens Trail Study – Phase 2 Report.

The single largest impact of the trail network is the incursion of human presence into a previously inaccessible and regionally significant, high quality natural area. Cyclists, hikers, dog walkers and naturalists have all been observed using the area.

While it may be possible to mitigate some impacts, the effect of intensifying human presence on the critical habitat of species at risk and on the area’s high ecological integrity cannot.  This issue will be addressed in the Phase 3 report.

27 October 2019 – New Boardwalk Completed

The new section of boardwalk beside the snowmobile track is now finished. With the efforts of Brian (Master Craftsman Extraordinaire) Roadhouse, Marc (Louis Cyr) Savard, and Julian (The Machine) Romeskie, we have installed 120 feet of new boardwalk. This involved clearing a new path on the west side of the snowmobile track, and adding an access ramp to the existing plank boardwalk, also on the west side of the snowmobile track. This new section is useful in keeping pedestrian traffic on City-owned land (away from private property), and getting over some chronically wet sections of the trail.

Funding for this project’s materials was provided by the City of Ottawa’s Rural Community Building Grant Program with support from Councillor Eli El-Chantiry. Built by skilled and dedicated volunteer labour. Thank you!

5 October 2019 – Fall Mushroom Guided Hike

Mycologist George White delighted a crowd of about 30 keen-eyed fungi enthusiasts on a beautiful autumn day on the Crazy Horse Trail.  We found Earthstars, Velvetfoot, Cowboy’s Handkerchief, orange jellies, puffballs, and many more. For photos posted by the participants, check out our Facebook page.

 

 

July 2019 – Crazy Horse Trail Bridge Extended

Bridge at the Beaver Pond LoopFCH volunteers extended the bridge at the beaver pond.  Rising water levels had left both ends of the existing bridge under water, making it challenging to cross and complete the loop around the pond.

For a “before” photo, see our Facebook page.

Thank you to our busy beavers:  trail coordinator Bernard Proulx and carpenter extraordinaire Brian Roadhouse, who worked all day in the heat and mosquito clouds.  Thanks also to Rich Russell for providing quick access to the bridge site through his property.

June 2019 – FCH Awarded Rural Community-Building Grant

The City of Ottawa has awarded the Friends of the Carp Hills a grant for its Carp Hills Trail System Project.  The award is from the Rural Community-Building Grants Program.  It will fund:

  • enhancements to the Crazy Horse Trail for new boardwalks across wet areas;
  • Phases 2 and 3 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study to evaluate the impact of human traffic and determine mitigation measures; and
  • signs for the Carp Barrens to educate about its special, fragile ecology.

Thank you to Councillor El-Chantiry for his support of our work.

28 April 2019 – Spring Has Sprung in the Carp Hills

There were many highlights from the 3.5 hour guided nature hike on the Crazy Horse Trail. Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Rich Russell noted about 30 bird species, four frog species, and two turtle species. Some key finds: a Pied-billed Grebe, Chorus Frogs, Blanding’s turtles, Broad-winged Hawk, Pine Warblers, Swamp Sparrows, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Rich is a Carp Hills resident, wildlife biologist, and outdoors enthusiast.  We were lucky to get some of Rich’s time before he headed up north in May. Thank you, Rich!

16 April 2019 – OFNC Awards Research Grant to Carp Barrens Study

We’re pleased to announce that the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club has awarded FCH a research grant to support the Carp Barrens Trail Study, which will assess the ecological impact of human use on the Carp Barrens.  We have also received a generous donation from the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club and have raised over $1500 from individual donors.  To donate, please read about the study:  Carp Barrens Trail Study.

3 April 2019 – Annual General Meeting and Public Briefing

About 40 people came out to our 6th annual public meeting and AGM. New directors Janet Campbell and Anne Chapman Wong, and returning director Chris Busby were elected to the board. Holly Bickerton delighted the crowd with her natural history presentation about the Carp Hills, and about the special plants and animals she discovered last summer on the Ducks Unlimited Canada property and the Crazy Horse Trail.  We reached our goal of raising an additional $600 through donations to support our Carp Barrens Trail Study. 

We’d like to thank our generous local businesses for providing door prizes for our meeting last night. Please support them.

Carp Massage Therapy and Yoga
Home Hardware(DEKA) Building Supplies
Juke Joint
Alice’s Village Cafe
Pawsh Pets
Christine and Eric Brackenbury
Carp Pizza
Pizza Workz
Ridge Rock Brewing Co.
The Hive.

Thank you to Karen Pritchard for visiting the businesses to request the prizes

March 2019 – Membership

Join us!  Membership fees help make our work possible.  Membership entitles you to participate in and to elect directors at our Annual General Meeting.

Membership runs on a calendar year basis.  Three terms are available:
1 year – $20
2 years – $35
3 years – $45

We’ve added an online membership form and online payment through PayPal for new and renewing members.  You can also renew/purchase a membership at our public meeting on 1 April or send us a cheque via post.  See our Membership web page for details.

New membership applications must be approved by the Board of the Friends of the Carp Hills. By becoming a member, you are agreeing in general with the Vision, Mission, and Goals of the organization.

February 2019 – Carp Barrens Human Impact Study

We need to raise $6000 to conduct an ecological assessment of increased human activity on the Carp Barrens.  Read out post here for more information about the study and how to donate or click the button below to go directly to the payment page.