January 2019 – What We Accomplished in 2018
2018 stands out as the year we accomplished one of our top strategic goals: to secure the 440 acre Honeywell property near the village for conservation and recreation. Thanks to a three year effort by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the City of Ottawa, the land was acquired in early 2018 to be protected in perpetuity.
Here’s what we and our dedicated volunteers accomplished in 2018:
We ran three events in 2018: a moonlit snowshoe, a spring ephemerals guided walk, and a fall colours hike.
Certified guide Andrea Prazmowski conducted two popular Forest Therapy walks on the Crazy Horse Trail in the fall, one of which was featured on the BBC radio show Health Check.
We held our fifth public meeting in March 2018. Over 35 people attended, including Councillor El-Chantiry.
With grant funding from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, we continued to enhance the Crazy Horse Trail by bridging wet areas.
With the securement of the 440 acre property in 2018, we signed an agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada to be their local partners in stewardship of their property. DUC conducted an ecological study and reported the results at their public meeting in November.
We also agreed to assist the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust with stewardship and monitoring of their Whaleback Woodland Reserve acquired in early 2018.
We held a public meeting in June to discuss the impact of increasing human use of the Carp Barrens. The City of Ottawa issued Interim Conservation Measures in response to the feedback we received. Stay tuned for our plans for 2019.
In partnership with the Ottawa Stewardship Council, we sponsored a project for third year Environmental Science students at Carleton University for options on how to communicate interpretive information along the Crazy Horse Trail.
We published another article about the “History of the Hills” and continued to interview “old timers” about what they can remember about the Carp Hills.
Our Facebook group grew by another 100 member to 430 at the end of 2018.
We sent out 6 newsletters during the year to a subscriber base that grew to 259 by the end of 2018.
We ran a logo contest and will be announcing the results some time in January.
Nine people are contributing observations of flora and fauna in the Carp Hills using iNaturalist.
11 December 2018 – FCH Logo Contest
We received 13 beautiful submissions for our logo contest. Thank you to everyone who took the time to capture the spirit of the Carp Hills in their swoops, swirls, and swooshes. We will announce the results in January. For more information about the contest, please read our Logo Contest post.
27 November 2018 – Ducks Unlimited Canada Public Meeting
Well over 70 people came out to Ducks Unlimited Canada’s meeting last night to hear about the ecological assessment done this year on their 440 acre Carp Hills property. DUC emphasized that the land is private property and was bought for conservation as the number one priority. With assistance from FCH, DUC will develop a management plan for recreation on the property. People were able to provide comments and ask questions. We have posted DUC’s presentation and our notes from the meeting. Thank you to Councillor El-Chantiry and Nick Stow from the City of Ottawa for attending and being available to answer questions.
Prior to the meeting, CBC Radio interviewed Mark Gloutney of DUC and Janet Mason of FCH about the Carp Hills and the DUC property.
DUC acquired the 440 acre property in early 2018 for conservation purposes and held its first public forum in May to receive community feedback on ideas for the property. DUC committed to completing an ecological assessment of the site before developing a property management plan. View the presentation and Q&A from this meeting here.
24 October 2018 – FCH and DUC Sign Agreement
The Friends of the Carp Hills has signed an agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to support stewardship of DUC’s 440 acre (178 hectare) property in the Carp Hills. Read more in our post here.
21 October 2018 – Fall Colours Guided Hike
The sun didn’t shine, but we enjoyed the warmth of good company in our invigorating hike up the Carp escarpment to look out over the Carp River valley. We then headed into the hills for scenic views of giant boulders, wetlands, ponds, mosses, and colourful leaves, and finished back where we started with a bonfire. Thank you to landowner Greg for opening his property to the public, and to guides Brian and Bernard for leading the group.
13 October 2018 – Forest Therapy Walk in the Carp Hills
Due to demand, we ran another Forest Therapy Walk on the Crazy Horse Trail on Saturday, 13 October from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Tickets were $22 (plus fees). A portion of the proceeds went to the Friends of the Carp Hills.
Once again we were led by certified Forest Therapy guide Andrea Prazmowski (http://www.foresttherapyottawa.ca). Over the course of the gentle 2.5 hour exploration, Andrea invited the participants to deepen their connection to the forest and nature. Refreshed and calmed by the forest, the walk ended with snacks and tea.
One of the participants in our first forest therapy walk made a lovely video of her experience, which you can view here.
30 September 2018 – Interim Conservation Measures for the Carp Barrens
As a result of the public meeting we held and the feedback we received about the Carp Barrens, the City of Ottawa has instituted Interim Conservation Measures to protect the land that it owns in this ecologically sensitive area. On 13 September the City sent a letter outlining these measures to organizations connected to or known to use the Carp Barrens. Read the letter in our post.
25 September 2018 – SOLD OUT – Forest Therapy Event in the Carp Hills
May the Forest be with you! Certified Forest Therapy guide Andrea Prazmowski generously donated her time to lead a walk on the Crazy Horse Trail for peace, reflection, and spiritual health. We had so much interest in this event that we may run another one this fall.
22 July 2018 – Carp Barrens Public Feedback
We’ve published the feedback from our public meeting, survey, and request for comments on human use of the Carp Barrens. See our Carp Barrens Survey Post.
11 June 2018 – Public Meeting on Use of the Carp Barrens
The Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH) invite 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.
Public use of the Carp Barrens 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.
City staff will consider feedback from this meeting in a review of its management practices for sensitive habitats.
For more information about this meeting and how you can participate, please see our Carp Barrens Post.
9 May 2018 – Public Meeting About New DUC Acquisition in the Carp Hills
To see the presentation and the Q&A from the meeting, see our post DUC Carp Hills Property.
5 May 2018 – Ephemeral Nature of Spring Guided Hike
We had perfect weather, no bugs, and a capacity crowd for our spring ephemeral nature hike. Thank you to our guides: ecologist Cathy Keddy and vocally-challenged field naturalist Art Goldsmith, and to Karen Kreuger who gave voice to Art’s bird sightings and information. Thanks also to everyone who came out and to those who helped with a donation. Highlights of the tour were the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the Painted Turtles sunning themselves next to a nesting Canada Goose, and all the beautiful wildflowers: Hepaticas, Trout Lilies, Bloodroot, and Wild Ginger. Photos can be viewed on our Facebook page.
April 2018 – 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.” Read more about Greg and his property.
23 April 2018 – DUC Announces Acquisition of 440 Acres in the Carp Hills
Ducks Unlimited Canada, the City of Ottawa, the Government of Canada and several private donors have joined forces to ensure that a 178 hectare (440-acres) property in the Carp Hills landscape, will remain pristine for wildlife and for people – now, and into the future. Read DUC’s News Release and more information about this new protected property in the Carp Hills.
20 April 2018 – Whaleback Woodland Reserve Commemoration Ceremony
The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) honoured Carolyn Canfield for her generous donation of the 15.7 acre Whaleback Woodland Reserve in the Carp Hills. Carolyn gave a passionate speech about the importance of preserving our biodiversity and letting the land evolve naturally. Read more about Whaleback Woodland Reserve here.
30 March 2018 – MMLT Acquires Conservation Property in the Carp Hills
The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) announced at its AGM last night that it has acquired through donation a 15.7 acre property in the Carp Hills called the Whaleback Woodland Reserve. MMLT will announce further details about the property later in April. The Friends of the Carp Hills are partnered with MMLT for land conservation. For more information, see Preserving the Carp Hills.
27 March 2018 – Door Prizes and Ducks Unlimited Canada at our AGM and Public Meeting
Over thirty people came out to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Public Meeting on Tuesday night at the Carp Memorial Hall to hear about what we accomplished last year and what we plan for 2018+. Our guest speaker was Mark Gloutney, Regional Director for Ducks Unlimited Canada, who told us about DUC’s conservation mandate, its activities in the area, and its partnership with Friends of the Carp Hills to conserve land.
Mark tantalized the audience with his comment that there will be a significant announcement on 23 April about the Carp Hills. Stay tuned!
We were able to raise over $200 with the generous donation of door prizes from many local Carp businesses. Many thanks to the following donors:
- DEKA Home Hardware – bird feeder and bag of bird seed
- Carp Ag. Society – 2 admission tickets to the Carp Fair
- Pawsh Pets – free dog grooming certificate
- Gloss Hair Salon – $25 gift certificate
- Pizza Workz – $25 gift certificate
- Juke Joint – $25 gift certificate
- Moonstones Gallery and Markerplace (formerly at The Hive, moving soon to D. B. Munro) – lavender candle
- Carp Bakery – box of a dozen delicious baked goods
- Maureen Rae – jar of her own maple syrup
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.
- We signed an agreement with the City of Ottawa to manage the 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
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
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.
10 November 2016 – Trailhead Sign Installation Completed
We 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
We 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!
Despite 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
Volunteers 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
Maintenance 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
We’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
The 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.
Thank 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.
Thank you to Owen Clarkin for donating his time and sharing his extensive knowledge of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Thank 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
We 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:
- Deka Home Building Centre
- Alice’s Village Cafe
- The Hive
- Carp Pizza
- Pawsh Pets
- Chang Thai Kitchen
- The Carp Bakery.
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.
11 December 2015 – Trail Grant Successful!
The 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
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.
The 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.
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
The 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.
We’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.
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
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
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.
- Local artists: Aleta Karstad, Graham Mastersmith, Allan Joyner, Mette Baker
- The West Carleton War Memorial bronze sculpture by artist Ron Cowle will be on display.
- Guided nature hikes by Dr. Owen Clarkin.
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
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
The 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
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?
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
Over 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.
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 2014 – Our 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 2014 – South 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)
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 email@example.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.