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.