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!