Fall Mushroom Guided Hike – 5 October 2019

We are holding a mushroom-themed guided nature hike on the Crazy Horse Trail on Saturday, 5 October at 1pm.  Professional mycologist George White will share his considerable knowledge and enthusiasm on a fungi discovery journey. There is a $10 participation fee per person payable at the event; children 16 and under are free. You must sign a waiver (see below) to participate.

The cool, moist days of fall tell the fungi that live in the soil and on rotting wood that it’s time to fruit and disperse their spores into this hospitable environment. Thus the fruiting body of fungi – mushrooms – emerge to delight us with their variety of shapes and colours: black “Dead’s Man’s Fingers”, bright orange “Lobster mushrooms”, and giant shelf fungi clinging to the trunks of maple trees.

Trail Conditions Checked on Thursday, 3 October – The trail is damp and slippery in places, but not too wet.  Water resistant hiking boots should be adequate.  Lots of mushrooms!

Download, print, and sign the waiver (PDF). Bring your copy to the event. We will have a few blank copies on-site if you forget to bring it.

Meet at the trailhead on March Road at Huntmar Drive by 12:50pm to sign-in before our 1:00 pm start. We will go out rain or shine. However, if it’s raining hard, we may cancel the event. Check our web site for confirmation.

About your guide, George P. White

George began his mycological career with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada where he participated in taxonomic research on molds and other microfungi. He also worked with insects, viruses, nematodes and mycoplasmas and participated in the National Identification Service then offered by AAFC. For 16 years, he was the quarantine mycologist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency where he was responsible for detecting and identifying fungal pests in imported and exported agricultural commodities. As the Mould Manager, George currently runs a consulting company, RIFDS Inc, where he uses his skills to find and identify fungi for people facing mold issues in indoor settings.

Nature Hike: Spring has Sprung in the Carp Hills

Event moved to our rain date – Sunday, 28 April due to poor weather.

Join Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Rich Russell for a nature hike on the Crazy Horse Trail on Sunday, 28 April at 9:00am.  Pre-registration, payment of $20, and signing a waiver are required.  Discover early-arrival migratory birds, early-emergent wildflowers, amphibians, and maybe turtles.

Rich is a Carp Hills resident, wildlife biologist, and outdoors enthusiast.  We’re lucky to get some of Rich’s time before he heads up north in May.  Rich has offered to bring an acoustic recording unit to discuss the application of technology in bird monitoring programs, like for the upcoming Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.  He says that migration is already underway so we should see/hear kinglets, phoebes, pine warblers, thrushes, and sparrows. We may hear wood frogs and peepers.  If it’s a sunny day perhaps a winter-weary turtle will be basking in one of the ponds where we’ve seen them in the past.


For the enjoyment of participants we are limiting this event to 25 people.  Ten people signed up at our AGM so act soon!  The cost is $20 per person; children under 16 are free.  Proceeds help cover the cost of our insurance so that we can offer these events.  Please register by buying your ticket(s) on-line using Eventbrite: Spring Has Sprung in the Carp Hills.


The trail will be wet, muddy, and slippery.  Rubber boots are a requirement as we will likely be wading through large puddles.  

Download, print, and sign the waiver (PDF).  Bring your copy to the event.  We will have a few blank copies on-site if you forget to bring it.

Meet at the trailhead on March Road at Huntmar Drive by 8:50am to sign-in before our 9:00 am start.

Bring binoculars, a camera, and your curiosity!

Rain Date

We will go out rain or shine.  However, if it’s raining hard, we may postpone the event to Sunday, 28 April. Check our web site for confirmation.

Impacts of Dogs on Wildlife

The spring melt down is revealing a large amount of dog poop on the Crazy Horse Trail and in the woods. We’re lucky to have this trail open for dog walkers.  Dogs are banned in many sensitive natural areas owned by the City and the National Capital Commission.

There are many justifications used by dog owners for not picking up dog poop.  But there are studies that show how dog poop has deleterious effects on wildlife and the environment:

  • It’s not just your dog leaving its waste; it’s many dogs a day doing so. This volume of waste with alien microbes from non-native animals is introduced into an ecosystem that is not set up to handle it.
  • Dogs can transmit diseases such as Canine Distemper Virus to wildlife.
  • Dog waste fouls the water.
  • It’s unsightly and smelly for trail users.
  • Your dog can get sick from eating other dogs’ poop or from lapping up fouled water.

For reference, we’ve loaded a two page summary of research on: Impacts of Dogs on Wildlife (PDF)

So if you’re out with your dog on the trail, please be a responsible owner:

  • Keep your dog under control by the trail at all times.
  • Pick up and carry out your dog’s poop.
  • Do not let your dog chase wildlife.


Logo Contest

Calling all artists!  We need a logo. We’re holding a contest and hope to inspire local graphic designers to capture the beauty of the Carp Hills in a simple, but distinctive symbol for our organization. The winner will receive — glory!  Also a ball cap sporting the logo and a three year membership in the FCH.
The design must meet the following requirements:

  • Use no more than two colours.
  • The logo must be easy to identify and render in a single colour to make it recognizable in black and white and in silhouette.
  • Incorporate the theme of the landscape as much as possible – hills, rock (Canadian Shield), water, trees, turtles, etc.
  • Incorporate the name “Friends of the Carp Hills”. Use Georgia font.
  • Fit within any shape, with or without a border – square, rectangle, circle, triangle, diamond, etc, – keeping in mind that it will be used on web sites, letterhead, social media, ball caps, etc.
  • Optional consideration: If the words “Friends of the Carp Hills” and a graphic are separate, then the shape of the graphic should be distinct and recognizable without the use of the words.

The deadline is 10 December.  The winner will be announced in the second week of January. Submit your contest entries to info@carphills.com. Please provide the following information in your contest entry:

  • a colour version of your logo in JPEG.
  • a single colour version of your logo in JPEG.
  • your name, address, email, and phone number.

You may submit as many logo entries as you like.

The winner will provide high and low resolution files in JPEG and PDF for the colour and single colour versions. The winner must sign over the rights to use the logo
We reserve the right not to select any entry.  

Fall Colours Hike on 21 Oct

We invite you to join us for a guided hike in the Carp Hills on Sunday, 21 October at 1:30pm.  We will start on private property at Donald B. Munro Drive, where we will ascend the escarpment for one of the best views of the Carp River valley.  We’ll then cross over onto city-owned land for a scenic view over a wetland near the Crazy Horse Trail, and return to where we started.

Make sure you wear hiking boots or other sturdy shoes. We will be crossing 15m of wetland on a narrow, temporary boardwalk. Some sections of the hike are wet.

We encourage everyone to bring their cameras and post their photos to our Facebook page.  The best photo (as judged by the FCH executive) will be used as our Facebook banner.

There is no need to pre-register.  The event will run rain or shine (unless it’s pouring!). A donation of $10 is appreciated to help cover our insurance costs.  Since we will be starting and ending on private land, participants must stay with the guides and group.  You will be asked to sign a waiver, which you can download and bring to the event.  We will have some paper copies on-site for those who forget to bring them.

To get there:  Park behind The Carp Cabin at 211 Donald B. Munro Drive.  Walk across the road, through the gate, and up the gravel track until you reach the open grassy area where you will register and gather before the hike. 

People participate in this event at their own risk.  Wear hiking boots and tuck your socks into your pants. The terrain is very rugged and the climb is steep.  The trail may be wet and slippery. You may hike through poison ivy.  Black-legged ticks are present and may carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

You can download and print the waiver (PDF) here.

Forest Therapy in the Carp Hills


In celebration of National Forest Week, we are pleased to offer some” Tree Time” on Tuesday September 25th from 1000 am to 1230 pm. As part of this fundraiser, we will be guided by certified Forest Therapy guide Andrea Prazmowski (http://www.foresttherapyottawa.ca). Over the course of this gentle 2.5 hour exploration, Andrea will invite us to deepen our connection to the forest and nature. Refreshed and calmed by the forest, we will end with snacks and tea.

Meet at the trailhead for the Crazy Horse Trail on March Road at Huntmar Drive. Come dressed with sturdy footwear and protection from possible mosquitoes and ticks.

Tickets are $20 (plus fees) and must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/forest-therapy-in-the-carp-hills-tickets-50164205489

This is a rain or shine event. The forest never disappoints.

If you have any questions, please contact Maureen Rae.

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.

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.