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.