Spring/Summer 2004 Number 39

Historic Signs Story

Mock-up of new historic signThis is a story within a story. Several years ago now we had brought up the possibility and the desirability of recognizing the previous occupation of the Park territory. The Park management and many of the board members felt that the Park should look and feel as the forest primeval that surrounded Evangeline many centuries ago. That we can return to the past conditions prior to settlement is just not possible. A forest is a dynamic system that grows and adjusts as the conditions change around it. It is quite impossible to intervene at one level and believe that all the other parts of the system will continue as before. As an example, wolves have been removed from the environment and we now protect the deer and the beaver. So we have an increase in the population of those two vegetarians that now have no natural predator. We need not go far from the Trail Centre to see their respective diets. So at best we have a woodsy area where man and some wild beasts try to cohabit.

We move forward a few years and the Provincial government wishes to recognise our heritage across the province and instigate several activities to that end. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will now slowly adjust their policy. The Friends were unable to present a project that would get the conversation going until this year when it became apparent that Chris Barber's wonderful book Enduring Spirits was about to go out of print. The publisher was not ready to accept the financial responsibility for a second printing given how slow the first edition sold. On the other had The Friends felt that this book should always remain available to the public, albeit to a curious few. To that end The Friends purchased 250 books of the second editions with the understanding that we would sell it only in the Park system while the publisher would have all the other commercial outlets to sell his 250 copies of the 500 copy run.

In order to bring a greater awareness of the previous occupation of the Park and to the existence of the Enduring Spirits, we presented again a trail sign that was in all respects made with the same material, dimensions, and paint colours as other signs in the Park. We are now at the first meeting of the new Board of directors of 2004. Both Park management and the Board are interested in our work and, in short order have come back with recommendations to improve the project. We did research into the documentation of other parks to see if they had historic signage on which we could draw inspiration. None was to be found, but while doing the research a casual remark by MNR was that it is unfortunate that the numbering is not tied into the map grid.

It just so happened that the Friends third map edition is about over and we are thinking of our fourth edition with many fresh ideas. One idea would be to have an alpha-numeric grid on the side of the map so that we could quickly find out where a historic site would be. This would be similar to the alpha-numeric systems that we have on all road maps. Grid references would be quite appropriate here but we are not looking for that degree of precision and knowing that it is within the boundaries of a small "grid box" to give it a name would be quite adequate. The box would be one km square and identical to the existing grid lines. It is better yet that the same alpha-numeric identification could be placed right on the post of the historic site. Now, someone on a ramble in the Park coming upon such a sign (F-5) would quickly realize approximately where he is, not to mention that in times past he could have stopped, in this case at the Pages' homestead for tea. This new identification system could be extended to other markers in the Park be it a trail junction or a foot bridge.

As of this writing we will be presenting to the Board a new variation of the historic trail sign. We wish to part with the traditional brown and yellow colours so as to identify the location as something unique and with time it will be recognized as something historic. At present we are looking at seven sites where the nature of the occupation will be defined on the trail but all the sites that are mentioned on the map will have a numbered post with the grid box location. Three criteria were used to select the sites. First, they had to appear on the map. Second, they had to have a fair description in one location in the Enduring Spirits book. The third was that we get a good distribution across the Park territory. The signs in question are small (250mm x 150mm) so as to not detract from the natural surroundings and yet, if your eye stops on a ruined structure you will know where to get further information. At the Trail Centre we will have a special copy of an Enduring Spirit book marked so that one may quickly find and read up on the nature of the post marking.

We hope that we will get additional sales of the book and the new maps but more importantly, we hope to revive an interest in the Park that has been too long dormant.

Ivan DeRome


President's Message

Will Frontenac Park (or any park) be here next year? That was the question the Wildlands League was asking at a recent seminar discussing the laws that protect Ontario's 634 parks and 9.4 million hectares of conservation reserves. Until I attended this seminar, the answer seemed obvious: yes, of course Frontenac Park will be here next year. Why wouldn't it be?

All you need to do is look at other protected areas in Ontario and learn how their ecosystems are or could have been threatened. Could the same situations happen in Frontenac Park?

Could over 75% of Frontenac Park be open to logging as is the case at Algonquin Park? Over 2,000 kilometres of logging roads in Algonquin Park facilitates logging activity.

In southern Ontario, nearly 300 private residences have been constructed in Rondeau Park's rare oak savanna and oak woodland habitat.

Closer to home, a mining company repeatedly attempted to obtain permission to extract granite from a mine in the Mellon Lake Conservation Reserve. This mining company has applied for permission three separate times, and can keep on reapplying indefinitely as there is no limitation under the Aggregate Resources Act as to the number of times a mining company can reapply for a permit. Each application consumes significant time and energy of people and organizations fighting to prevent the destruction of our protected lands.

How would you like to hike through a barren manicured golf course on the way to your campsite? Bronte Creek Provincial Park nearly provided you with this opportunity. Citing strong public opposition to its plans, the Royal Canadian Golf Association withdrew its plans in January 2000 to build a 45 hole golf course that would have encroached on lands inside Bronte Creek Provincial Park. If you're disappointed that you can't golf in Bronte Creek Provincial Park, you may want to check out the golf course at neighbouring Turkey Point Provincial Park (the only Provincial Park with a golf course).

More recently, the Ministry of Natural Resources amended the boundary of the Groundhog River protected area (near Timmins) to allow Falconbridge to construct a discharge pipeline from the nearby Montcalm mine site to the Groundhog River. The pipeline, approved by the Ministry of the Environment, will carry toxic concentrations of heavy metals from mine dewatering and surface runoff associated with potentially acid generating waste rock stockpiles. Falconbridge contends that the water volume in the Groundhog River is sufficient to dilute the concentration of heavy metals to acceptable levels.

Could these situations happen in Frontenac Park? Certainly (although, a golf course at the north end of the Park would be quite a challenging course). According to the Wildlands League, our protected lands are at risk mainly because of an outdated Ontario Provincial Parks Act, un-enacted policies, and conflicting objectives of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The Ontario Provincial Parks Act was last substantially revised in 1954, when there were only eight parks. The Act has not kept up with the challenges of today's society. To commence with, the poorly written purpose of the Act does not give the Act itself any teeth. The purpose, "All provincial parks are dedicated to the people of the Province of Ontario and others who may use them for their healthful enjoyment and education, and the provincial parks shall be maintained for the benefit of future generations in accordance with this Act and the regulations," was criticized in a 1973 court decision because it "does not establish a public trust which would obligate the government not to take actions that harmed parks". On a more serious level the purpose does not address maintaining and restoring ecological integrity of protected lands. This is of concern when recreational and economic interests conflict with maintaining ecological integrity. Conservation is addressed in one paragraph buried inside the Act, but it is not an overriding purpose of the Act. As a side note, the Act contains 222 words on stop signs, but only 69 words on conservation. That would be fine if those 69 words said anything of great importance, but they do not (basically, it is up to the Minister to take any actions that he or she sees proper to protect our ecosystem).

Another problem with the Act is that the existence of protected areas are at the whim of the Cabinet. If Frontenac Park is in the way of an economic development project the government wants to see happen, they can modify (or de-designate) the boundaries of a Park without any legally required public notification, consultation or review.

Unfortunately the Act views protected areas as islands of green land with no interconnectivity to their surrounding lands. Under the Act, there is little enforcement power to stop activities that have an adverse impact on protected areas. Frontenac Park is always under constant threat from activities outside of the Park, as was the case with a land severance request for private property on Labelle Lake. For over thirteen years, the Township of South Frontenac has protected this piece of property from development multiple times (and thereby protecting Frontenac Park). A recent land severance request was denied by the Township and unsuccessfully appealed by the applicant to the Ontario Municipal Board. Even though the land severance could lead to an adverse impact on the ecosystem of Frontenac Park, the Act did nothing to prevent such a severance (other factors resulted in the severance being denied).

In an attempt to fill the holes of the Act, numerous policies have been created. Unfortunately, policy is just policy, not enacted law. A new Act should embody those policies that are essential for the preservation of our protected land.

To further compound the problems of managing our protected land, the Ministry of Natural Resources has a conflicting mandate with no legislation in the Act to guide management priorities. At the same time, the Ministry of Natural Resources is expected to protect our lands, provide recreational opportunities, preserve outdoor natural and cultural heritage, and to promote tourism of our distinctive regions. It is impossible for Frontenac Park to achieve all these objectives. How can Frontenac Park increase tourism and provide recreational opportunities while protecting the lands? One frequent suggestion I hear is the need for more hiking trails and more campsites in Frontenac Park. More hiking trails and more campsites, means more visitors and more disturbance and degradation to Frontenac Park's ecosystem. Fortunately, preservation of Frontenac Park takes precedent over tourism and recreational opportunities, but that is because of policy, not because of priorities stated in the Act. The Ministry of Natural Resources has recognized that to achieve all the objectives of its mandate, they need to put the protection of our lands first. Who would want to visit a provincial park with polluted lakes, logged forests, and no wildlife?

There is a false sense of security that our protected lands are indeed protected for our future generations. I for one thought Frontenac Park was protected from intentional destruction (such as logging and development). How wrong I was after listening to the Wildlands League and further researching the matter.

The Wildlands League is attempting to fix some of the problems with preservation of protected lands by demanding a new Ontario Provincial Parks Act be legislated. Visit the Wildlands League website to learn more about problems with the current Act and what you can do to ensure our protected lands are indeed here for our future generations.

Paul Vickers



Here is a list of upcoming activities that maybe of interest to you. Please participate and tell your friends about them This logo * denotes Friends' sponsored activities Do not forget that you will need to purchase a daily vehicle or camping permit to take part in most of these activities. Contact the Park (376 3489) for more information.

* Thursday, January 1: Deadline for Submissions for Winter Newsletter We welcome your articles, letters, stories and photographs. Material should be sent to the Friends' address shown on the back page or e mailed to "". For electronic items, please send articles as Microsoft Word files with minimum formatting, and photographs as 180 dpi greyscale. If necessary/possible, please compress (zip) files before sending.

* Wednesday, March 31: Your Friends Membership Ends We need your support so please renew your membership for another year. And don't forget, renew early and have a chance to win the ever-popular Tilley hat!

* Saturday, April 17: Guide Trail Sweep The Volunteers/Guides will do general maintenance on the Park's trails to get them in top shape for our visitors. Bring a lunch & work gloves. A Chili supper will be served to all participants at the end of the day. Meet at the Trail Centre at 08:30 to 16:30; Contact the Park (376 3489) for details.

* Sunday, April 18: Spring Frog Walk Join the Friends on a leisurely walk to spot the various species of frogs. The trail will be chosen at in an effort to maximize the frog spotting potential for the day. Time will be approx. 2 1/2 hours. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30. Bring your binoculars, camera, drink, and snack.

* Monday, April 19: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

* Sunday, May 2: Spring Nature Walk Join the Friends on a leisurely walk to discover the flowers and animal life on the Doe Lake Loop (3 km). Bring your binoculars, camera, drink, snack and your bug repellent. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30.

* Monday, May 10: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

Saturday May 15 & Sunday May 16: Basic Wilderness First Aid Presented by SOLO Canada / Mr. Mark Halladay of Emergency Services, Kingston. This course, designed by Dr. Frank Hubble of the North American Rescue Institute, takes you beyond standard first aid. Cost $165.00 (GST included) per person plus park fee. Time: 08:30 to 16:30; Contact the Park at 376-3489 for further details and to register.

* Sunday, May 23: Morning Bird Walk Join the Friends for a walk on the Doe Lake Loop to the tune of the bird's chorus. Learn to identify the birds by their songs. Bring your binoculars, camera, drink, snack and your bug repellent. Meet at the Trail Centre at 08:00

Sunday, June 6: Canoe Clinic This presentation by the Cataraqui Canoe Club is for beginners and first time canoeists. Canoes, Paddles & PFD's are supplied. Cost is $15.00 per person plus park fee. Time: 10:00 to 16:00. See Park Tabloid for more details.

* Saturday, June 12: President's Paddle Join the Friends for a canoe trip on Birch Lake. The flotilla will depart at 10:00 from Mitchell Creek launch on Canoe Lake road, headed for campsite #8. Anticipated return is 16:00. See the note on President's Paddle for more details.

Sunday, June 13: Introduction to Wilderness Canoe Tripping Clinic Presented by Walter Sepic of Ryan Outdoor Education Centre. Learn about pre-trip planning, equipment, paddling/portaging, emergency response etc. Meet at the Trail Centre with your canoe, paddles & PFD's. Cost is $10.00 /person, $20.00 /family plus park fee. Time: 09:00 to 16:00. See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Monday, June 14: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

* Sunday, June 20: Summer Nature Walk Bring your family on this short walk on the Doe Lake Loop (3km) to examine the plant and animal life in the Park. Bring your binoculars, camera, drink, snack, sturdy shoes, and bug repellent. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30

Saturday, June 26: Moccasin Workshop This session is designed for individuals interested in making their own leather moccasins. Cost: $65.00 /person (plus G.S.T. & park fee) Time: 09:00 to 16:00 at the Trail Centre. See Park Tabloid for further details.

Saturday, June 26: O.R.C.A. Tandem A,B,C Flatwater Canoe Certification Course Presented by Sheila Ritter, Land o' Lakes Canoeing & Kayaking. Forms prerequisite for all subsequent canoeing certification. Successful participants receive badge, card and registration in O.R.C.A. Cost: $145.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 08:30 to 19:00 at the Trail Centre. See Park Tabloid for further details.

Sunday, June 27: Map & Compass Skills Presented by Survival in the Bush Inc. Covers map and compass use on land and water, stressing point to point orienteering. Cost: $65.00 /person (plus G.S.T. and park fee) Time: 09:00 to 16:00

Saturday, July 10: C.R.C.A. Flatwater Kayaking Certification Course Presented by Sheila Ritter, Land o' Lakes Canoeing & Kayaking. Forms prerequisite for all subsequent kayaking certification. Successful participants receive badge, card and registration in C.R.C.A. Cost: $105.00 /person (plus park fee) Time: 09:30 to 16:30. See Park Tabloid for further details.

Saturday, July 24 & Sunday July 25: Introduction to Sea Kayaking Course (C.R.C.A. Level 1 certification) Presented by Sheila Ritter, Land o' Lakes Canoeing & Kayaking. Will focus on equipment, safety and skills. Cost; $210.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 09:00 to 16:30 each day (two day course) See Park Tabloid for further details.

Sunday, August 15: Basic Kayaking Safety & Rescue Clinic Presented by Sheila Ritter, Land o' Lakes Canoeing & Kayaking. This clinic will focus on essential rescue techniques in shallow water and applying the skills in realistic deep water. Cost: $ 45.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 10:00 to 16:00 See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Sept. 1 to Oct. 31: Frontenac Challenge The Frontenac Challenge involves hiking all 160 km of the Park's trail network between September 1 and October 31. To meet the challenge, pick up a registration form and the specific trail information at the Trail Centre and then set out to hike through the autumn grandeur of Frontenac Park. Participants who complete the Challenge will receive a certificate at the Awards Banquet on Sunday November 7, at 10:30. So come out to Frontenac Park and take the Challenge!

* Wednesday, September 1: Deadline for Autumn Newsletter We welcome your articles, letters, stories and photographs. Material should be sent to The Friends address shown on the back page or e-mailed to: <> For electronic items, please sent articles as Microsoft Word files with a minimum of formatting, and photographs as 180 dpi greyscale. If necessary/possible, please compress (zip) files before sending.

* Monday, September 13: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

Saturday, September 18 and Sunday September 19: Basic Wilderness First Aid Course Presented by SOLO Canada / Mr. Mark Halladay of Emergency Services, Kingston. This course, designed by Dr. Frank Hubble of the North American Rescue Institute, takes you beyond standard first aid. Cost $165.00 (GST included) per person plus park fee. Time: 08:30 to 16:30; Contact the Park at 376-3489 for further details and to register.

* Sunday, September 19: Fall Nature Walk Join the Friends on this short walk to examine the flora and fauna found at the Park on the Doe Lake Loop (3km). Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30

* Saturday, September 25: Wilderness Navigation using Map and Compass Come and learn how to interpret and read topographical maps and then find your way in the wilderness using a variety of techniques and equipment. Cost $20.00 per person (plus GST and Park fee). Time: 09:30 to 16:00. Meet at the Trail Centre.


Wetlands and Waters

by Tom Marsh

Frontenac Park is especially rich in having a wide variety of wetlands that differ in size, chemistry, degree of permanence and associated plant and animal life. By definition, a wetland is an area of low lying land, submerged or inundated periodically by water. The Canadian Wetland Classification System currently recognizes five classes of wetlands listed in the table below.

Wetland Class and Characteristics - Source: National Wetland Working Group (1997)
Wetland Class Characteristics
Marsh Periodically or permanently flooded; absence of trees; emergent vegetation; usually high nutrient content.
Swamp Stagnant or slow-flowing pool; high nutrient content; usually covered with trees or shrubbery.
Bog Dense layer of peat; acidic; low nutrient content; water table at or near the surface; usually covered with mosses, shrubs and sedges; trees possibly present.
Fen Covered with peat; water table at or near the surface; higher nutrient content than bogs; vegetation usually characterized by sedges and grasses; trees and shrubs may or may not be present.
Shallow Waters Include basins, pools and ponds, as well as wetlands found beside rivers and shorelines; submerged vegetation, floating leaved plants.

Marshes are the most common wetlands in North America. They typically form around the shallow ends of lakes where their characteristic cattails form dense patches. Marshes provide important breeding areas for amphibians, waterfowl, songbirds and many species of fishes. They are also a major source of food for wildlife. A large marsh can be seen in the southwestern arm of Devil Lake near the mouth of Devil Lake Creek and a smaller one at the Boat Launch on Big Salmon Lake.

Swamps are characterized by the dominance of living trees or tall shrubs that are adapted to cope with seasonal flooding. Even if the surface water drains away, the substrate is permanently wet, making swamps important water reservoirs during periods of drought. Frogs, salamanders, wood ducks and northern waterthrush are just a few of the animals that use swamps for breeding and nesting. Big Salmon Lake Road crosses a mature deciduous swamp about halfway to Arab Lake Parking Lot.

Take time to discover the wonderful diversity of Frontenac's wetland habitats. Photo D. Hunter

Bogs receive their only water input from rain and snow; consequently they have very low nutrient content. Accumulated layers of dead plant material, or peat, usually cover the surface of the bog to a depth of several meters and there is often a ring of water around the perimeter. The formation of this dense layer of peat in cold, oxygen-free conditions causes the surrounding water to become acidic. Also, sphagnum moss, which is always present in bogs, releases organic acid into the water, adding to the acidification. Such conditions of high humidity, low nutrients, and acidity inhibit most plant life. However, certain specialized plants including heath shrubs such as leatherleaf, bog rosemary and cranberry; carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, sundews and bladderworts; and several species of orchids have evolved to thrive in bogs. On well developed peat mats, black spruce and tamarack trees are also able to take hold. The best example of a bog in Frontenac is the ring bog near Arkon Lake.

Fens are similar to bogs in that they also contain peat, but unlike bogs, fens have a wider variety of vegetation since waters reaching a fen have passed through mineral soil and consequently carry more nutrients. Although pH may vary, fens are typically less acidic than bogs, partly since fens are often located on calcareous bedrock. Colonies of orchids such as the showy lady's slipper and the fragrant white orchid often grow in fens, while various reptiles, especially turtles, make themselves at home here. Fens are relatively fragile habitats, easily abused and bearing their scars for long periods of time. Continued or heavy foot traffic by visitors can create channels that disturb the delicate water layer and seepage patterns. The Rathkopf Fen is located in the northeast portion of the Park.

Shallow waters abound in Frontenac. Vernal pools, often only a few meters in diameter, form in spring from rain and snow melt, filling natural depressions in woodlands. Although most are gone by early summer, these small pools provide important breeding sites for frogs, salamanders, aquatic insects and other invertebrates such as fairy shrimp. A network of small streams serve as natural outlets for larger water bodies and vital corridors for migrating animals such as turtles and fish. At the bends in these streams, during high water times, floodplains form, creating habitat for plants that require moist conditions. These include grasses, reeds, rushes and ferns like the narrow leaf glade fern which relies on these particular wetlands. Beaver ponds, created by the damming activity of this industrious rodent, are ideal places for amphibians, reptiles, small fish, muskrats, otter and mink. Also, many species of birds nest in the cavities of the remaining dead snags. Eventually beaver ponds revert to rich, wet meadows when the beavers move on, creating habitat for a whole new assemblage of plants and animals. Finally, Frontenac's many lakes provide endless shoreline wetlands creating a substrate for numerous species of rooted, submerged and floating aquatic plants.

As you're hiking or canoeing through Frontenac take time to notice how many different wetlands you encounter and consider the wonderful diversity of life these habitats permit.


Frontenac Challenge 800km Club (Five completed challenges under their boots)

What does this mean? The challenge was originally suggested by Park Superintendent Lloyd Chapman. He felt that perhaps people would be interested in hiking the entire trail system in the Park thereby completing 160 km of trails during the months of September and October. This is how the first Frontenac Challenge was born!

Over the last eleven years, more than 350 people have successfully completed the challenge (at least once) and some as many as all eleven times. Why don't you join us this year and enjoy the splendor of autumn in our very own park? If you are interested, you can pick up a registration form (which includes specific trail information) from the Trail Centre any time after mid August and throughout September and October.

Each year, scores of people set out to do "the challenge", some to complete it in the shortest time possible, some to get into shape, but most just to enjoy the atmosphere that the trails have to offer. For various reasons, others are quite happy to do only a part of the challenge. There is no pressure (except that self imposed) to complete the challenge. We also encourage you to attend the always popular Awards Barbecue, which this year will be held at the Trail Centre on November 7th, at 10:30 a.m. Plan to join us for some fine food and maybe win a door prize to take home!

Come on out and enjoy our gem of a park.


Ontario Parks Photo Contest

Your picture could be worth a thousand words or at least a digital camera...

It's only natural to take lots of pictures when you're in a provincial park. And the next picture you take on your park adventure could win you a high tech digital camera from a leading camera manufacturer, Pentax.

Ontario Parks, in partnership with Pentax and Harrowsmith Magazine, is seeking entries for its province-wide, Ontario Parks photo contest.

Capture the essence of your favorite Ontario provincial park(s) in one of four categories - Parks and People; Park Landscape; Park Wildlife; Park Flora. Your picture could win you one of many "must have" prizes and merchandise from the sponsors.

The contest will run all year, so take advantage of the four seasons and the beauty that each one holds!

So as you're filling up your pack, canoe, or pannier for a day of outdoor adventure, don't forget your camera and extra film. Start clicking away at Ontario's provincial parks and send in your best pictures and a completed entry form.

Visit for more details.


President's Paddle

By Paul Vickers

Everyone is welcome to join me on June 12 for the annual President's Paddle. The Paddle launches from the Mitchell Creek bridge at 10am, lunch at campsite 8, and then returning back by late afternoon. Please call or e-mail me for more information and to register.


Summer Vehicle Passes

Purchasers of a 2004 Ontario Parks summer vehicle pass will notice a familiar photo on the front of the pass. This year, the pass features the canoe launch at the west end of Big Salmon Lake on a beautiful blue sky day. You can purchase your summer (or winter or annual) Ontario Parks vehicle pass at the Trail Centre. The pass lets you enjoy "unlimited" daily vehicle entry to all Ontario Provincial Parks.


Trail Sweep

tools for the sweepSpring is here again and it's time to spruce up the place! Come join the Friends on our annual Spring Trail Sweep and help us get the trails in shape for our summer guests. See the Outside column for all the details.


Winter Camping Weekends

by Don Stables (photos by Harvey Guy)

Standing on a Quinze

With the coming of Spring, sadly we must say fair well to the Winter season. This past winter was an excellent one for the outdoors. We had a generous supply of snow as well as the cold weather to go along with it.Don Stables digging his quinze

This allowed us to have two excellent winter camping weekends at Frontenac Park that were held on February 7 and 8 and February 14 and 15. Both weekends the weather was in our favour with clear skies both days and nights with daytime highs at -10 and night time lows of -25. We hosted a total of 22 campers in all for the two weekends. This year our guests came from as far as away as Toronto & Ottawa as well as one visitor all the way from France.The Quinze Townsite

Our second weekend group, on return to the trail center on Sunday afternoon, were treated to an excellent hot meal supplied by Dora Hunter. Also, a special thanks goes out to the course leader, Erhard Frenzl.Starting the fire

If you are interested in joining us next year, drop by the Park Trail Centre this summer to see some of the photos of this year's trip, and then be sure to register early in the fall to assure yourself of a spot. If you have winter camping experience, and would like to assist in next years outings please contact the Park Trail Centre at 376-3489.

Fixing supper


We Need Your Help!

The Friends are looking for a few good people to lead future nature walks and if you have the qualifications and interest, we would love to hear from you.

Visit our Web site at to learn more about us and then if you feel you can help, drop us a note.

Friends of Frontenac Park
P.O. Box 2237 Kingston ON K7L 5J9


Winter Fun Day

On January 25, more than fifteen members and non-members participated in the annual Winter Fun Day at the park. The high was minus 17, but the weather was sunny. A large group of hikers, most of them with snowshoes, had a challenging trip on the Bufflehead trail. Two other groups went snowshoeing and skiing on the corridor trail. Fun ruled the day on the trail and in the Trail Centre, where participants visited in the front of the fire and munched on Joan McDuff's double chocolate cookies. Special thanks our leaders Erhard Frenzl, Don Stables, Dave Armitage, Cookie Cartwright, Nathan Nesdoly and Audrey Sanger. Peter Burbidge organized the day, saw to it that we had lots of snow but "sadly" was in Florida by the time the event took place. Well done, Peter!


The Winter Lecture Report

by Peter Burbidge

On February 10, 40 people enjoyed a PowerPoint presentation by Peter Burbidge and Jérôme McDuff on Peter's four and one half month trip to Canada's West Coast. The 21,000 km trip included colourful pictures of mountains, lakes, and glaciers while travelling the historic Alaska, Klondike, Glacier, Stewart-Cassier and Yellowhead Highways. Of special interest were the experiences hiking the Chilkoot Trail, the Skyline Hikers Camp, and the West Coast Trail.

The Chilkoot Trail is a 55 km hike from Dyea Alaska to Bennett Lake BC. This 200 year old trail was first used by the natives as a trading route and later as the main access route to Dawson City via the Yukon River during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. In the presentation Peter compared the trials and tribulations of the prospectors carrying 2000 lbs of food and equipment over this 1200 metre pass during the winter of 1898 with his 5 day hike with 45 lb pack in July! This trail is an international heritage park, a joint program of Canada and the US. The trail follows the scenic Taiya River up to the Summit where there is a memorial to the aboriginal traders and the Klondike prospectors. Many people and animals lost their life on this trail and those who survived got to Dawson City to find that most of the claims had already been staked. Peter also told the story of a local Skagway bartender he met who hiked the trail in 17 hours straight and ended up staying overnight in a "privy" because, once he got to the end of the trail late at night, there was no way back to town.

The Skyline Hikers is a non-profit volunteer club that hosts 5 one week camps in the Canadian Rockies each summer. The participants are provided with tents with wood stoves, meals, a choice of 5-7 guided hikes each day, and their gear is transported to camp by horsepack. Each year the camps change location on a 5-7 year rotation. This group is one of three clubs allowed to operate group activities in the National Parks. Peter and his wife Ann, and friend Jane Kitchen attended the camp held at Molar Pass 7 km off the Columbia Icefields Highway, 25 km north of Lake Louise. The hiking is varied with alpine meadows, gentle climbs through the Molar Pass and steep assents to 8000 ft elevation from the campsite at 6000 ft. elevation.

The West Coast Trail is a 75 km hike on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the Pacific Rim National Park. This trail was originally developed during the installation of a telegraph line which would serve a trans pacific route to the West. It later was improved to allow the rescue of persons shipwrecked along the treacherous coast of Vancouver Island. After many years it fell into disrepair and the Sierra Club finally upgraded it for a recreational trail and the Federal Government took responsibility as part of the Pacific Rim National Park. This trail is world renown and a fairly busy route with up to 26 people starting each day from the north trailhead at Bamfield and the south trailhead at Port Renfrew. The dense rainforest, spectacular old growth trees, waterfalls and ocean vistas make this a memorable hike. The trail has over 30 steep ladders (the highest has 200 rungs in all), 5 cable cars, 95 bridges, 2 suspension bridges, about 15 km of boardwalks, and two ferries. While this trail is sometimes called the "Wet Coast trail," this hike was dry, although even without rain, the amount of mud and slippery slopes was significant.

While no number of pictures can give the sense of awe and wonder of being on a mountain top, traversing a mountain stream, walking along a felled 700 year old Sitka Spruce bridge of 3m diameter, coming upon a bear, walking in history's footsteps, or traversing icefields, the presentation did give a taste of what summer can bring, on a cold February evening in Kingston.

Many thanks to Peter and Jérôme for all their hard work in producing such an enjoyable evening!


Frontenac Park Postcards

Send memories of your Frontenac Park visit to your family and friends on Frontenac Park's new postcards. All three postcards are available for purchase from the Trail Centre.


Members in good standing of The Friends can enjoy a discount of 10% off regular price merchandise (except canoes, kayaks and MEC price-matched items) at The Peak Experience. The Peak Experience is Kingston's only locally owned outdoor store and is located at 166 Wellington at Brock and 795 Gardiners Road at Taylor Kidd. Present your Friends membership card with photo identification at your next visit to The Peak Experience.

Your membership with The Friends also entitles you to a 15% discount at Novel Idea, a Kingston owned bookstore, located at 156 Princess Street.