THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE FRIENDS OF FRONTENAC PARK
Autumn 2004 Number 40


A Bridge Not Underwater Anymore

Faye on a sinking bridge Building the new bridge

Mr Don Fraser funded the bridgeYou may have noticed that beaver activity at a swamp just south of Clearwater Lake on the Tetsmine Lake loop has been particularly aggressive. Combined with high spring water levels, a bridge crossing the swamp ends up slightly underwater. While it can be crossed with care, traversing a flooded bridge is never pleasant.

With a generous donation from Mr. Don Fraser, your feet will not get wet crossing this bridge next spring. Mr. Fraser, a regular user of the Park and a good neighbour of Frontenac Park, noticed the flooding and came to The Friends with a solution to the problem. He would donate the materials to fix the bridge if The Friends would provide the labour. After ecological studies by Ontario Park, permission was granted for the work to proceed.

Thank you to Mr. Fraser for returning a favour to nature.

The new bridge another view of the new bridge

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Notice of Annual General Meeting

Sunday November 7:

All members are invited to attend the Friends’ AGM

to start at 13h00 at the Trail Centre

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President's Message

When nature calls, you may have noticed the privies of Frontenac Park smelling a little nicer. Look closely (not down the hole though) you will see one of those car pine air fresheners dangling in the privy. So… why in the world did your Board of Directors spend money on purchasing air fresheners for the privies of Frontenac Park?

A few very dedicated volunteers of The Friends help Park Staff to keep Frontenac’s interior privies in good condition. These volunteers, going above and beyond what is expected of our volunteers, hike and canoe the park with a small cache of toilet cleaning supplies in their pack. I’ve hiked with these people and I usually end up filing empty space in my day pack with several rolls of toilet paper (I’ve assumed they were for the privies and they weren’t suggesting that I may need that much TP on our day hike). When passing a campsite cluster, they give the privy a quick clean. Ten minutes later and you would think that the Park has maid service (but as the poster in the washrooms at the Trail Centre reminds you, there is no maid service at the Park).

My first hike with one of these dedicated volunteers puzzled me why they would want to voluntarily clean privies (we don’t ask our volunteers to clean privies). Since becoming President, I’ve always told our Board that we, and our volunteers, will only undertake projects in the Park that we have the time for and we enjoy doing. If the project doesn’t meet these criteria, we don’t do the project. These volunteers may have time to clean privies, but do they enjoy doing it? Actually, yes.

A very simple premise --- a clean privy will be used, a messy privy will not be used. And when visitors won’t use the privy, white mounds of toilet paper dot the periphery of the campsite. I’ve visited a campsite in the park where visitors to the park refused to use the privy, even when it was clean. It is disheartening to see the pristine beauty of Frontenac Park tarnished by inconsiderate visitors. While that visitor has returned to the comfort of his or her home, the next visitors arrive to find their campsite decorated with toilet paper. Our volunteers enjoy seeing visitors enjoy a toilet paper-free campsite and not having their favourite park become a 52 square kilometre outhouse.

In August, I spent two nights in the interior of Algonquin Park. At the first campsite, I got to experience a “treasure chest” privy for the first time. These privies are a wooden box placed over a hole in the ground. A wood top covers the seat hole. You have to make sure your singing voice is in good condition at these campsites. With the treasure box concept, there is no odour that would discourage people from using them. On the downside, I imagine these aren’t fun to sit upon when it is raining.

The facilities at our next campsite were non-existent. We couldn’t locate any form of privy, although, plenty of evidence could be found to indicate there was no privy. White mounds dotted the periphery of our campsite, and you had to be careful where you walked.

While Frontenac’s spaceship type privies may not win an award for glamour, they do work, and work fantastically well when they are clean and smell nice. No privies at all would definitely not work in Frontenac Park, particularly at the high use clusters. The treasure chest privies are cheap, easy to build, move and maintain, but wouldn’t work well in Frontenac’s campsite cluster concept with four groups of people sharing the same privy (your signing voice would definitely have to be in good condition). While a flush toilet at campsite 8 would be nice, I don’t foresee Lloyd having his staff hauling the porcelain into the interior of the Park any time soon. Given all the options, Frontenac has hit a happy medium with the privies we have. They also come equipped with reading material (the Park rules are posted next to the toilet paper dispenser).

So, why did our Board purchase air fresheners? To try and encourage more people to use the privies, rather than the big maple tree at the back of the campsite. Our dedicated volunteers, along with Park Staff, help keep the privies clean, but an air freshener helps to make them smell nice, and hence, encourage people to use them.

The next time you’re in Frontenac Park, return a favour to nature by letting bears, raccoons and deer (and other animals) being the only ones doing it in the woods.

Paul Vickers

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Outside

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.

* 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 !

* 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.

* Saturday, Saturday October 16: 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.

* Monday, October 18: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

October 31: This is usually the date that the Salmon Lake Road gate closes for the winter.

* Sunday November 7: Frontenac Challenge Awards Barbecue Registered participants will receive a certificate of achievement, share stories and chow down on hot dogs, including vegetarian fare, cooked by the Friends. Donations will be gratefully received. Meet at the Trail Centre for 10:30.

* Sunday November 7: Annual General Meeting All members are invited to attend the Friends’ AGM to start at 13:00 at the Trail Centre. The minutes of the last AGM will be posted at 12:30. Why not come early and join us for the Challenge BBQ? This will give you an opportunity to meet the Challenge participants.

* Monday, November 15: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00

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

* Saturday January 1: Deadline 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: harvguy@kos.net 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, January 10: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 125 at 19:00


Looking ahead to winter

The Friends are planning to hold the following events:

Check www.frontenacpark.ca, the Winter newsletter, local newspapers, or the Trail Centre for dates and times of these upcoming events.

Don’t forget to plan on joining us for one of the always popular winter camping weekends in February!

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Campsite availability on the web

Now you can check the availability of campsites at your favourite provincial park at the Ontario Parks website (www.ontarioparks.ca). This is a great website to check campsite availability if you decide at the last minute that you want to go camping this weekend. At a glance, you can see if Frontenac Park, or other provincial parks, have available campsites. Of course, the best solution to ensure campsite availability is to make a reservation several weeks (or months) in advance.

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Mitchell Creek Bridge protecting Frontenac Park

By Paul Vickers

Mitchell Creek bridgeMitchell Creek bridge rustIt is only a small one lane bridge, but Mitchell Creek Bridge on Canoe Lake Road does a big job in protecting the ecology of Frontenac Park. Because of its low navigable clearance, the bridge limits the size of boats that can easily enter Birch and Kingsford Lakes, two lakes that form the north west boundary of Frontenac Park. But that low navigable clearance may not exist for much longer. The Township of South Frontenac is considering various alternatives for rehabilitating or replacing the current deteriorated bridge, including raising the navigable clearance of the bridge.

The Friends of Frontenac Park have made a written submission encouraging the Township of South Frontenac to maintain the current navigable clearance of the new bridge. The Friends are concerned that an increase in human presence from more boats being able to enter Birch and Kingsford Lakes would result in increase shoreline erosion from the powerful wakes of large boats, potential unauthorized clearing of weeds and trees from Mitchell Creek to allow easier access to the lakes, disturbance of boundary wildlife, increased entrance to Frontenac Park from undesignated entry points, greater potential for unauthorized camping and enforcement concerns, increase in fishing pressure on the lakes, and a potential reduction of visitors to Frontenac Park as a result of the loss of their near-wilderness experience Frontenac Park currently provides.

While the bridge is located outside of Frontenac Park, it is important that the Mayor and Councilors not view our protected lands as islands of isolated green space. A well managed and protected boundary is required for the long-term ecological sustainability and integrity of our protected lands.

Mitchell Creek bridge Mitchell Creek bridge

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The Friends Host Friends Regional Meeting

On April 24, The Friends of Frontenac Park hosted a meeting for Friends of Ontario Parks organizations located in Eastern Ontario. Representatives and Superintendents from eight Friends organizations started the day with a round table discussion of getting to know our neighbours, sharing our achievements, suggesting solutions to problems, and discussing ways to enhance and improve our favourite provincial parks. Gary Forma, Tourism/Marketing/Partnerships Coordinator of Ontario Parks, joined us for the day to provide us with an update from Ontario Parks and answer many of our questions. After a delicious lunch, catered by Hillside Coffee Shop, representatives enjoyed workshops on natural history and research projects in our provincial parks, media relations, and Ontario Nature.

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Your $$ at Work

tree plantingOn May 2nd of this year, several Friends members along with members of the general public joined together with park staff to take part in a tree-planting bee in the Park. Several hundred spruce, pine and maple seedlings were purchased with a $250.00 donation by The Friends and were then planted at selected locations along various trails throughout the park. Although it was a cool and wet spring day, the bugs were not quite in full force yet, so it still turned out to be a most enjoyable day. The feeling of helping ensure the parks continued well being in this small way was most rewarding.

Plan to join us in the future for similar outings in the Park.

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Volunteers handling dead animals

The Board of Directors unanimously agreed at its June 2004 meeting that volunteers of The Friends of Frontenac Park are not to handle dead animals. Volunteers who find dead animals are to report the find to the Park Office, who will then follow the Ministry of Natural Resources’ policy for handling dead animals.

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Trail Sweep

broomFall is almost upon us again and it’s time to spruce up the place!

Come join the Friends on our annual Fall Trail Sweep and help us get the trails back into shape after a busy summer season. See the Outside column for all the details.

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Presidents Paddle

By Paul Vickers

It didn’t rain! The fourth annual President’s Paddle was blessed with sunshine. The first three Paddles have been plagued with rain, including one year where Ivan DeRome, the President at the time, cancelled his paddle because of heavy and persistent rain. While the water still had a bit of the winter chill left in it, the beautiful sunshine kept everyone happy.

Although the Paddle is officially a one day event, many people turn it into a three day event. A few people enjoyed a quiet paddle down Mitchell Creek to campsite 8 on Friday morning, including Ivan in his homemade boat with his ingenious bear barrel. I arrived a few hours later to find Ivan and company safely on shore enjoying lunch.

With nesting loons near the campsite, the still night was filled with the echoing calls of the loons.

Saturday morning broke with beautiful sunshine. As the President’s Paddle officially starts Saturday morning, I canoed back to the Mitchell Creek Bridge, along with a few other hardy paddlers, to greet other paddlers taking in the beauty of Frontenac Park just as spring starts turning into summer. While waiting at the bridge, we conducted our own informal survey on the condition of the bridge (wondering if Jérôme’s canoe tied to it was safe).

The afternoon was spent hiking the trails to Multon Gorge to inspect the huge beaver dam, swimming in the chilly waters of Birch Lake, and enjoying the company of good friends.

A brisk wind (of course, it was against us -- have you ever canoed with the wind in your favour?) greeted us Sunday morning for our return trip.

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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 www.frontenacpark.ca 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

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Tilley Hat Winner

The winner of our Tilley Hat early membership renewal contest was Chris Cannon. Chris had her membership in for the 2004/05 year by March 31 and was therefore eligible for the draw. Thank you to all our new and renewing members for promptly returning their memberships.

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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.

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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.

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