THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE FRIENDS OF FRONTENAC PARK
Winter 2005 Number 42


Historical Walk on Salmon Lake Road

Covered wagonBy Jérôme McDuff

Chris Barber, one of the authors of the book Their Enduring Spirit - the History of Frontenac Provincial Park, used to lead a historical walk down Salmon Lake Road on Ontario Hiking Day. Regrettably, Chris stopped offering the walk around 1996. I had the good fortune of attending one of Chris's walks and found it very interesting. In a mystic sort of way, it has changed forever the way I travel the Salmon Lake Road.

I feel it is important to remember those who toiled where we now play. So it made sense that the Friends should revive these walks to educate visitors about the human history of the Park. To help, I volunteered to lead the first of these walks.

Mark Sunday 09-October-2005 on your calendar because you are invited to join in this event. Please meet at the Trail Centre theatre at 11h00 for a short introduction on the history of the Park. After the presentation, the guided walk will move from the Trail Centre down the Salmon Lake Road past the site of the Kemp, David, Babcock and Sigsworth farms. The "traveling-talking show" will finish at the site of the Trails End Lodge on Big Salmon Lake.

The walk is about 7 km return and we should be back at the Trail Centre by 16h00. If there is enough demand, we could try to arrange transportation from Big Salmon Lake back to the Trail Centre.

If you need more information please e-mail me at jerome_mcduff@yahoo.ca or leave a message at the Trail Centre.

Please register ahead by calling the Park at (613) 376-3489. See you there rain or shine.

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President's Paddle

By Paul Vickers

Everyone is welcome to join my lovely canoeing partner, Angela, and me on June 11 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. For those who really like being in the company of the President (I know there's one or two people out there who do), there is the option of joining me on Friday evening at campsite 8 and returning back on Sunday. Please call or e-mail me for more information and to register.

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President's Message

Every few years in life there is a defining event which stands out; an event you remember the exact date of, and an event which is a pivotal moment of your life. Frontenac Park is no different. Since the adoption of the first Master Plan in June 1975, Frontenac Park has had its own life-defining events. With new provincial legislation to be tabled, a new Park Management Plan being drafted, and increasing financial pressure, 2005 is going to be an historic year that shapes Frontenac Park for many years to come.

This is the year that the Government of Ontario is expected to introduce new legislation for our parks and protected areas. It was 1954, when there were only eight protected areas, that the Provincial Parks Act was last reviewed and updated. Over a period of 50 years, the population's environmental consciousness has resulted in Ontario protecting 316 provincial parks and 249 conservation reserves covering a total area of 8.7 million hectares. Unfortunately, the legislation that protects our protected lands is no longer adequate for today's environmental and economic challenges.

In the fall of 2004, the recently elected provincial government announced its review of the current protected land legislation by launching a series of public consultations that sought comments on their proposed legislation. The most significant of the legislative proposals is the overriding requirement that the protection and maintenance of ecological integrity comes first. Activities will only be permitted if they do not undermine the ecological integrity of the protected area. This is in sharp contrast to the current legislation which says very little about maintaining ecological integrity or protection of our natural environment, but encourages multiple (often conflicting) uses of the protected lands.

Frontenac Park's new Management Plan should see significant activity in 2005. A park's Management Plan is probably the most important document for each individual park since it details the direction for the protection, development, management and use of a park's resources for approximately 20 years. With Frontenac Park's current Management Plan approaching 30 years in age, it is long overdue for a major overhaul. The original Management Plan was created at a time when Frontenac Park was little more than a wilderness outpost with a poor access road, no Trail Centre, three trails marked with flagging tape, no interior campsites, and a few thousand visitors a year. Since then, over 30,000 visitors a year now enjoy a network of 160 kilometres of well maintained and marked trails, 48 interior campsites, drivable roads, and a Trail Centre complete with interpretative displays and frequent wilderness skill courses.

Stage two of a four stage process that results in the final new Frontenac Park Management Plan will be carried out this year. In the spring, Ontario Parks is expecting to release the Background and Information Report, and later in the year, the Issues and Plan Alternatives document will be released. Stage two is the most important stage of the process as this is when all the information, research, and public opinion combine in one place that forms the basis for Frontenac Park's Preliminary Management Plan. The Friends of Frontenac Park have commented on stage one and will comment on the second and subsequent stages.

While The Friends are pleased that Ontario Parks is finally updating the Management Plan, it is disappointing that the current plan is approaching 30 years old. Although, we would rather see a well developed and useful Management Plan than a hastily assembled one that jeopardizes the ecological integrity of Frontenac Park for the next 20 years. On the upside, we are thankful that Frontenac Park's Management Plan is one of Ontario Parks' Management Plans being updated. According to a recent report of the Provincial Auditor of Ontario, the number of parks with a Management Plan that had not been reviewed in the last 10 years has increased from 68 to 90 in two years. Ontario Parks has implemented a system to address this issue, including a process for focusing on those parks with high risk of potential ecological stress.

Money is going to be a major concern going forward. The Government of Ontario has its own financial problems and spending on the environment is not the major priority of the current government. At an Ontario Trails Strategy consultation workshop, Tim Peterson, Parliamentary Assistant for the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, specifically stated the government's priorities are health care and education. The Government will not be infusing the Ministry of Natural Resources with millions of extra dollars in the near future. While it is satisfying to see the MNR's operating expenses increasing from $482 million in fiscal 2001 to $627 million in fiscal 2004, it is disturbing to read in last year's Ontario budget that the MNR's operating expenses is planned to be $590 million for fiscal 2005 ($37 million less than the prior year). It doesn't get any better with the Government wanting to shave $750 million a year from its programs by fiscal 2008. You can see the budget cuts creeping into the MNR's Summer Experience Program for youth (Frontenac Park hires several summer students through this program). In 2004, the MNR hired 1,628 students through the program, while a recent press release states that MNR plans to hire "more than 1,500" students in 2005. I agree with health care and education being the Government's main priorities, but they should keep the environment a very close third priority.

Life is not going to get any easier for the MNR and Ontario Parks. The responsibilities of the MNR and Ontario Parks keep growing, but with fewer dollars to support these responsibilities. The proposed legislation for our protected lands will significantly increase their responsibilities, and it doesn't end there. Throw in the backlog of projects, more protected lands, and the never ending list of certain people and businesses having disregard for our environment, you end up with a recipe for an overburdened ministry and Ontario Parks that will receive failing marks on everything they are responsible for because they do not have the funding to adequately carry out all of their responsibilities.

One solution to the funding issue has been to make Ontario Parks a more self-funded program. In other words, users of the parks cover the cost of operating the Ontario Parks programs. I agree with this, to some extent. All private campgrounds have to be financially self-sufficient, so it is appropriate that the same should apply to Ontario Parks. The only problem is that, unlike private campgrounds, Ontario Parks mandate extends beyond the scope of providing camping and recreational facilities, namely protection of significant elements of the natural and cultural landscape of Ontario. Ontario Parks provides services to all Ontarians. The Government has reduced its funding of Ontario Parks from 25% in 2002 to 20% in 2004, and from what I am reading, I would expect the Government's funding to continue to decrease. A premium on park fees to cover some costs of protecting the environment is appropriate as we visit our parks to enjoy the natural environment, but the Government should continue to adequately fund protection costs of Ontario Parks for the benefit of all Ontarians.

A windfall for the MNR and Ontario Parks could be found in the upcoming Provincial Budget, as Parks Canada found in the recent Federal Budget. The Federal Budget contained an extra $209 million over five years to improve public infrastructure in Canada's national parks. It would be nice to see the Provincial Government provide funding to Ontario Parks to assist with the estimated $420 million needed to bring their current capital infrastructure up to a satisfactory state. The anticipated events of 2005 will be pivotal moments in the life of Frontenac Park, for the good or bad. They will either bring long-term ecological integrity and protection of Frontenac Park, or long-term worry and concern over the future and preservation of our protected lands.

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.

* Thursday, 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 9: Volunteer/Guide/Host Training Would you like to volunteer at the Park? Come to this training session offered by the Park staff and the Friends at the Trail Centre. Time: 09:00 to 15:30; Contact the Park (376 3489) for details.

* Monday, April 11: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Room 121 at 19:00

* Saturday, April 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.

* Sunday, April 17: Spring Frog Walk Join the Friends on a leisurely walk to spot the various species of frogs. The trail will be chosen at the time in an effort to maximize the frog spotting potential. Time will be approx. 2.5 hours. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30. Bring your binoculars, camera, drink, and snack.

Saturday, April 30: Hike Leader Certification Presented by David Armitage of Hike Ontario,Toronto. This popular Hike Ontario Standard Course for hike leaders covers such topics as: risk and incident management, hike planning, clothing etc.. See Park Tabloid for further details. Cost $55.00 per person plus park fee. Time: 09:00 to 16:00

* Sunday, May 8: 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 9: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Room 121 at 19:00

* Sunday, May 15: Trail Centre Clean Up Join the Friends and help spruce up both the inside and outside of the Park's nerve centre. Bring a drink, lunch and your bug repellent. Meet at the Trail Centre at 08:00.

Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15: 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 16:15; Contact the Park at 376-3489 for further details and to register.

Sunday, June 5: 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 11: 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 Presidentís Paddle for more details.

Saturday, June 11: 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 $25.00 /person, $40.00 /couple, $50.00 /family plus park fee. Time: 09:00 to 16:00. See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Monday, June 13: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

Saturday, June 25: Moccasin Workshop Presented by Survival in the Bush Inc. 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 25: 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: $150.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 08:30 to 19:00 at the Trail Centre. See Park Tabloid for further details.

Sunday, June 26: Map and 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 9: 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: $110.00 /person (plus park fee) Time: 08:30 to 17:30. See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Sunday, July 10: Summer Nature Paddle Bring your family on this short canoe trip into the Park. Bring your own Canoes, Paddles & PFD's drink, snack, and bug repellent. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12:30. Contact the Park (376 3489) for more details.

Sunday, July 10: Solo Canoeing Safety and Skills, O.R.C.A. Flatwater D Certification Course Presented by Sheila Ritter, Land o' Lakes Canoeing & Kayaking. Recommended for those wishing to improve their solo skills. Successful participants receive badge, card and registration in O.R.C.A. Cost: $85.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 09:30 to 16:30 at the Trail Centre. See Park Tabloid for further details.

Saturday, August 13 and Sunday August 14: 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; $220.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 09:00 to 16:30 each day (two day course) See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Monday, August 22: 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: 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.

* 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 13, at 10:30. So come out to Frontenac Park and take the Challenge !

* Monday, September 12: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

* Sunday, September 18: 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 24: 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: 09:00 to 16:00. Meet at the Trail Centre.

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Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics

By Peter Burbridge

You can help preserve Frontenac Park as you enjoy it by leaving no trace of your visit to the Park. While you hike, you can follow a few guidelines to ensure that the trails, portages and campsites and the whole park will be left as natural as possible for others to enjoy safely. As the number of park visitors increases each year, it becomes even more important to give serious consideration to the following ideas.

If you packed it in, pack it out. This means everything including biodegradable items. Apple cores and banana peels etc., while they might breakdown over time, should not be left in the Park. Animals can become dependent upon them and they attract animals to places where they might not otherwise frequent. While one apple core under a rock may seem innocent enough, if everyone left a scrap of food on each trip to the park, this would soon become a serious problem. Hikers and campers are all encouraged to carry a bag and pick up after themselves and others, leaving the Park cleaner for others who follow.

Use a Privy (Outhouse) Whenever Possible. If you cannot wait to use a privy (at some trailheads and all campsites), dispose of human waste in a "cat hole" six inches deep and at least one hundred feet (30 meters) away from water sources. Pack out toilet paper and tissues.

Personal Sanitary Hygiene Items (Napkins, Tampons, Diapers). While few of these items may be placed in a "cat-hole" it would be better to carry a personal trash bag for this purpose and dispose in a garbage container at the trailhead.

Stay on the Footpath. Short cuts and bushwacking can cause environmental damage from soil compaction, vegetation damage and erosion. By staying on the designated paths, you won't be damaging the flora and fauna of the Park. Side trails can be confusing for people new to the park and someone may become lost. Snow melt and heavy rain creates extremely muddy trails and makes them vulnerable to damage from foot traffic which is often compounded when hikers walk beside the trail to avoid the mud. If the trail is so muddy that you have to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn back, and seek an alternative area to hike. Compaction and trail damage can be minimized by stepping on rocks and roots when this can be done safely. It is best to have a good pair of waterproof hiking boots that can withstand the rocks, mud, and roots prevalent in the Park.

Sticks and Stones. While walking sticks can ease pressure on knees and hips and provide some security on wet bridges or steep grades, they also cause erosion every time the sharp end digs into the ground turning up a small amount of earth. Use sticks sparingly and only as a necessary aid in difficult situations for balance or for medical reasons. To reduce erosion use blunt ended hiking poles or purchase a rubber cap to cover the sharp end of the stick. Do not build rock cairns or inukshuks. Where signage is difficult, the building of these is to be left to the trail maintenance staff where for safety purposes. Removal of rocks leads to erosion and disturbance of the ecosystem. Cairns built for the fun of it have led some hikers in the wrong direction.

Camping. Camp only in designated campsites for which you are registered, and minimize the impact as much as possible. Use a camp stove for cooking as this preserves the woods around the campsite and is safer than campfires in the firepit. If there is no fire ban or fire restriction and you do make a fire, it must be in the firepit provided. Purchase wood from the Park Office and keep fires small. If you use campsite wood, use only dead fallen wood. Before you leave the campsite or go to sleep, let your fire burn down to ashes and put it out with a generous amount of water and stir with a stick until it is cold to the touch.

Washing Yourself and Dishes. Do not wash dishes in the lakes or streams. It is preferable to wash without soap, but if you do, use a biodegradable soap and deposit used wash or dish water in the privy. Small amounts of biodegradable food scraps can be placed in the privy as well.

Leave What You Find. Everything in provincial parks is protected! Take pictures. Preserve the past, observe, but do not touch cultural or historic structures or remove artifacts. Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them. Do not build structures, lean-to's, furniture or dig trenches.

Pets Are Best Left at Home. If you bring a dog or other pet along, make sure it is well trained and under control at all times. Keep it away from water sources such as beaches and swimming areas. Pets must be on a 2 metre or less leash at all times. Make sure your pet does not chase any animals, damage any property or jump on other hikers. Pets must not disturb any other park visitors or make excessive noise at any time. You must pack out the "doggie doo" and place in a park garbage container at the trailhead. Doggie bags are available at the Trail Centre. Please advise the park staff of the name and breed of your pet at the time of registration.

While these guidelines may seem onerous to some, they are common sense to many. Parks and trail systems across the country are adopting stringent "No Trace" principles to ensure our continued enjoyment of our parks and trails and for the protection of nature and the environment. Additional information on Park Rules and Regulations can be found in the Park Tabloid and on the Park Map.

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The Friends' Projects for 2005

By Paul Vickers

In my Winter President's Message, I mentioned that the Board of Directors has taken a new approach this year to managing and operating The Friends of Frontenac Park. One of those changes was to hold a special project selection meeting in December to identify the projects that the Board would like to achieve this year. After narrowing a potential list containing over 40 projects, your Board of Directors has decided to undertake five projects this year.

  1. Suffering from thousands of visitors each year, the Doe Lake and Arab Lake Gorge trails are starting to show their age. To reduce and repair the impact of human presence on the trails, the Board is planning to undertake a major rehabilitation project of the two trails. If our grant applications are successful, over the next two years we hope to repair bridges, install new bridges over areas that are prone to flooding, install benches at scenic locations, lay cedar chips, replace erosion steps on hills, and install a trailhead sign.
  2. Another trail improvement project focuses on the Corridor Trail, although, you'll have to visit the Park in the winter to notice the improvements. The Board will endeavor to make the Corridor Trail more cross-country ski friendly by installing ramps at the end of boardwalks and making other ski-friendly modifications to the trail.
  3. Most campers in Frontenac Park usually leave with a story to tell upon their return home of the critters that visited their campsite at night for a late night snack. In hope of ensuring that the stories end with the critters being unsuccessful, members of the Board will be researching ways to keep animals away out of campers' food, such as poles or lockers. The Board will submit a report on their research to Ontario Parks, who are also concurrently researching this issue to establish a policy for all provincial parks.
  4. The second phase of the new Park Management Plan is expected to be released this year. Reading, studying, research and commenting on the Park Management Plan has been selected as a project for this year. As this is a guiding document for possibly the next twenty years, the Board determined that the Park Management Plan should be an identified project for this year.
  5. Continuing from last year, the Board hopes to have a fourth edition interior map published this year. The map committee has been feverishly putting the finishing touches on the map in hopes that it will be on the presses just before our current stock runs out in the next few months.

While a dedicated Board is putting many hours into the realization of these projects, your help with carrying out these projects would be greatly appreciated. Please help The Friends return a favour to nature by helping us with these projects. If you want to help us with one (or more) of these projects, please contact the Trail Centre or me.

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Frontenac Challenge

Don't forget to visit Frontenac Park this fall for the 12th Annual Frontenac Challenge. This popular event has hikers enjoying the fall colours of Frontenac Park by hiking all of the Park's 160 kilometers of trails within the months of September and October.

You can join The Friends of Frontenac to celebrate Ontario Hiking Day and complete a loop at the same time by hiking Big Salmon Lake with us. This guided hike, lead by our own Michael Doyle, will start at 8:30am on October 2 at the Trail Centre. A celebration BBQ will be held on November 13 to recognize everyone who successfully conquered the Challenge. All hikers will receive a certificate of achievement and those completing the Challenge fifth or tenth time will have their name permanently engraved on a plaque.

I have often remarked to people that I can't take the credit for our success. Our dedicated volunteers have earned this well deserved reputation and respect. Our volunteers donate nearly 2,000 hours of their time to Frontenac Park each year, and those are the hours that we know about. Frontenac Park is a beautiful place to visit, but the work of our volunteers make Frontenac Park a special place to visit.

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Trail Centre Spruce-Up Day

broomJoin The Friends of Frontenac Park on May 15 to help spruce-up the Trail Centre and surrounding lands before our summer visitors arrive. We'll remove the winter blahs with a good clean-up of the lands and the interior of the Trail Centre. Bring your work gloves and enthusiasm for the day. The Friends will provide lunch.

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Mitchell Creek Bridge not protecting Frontenac Park anymore?

By Paul Vickers

Mitchell Creek bridgeIt 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 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, not if Transport Canada gets its way.

Built over 70 years ago, the bridge is in desperate need of repairs. About a year ago, the Township of South Frontenac hosted an open house to discuss the repairs with concerned citizens. The Township sought the public's opinion on the various options of how they should repair or replace the bridge, including increasing the navigable clearance. The Friends of Frontenac Park are concerned that an increase in navigable clearance will lead to an increase in human presence on Birch and Kingsford Lakes. This would result in 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 and wildlife habitat on Mitchell Creek, 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 diminished near-wilderness experience that Frontenac Park currently provides.

The Friends attended the 2004 open house and made a written submission encouraging the Township of South Frontenac to maintain the current navigable clearance of the new bridge. At the time, it looked promising that the bridge would be maintained at its current height. A large majority of concerned parties were in support of maintaining the bridge at its current height, including the Township who were happy with the lower cost option being favoured at the same time as being environmentally friendly.

Everything looked to be going well until Transport Canada became involved. This winter, they wrote to the Township advising them that under the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA), the navigable clearance of the bridge must be at least 1.5 meters above the June average water level. In summary, the NWPA states that nothing will be constructed on navigable waters that will prevent the waters from being navigable. The NWPA is ignorant of any environmental concerns. Transport Canada wants the waters to be navigable irrespective of nearby loon nests that the wake of a powerful boat will destroy. Besides the environmental issues, Transport Canada is ignoring the wishes of the public and Township who want their little bridge to stay as a little bridge.

The Friends of Frontenac Park are working with the Ministry of Natural Resources to try to prevent Mitchell Creek Bridge from being raised, but it is likely to be a difficult argument given the overriding force of the NWPA and the multi-jurisdictions involved.

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The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage

By Peter Burbidge

On a cold winter February 15, over 90 people attended the Friends of Frontenac Winter Lecture for 2005. This year's presentation entitled "Hiking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage in Spain," was given by Joan Bailey, Audrey Sanger, and Bill Murdock.

The audience was transported to the beautiful Spanish countryside via a powerpoint presentation prepared by Jerome McDuff and the detailed description of the history of the pilgrimage and the witty and exhilarating experiences of the "Three Peregrinos."

While the pictures and descriptions gave an overview of the rugged mountain terrain and the flat plateaus, the highlight of the hiking was the friendly relationships that evolved as the hikers trekked across this 781 km trail with hundreds of others from all walks of life and all parts of the world. Each town along the way had some special memory for each of the participants as they met and chatted with local residents and enjoyed the hospitality of the pensions and hostels.

The April/May timing for the trip made for some muddy walking in places but the well used walkway was generally easy underfoot for the most part. Snow was encountered in some the higher elevations.

The hour and a half presentation was followed by a question and answer period and the audience appreciated the evening, especially those who intended to follow in their footsteps.

The Friends of Frontenac Park wish to convey our thanks to Joan, Audrey, and Bill for an excellent presentation and an enjoyable evening.

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Return a Favour to Frontenac Park by joining the Board of Directors of The Friends

By Paul Vickers

With a mandate to supplement and augment park programs, facilities and services, Friends organizations are becoming an integral component to Ontario's provincial parks, and Frontenac Park is no exception. A flip through this newsletter and the tabloid highlights some of our recent contributions to Frontenac Park. And that's just a snap shot of a couple years of our contributions.

The work undertaken by The Friends only happens because of a dedicated group of volunteer Directors working hand-in-hand with our members and Ontario Parks' staff. If you love Frontenac Park and want to return a big favour to nature, please consider becoming a Director of The Friends of Frontenac Park.

Directors are elected for a one year term at the Annual General Meeting held in November each year. Board meetings are held monthly from September to June in Kingston. An approximate minimum time commitment of a few hours a month is required, but the sky is the limit for how involved you want to become. If you are interested or want more information, please contact a Director or me. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming Board meeting.

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Winter Fun Day

On January 23, about a dozen hardy members and non-members participated in the annual Winter Fun Day at the park. The high was minus 16, but the weather was sunny and calm. Small groups of hikers and skiers took part with invigorating trips on the Bufflehead and Corridor trails. In the Trail Centre, participants visited in the front of the fire and made short work of four dozen cookies. The highlight of the day was a Nature Hike led by Maureen Sly on the Doe Lake trail. Participants saw many small and large mammal tracks, learned to identify blue beeches and bitternuts, and spotted several remnant moth cocoons. Special thanks our leaders Audrey Sanger, Michael Doyle and Maureen Sly. Nathan Nesdoly organized the day. Peter Burbidge, last year's organizer, saw to it that we had lots of snow but - sadly - was in Florida this year. Good choice Peter! But you did miss a great day...

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Small legs rejoice!

trail centre new stepsThose with small legs (and even those without) are sure to appreciate the alterations Lloyd Chapman has made to the big steps outside the Trail Centre. Just as you leave the Trail Centre to go to the Doe Lake and Arab Lake Gorge loops, you encounter a dip in the path that takes you down three big steps, past a plaque and then back up three more big steps. While the steps are still there, they have been modified to six steps in each direction, with a nice sturdy handrail down the middle of the steps.

Thanks Lloyd!

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Winter Camping

By Harvey Guy

Winter camping, lighting the lanternOnce again the winter camping weekends were a great success due mainly to the hard work of organizers Erhard Frenzl and Don Stables oh, and Mother Nature had her part to play too. At the first weekend, 9 people enjoyed cold temperatures and enough snow for some to attempt to build quinzees (snow shelters) to sleep in. On the second weekend, the temperatures remained cold for the 16 participants but the snow cover was not quite enough for quinzees so tents became the preferred mode of shelter. Snow shoeing, skiing and hiking conditions were good and many took advantage of this to explore the winter wilderness -- some in their t-shirts. Night hikes through the winter woods are quite a memorable experience and should be tried at least once by everyone. On both weekends, the participants pulled together and worked as teams to ensure everyone was warm, had proper shelter for the night and had a full belly of Erhard's delicious home cooking. It was a great time for all involved and many expressed and interest in organizing a group camping trip for next winter. Plan to try winter camping with us next year but remember, sign up early

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