Autumn 2008 Number 52

Dora Hunter, Friends of Frontenac and Park Volunteer

By Bert Korporaal, Assistant Park Superintendent, Frontenac Provincial Park

Dora Hunter (2nd form front) and Friends at Tom's Walk. (Photo: Jerome McDuff)It has come to our attention that Dora is anticipating moving to the west coast in July of this year to be closer to her family, as she is retiring from teaching with the Limestone Board of Education.
We would be amiss if we do not recognise her for all of her contributions to both the Friends and Frontenac Provincial Park. She has been a powerhouse of knowledge and energy for many projects with a fine eye for detail in flora and fauna monitoring and reporting. She is a keen naturalist and educator.

Some of her many contributions are:

We wish her all the best for the next chapter in her life.


President's Message

The President Herb Helmstaedt carrying a load of wood. (Photo: Jerome McDuff)Although we are well into August, the forest fire index in the Park remains very low, no doubt a result of the unusually wet summer we are having. During both of my camping adventures so far this year I had more rain than shine. The first was the president’s paddle to campsite #1 on Buck Lake, where in spite of numerous thunderstorms a good time was had by all. The second was on campsite #3 on Big Salmon Lake where we had the opportunity to try out the newly installed cable mechanisms for hoisting up food bags. They worked well indeed, and I suggest that we install similar mechanisms at other campsites. The rain during our first night there was so heavy that it reminded me of tropical downpours in Africa. My grandson, who had been wondering whether our tent could withstand the rain, was duly impressed when while fishing the next morning we  met two canoeists from campsite #5 whose tent had collapsed under the intense rain. During a hike in the afternoon we felt compensated when we had the rare opportunity to observe two beavers repairing their overflowing dam north of Big Salmon Lake.

In the Spring/Summer newsletter I wrote about two major new projects to be undertaken in the Park. The first, the reconstruction of the foot bridge near the southwestern end of Big Salmon Lake, was planned to be accomplished in several stages, beginning this fall. Now, because of a gift of $5000 by an anonymous donor, the Park with Friends help will be able to replace the failing bridge in one project rather than having to spread it over a number of years. Talks with a contractor are well underway, and some lumber is already being moved to the site to have the work done at the low water period in September. David Crane, who prepared an excellent funding proposal for the donor, is to be commended. Now that no work days are required by the Friends, we may be able to have a fall trail sweep after all.

The second project, the “building” of a new trail loop, is longer term, but preparations are also well underway. Under the guidance of Jerome McDuff a preliminary GPS track log was prepared that is now being studied further for its suitability.

Plenty of other work is being done along the trails. I recently saw an example of a trail report by Peter LeBel who has been checking and photo-documenting trail and bridge conditions under Bert’s direction since the start of June. As he is covering the entire trail system, Peter is doing his own, very useful type of "Frontenac Challenge" which will certainly pinpoint trouble spots and places that need repairs. Thanks, Peter, for all your efforts.

In early July, Peter Dawson was contacted by Barrie Martin about including the Frontenac Challenge in the Celebration of Trails, an annual effort promoting trail events occurring during the months of September to November in the Kawartha Lakes area and the Counties of Haliburton, Northumberland, Peterborough and Hastings. Funding for the program was expanded this year, and Frontenac County is now part of the “celebration area”. Barrie Martin is the manager of this project. Being listed on their website ( gives the Frontenac Challenge enormous exposure, and we may see the number of participants increasing this year because of it.  You may want to check this website also if you are interested in learning about the many trails in the area west of Frontenac County.

In its April meeting, the Board of Directors of the Friends decided that we should join the network of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve (FABR) which now also includes Frontenac Park. We have formally joined now and were promptly invited to a meeting on Aug. 7th, in the Morton Community Hall, intended to inform the various local trail organizations about a Trail Mapping Project, recently initiated by the FABR. The aim of the project is to prepare a map of all trails (hiking, cycling, skiing, snowmobiling etc.) in the biosphere region. Funding from the Job Creation Partnership is in place to employ GIS Technicians who collect GPS data to create a web-based mapping tool showing trail locations and types, access, grade, points of interest and services available nearby.

During our June Board meeting we learned that Dora Hunter, one of our most stalwart volunteers, will be moving to the west coast (see separate article by Bert Korporaal). A motion was passed that the Board expresses its gratitude toward Dora for her contributions and wishes her well.

The Friends mourn the passing of one of their members, Larry Chalmers, an active volunteer from 1996 to 2001, who assisted for several years with the instruction of the Winter Camping programs and participated in trail sweeps and work bees. He loved the outdoors and especially enjoyed the winter months in the Park.


Herb Helmstaedt


2008 Board of Directors

The Friends of Frontenac Park is a non profit organization whose purpose is to develop programs and materials that enhance the public's awareness, education, and appreciation of the natural environment and human history of Frontenac Provincial Park.

President: Herb Helmstaedt
Vice-President: Paul Vickers
Treasurer: Jim King
Secretary: David Crane
Membership: John Critchley
Publicity: Heather Stables
Director at Large: Anne Hogle
Director at Large: Cathy Murray
Wilderness Skills: Don Stables
Newsletter: Harvey Guy


Property Acquisition: Vacant (was Dora Hunter)
Winter Camping: Don Stables
Frontenac Challenge: Joan McDuff, Erhard Frenzl
Park Management Plan: Paul Vickers
Map Distribution: John Olson
Newsletter Editor: Harvey Guy
Newsletter Publisher: Ron Abbott

The Friends of Frontenac Park publishes the Frontenac News three times annually. Note that the views expressed in the Frontenac News are not necessarily those of the Friends of Frontenac or the editor. Some articles are published to give the viewpoint of an author and to incite discussions.

We welcome your articles, notes, stories, and photographs for the newsletter. Your ideas, suggestions, and constructive criticisms are always welcome. Material accepted is subject to editing and revision.

Next deadline for submission of material:

Monday 01-December-2008

Copy should be mailed to: Friends of Frontenac Park, c/o Harvey Guy, P.O. Box 2237, Kingston, Ont. K7L 5J9

NOTE: You can visit us at:



Here is a list of upcoming activities that maybe of interest to you. Please participate and tell your friends about them The * 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 (613 376 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 Saturday November 9, at 10:30. So come out to Frontenac Park and take the Challenge!

* Monday, September 8: Friends Board Meeting  Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

* Sunday, September 21: 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.

Sunday, September 28: GPS Navigation Workshop Presented by Greg Philliban, Adventure Rescue Training, Spencerville, Ontario. A workshop designed to show you how to operate a GPS to report a location such as an accident, rescue location or a missing person. Bring your own compass and GPS unit (a basic/monochrome Magellan or Garmin) Cost: $50.00 /person plus park fee. Time: 10:00 to 15:00.  See Park Tabloid for further details.

* Monday, October 6: Friends Board Meeting  Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

* Saturday October 18: Fall 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 approximately 16:00; Contact the Park (613 376‑3489) for date and more details.

* Sunday November 9: 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 9: 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 10: Friends Board Meeting  Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

* Monday December 1: Deadline for Winter Newsletter  We welcome your articles, letters, stories and photographs. Material should be e-mailed to:  For electronic items, please sent articles as Microsoft Word files with a minimum of formatting, and photographs as 180 dpi greyscale.

* Monday, December 8: Friends Board Meeting  Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00


Looking ahead to winter,
The Friends are planning to hold the following events:
Check, the Winter newsletter, local newspapers, or the Trail Centre for dates & times of these upcoming events.

- Winter Camping: Planning Session - Saturday, January 17, 2009
- Winter Fun Day -
- Winter Nature Walk -
- Winter Camping Weekend #1 - Saturday January 31st to Sunday February 1st, 2009
- Winter Camping Weekend #2 - Saturday February 7th to Sunday February 8th, 2009
- Winter Lecture -



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

This summer, a new Park Sign was installed to help direct new visitors into the ParkWith 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 any of the current Board Members.


Annual General Meeting

Sunday November 9th :
All members are invited to attend the Friends’ AGM
to start at 13:00 hrs at the Trail Centre


Trail Sweep

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

Come join the Friends on October 18th for the 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.


Bridge Work

This fall, work will begin on the repairs to the foot bridge near the boat launch at the end of Big Salmon Lake.

Bridge West of Big Salmon Lake


A Tio Wulf Ramble

By Larry Gibbons

Today I was floating by the portage route that connects Big Clear Lake to Labelle Lake. While I was bobbing about on the water, I got thinking about the Frontenac Provincial Park and how one of the park rangers described the park as an island of green surrounded by a sea of development.

The reason my mind was gnawing on this thought was because I’ve heard that this area is under threat of further development. I understand that plans are in the works that may result in the building of five more structures on this narrow arm. By the time you read this the meeting may be over and the yea-sayers will have ruled over the nay-sayers.

This thought made me feel doubly sad because while I floated around on this south arm of Big Clear Lake, I watched a family of loons. They were drifting on the waves, poking their heads under the water like a bunch of kids looking for minnows or doing their very characteristic loon thing--puffing out their chests while flapping their wings. I could tell it was a family of loons because of the brownish colour of the younger birds. The folks around here know that every year the loons return to this part of Big Clear Lake to build their nests and raise their young. And now this area is in peril.

So, I don’t think this park ranger was very far off in calling the Frontenac Park an island. The problem with islands is that they are incessantly being eroded by the constant action of waves. An extreme example is Nova Scotia’s Sable Island, which has been disappearing and even shifting its position over the years. Year after year of pounding waves and roaring storms has taken its toll.

The pressure on the park isn’t ocean waves but human demand. So many people, all wanting to use the park for their own purposes with little regard for one unchangeable, constant factor. Everything is finite. The park is finite. The whole world is finite, but our culture’s belief in economics and progress just can’t or won’t accept a mathematical equation that includes finiteness. That concept gets in the way of ambitions. So the powerful and those with money feign ignorance or spin out an array of complex and fantastic theories and even fool themselves. It’s to the point now where our government can, with a clear conscience, decide which lakes in our country will be designated for use as toxic dumps. Theories and faith so complex and outrageous that only the eyes of a child can see that the king wears no clothes.

So, no matter how fervent are the cares and concerns of those who love a place like the Frontenac Park, the waves of greed and need are not going to let up and are always going to threaten its natural integrity.

Look at the many lakes in the area surrounding the Frontenac Provincial Park. They are undrinkable, the loons’ cries aren’t heard anymore and the fish populations are only maintained by regular re-stocking.

Big Clear Lake is still fairly pristine, has a healthy population of loons and even the rare black rat snake seems to be finding it a good place to live. I had one watching me while I was sitting on a rock overlooking the lake and it made my life seem richer for it. Also, boat activity is practically nil on this lake. There is no public access at the moment. All reasons why Big Clear Lake makes an excellent perimeter lake for the park. In fact, a large section of Big Clear Lake is located within the park.
My dream is that the Frontenac Provincial Park will be able to set up a perimeter or buffer zone of wild so that the developers and others like them can’t be breathing down its neck, eroding our park’s wild heart and soul like the powerful waves that shift and diminish Sable Island’s very existence.

Sometimes when I am hiking, canoeing or sitting under a big oak tree in the fall and listening to the acorns tumbling to the ground, I wonder what it would be like to once more be able to look at the forest and think that it might just go on forever. Because don’t many people visit our wild places to get that feeling? To enjoy a beautiful sunset, to listen to the call of the wolves, the distant night hoots of an owl, the cries of a loon, or to feel the wind blowing cool air across their sweaty brows? Being able to believe, if only for a brief time, that all of what they see, hear and smell is protected by an infinite forest that goes on forever and forever. A forest that would be a perimeter onto itself.

Robert Frost wrote in his poem, “Into My Own”:

     “One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
     So old so firm they scarcely show the breeze,
     We’re not, as ‘twere, the mere mask of gloom,
     But stretched away unto the edge of doom.”

To have a protected piece of wilderness where our wildlife can live safely requires a healthy park. That’s why I think we need to protect the Frontenac Provincial Park by vigilantly building up and supporting its boundaries. Maybe we need to set up rotating eight-hour watches on its perimeter?


The Frontenac Challenge

Come on out to Frontenac Park this fall for the 16th annual Frontenac Challenge. 

The Frontenac Challenge involves hiking the 11 loops that form the Challenge within the months of September and October (approximately 160km). The Frontenac Challenge was originally suggested by Park Superintendent Lloyd Chapman in 1993 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ontario Provincial Park System. Only 14 people completed the Challenge in 1993, compared to over 125 people in recent years.

Successful participants will receive a Certificate Accomplishment at our November 9th celebratory BBQ.  Those who have completed the Challenge five or ten times will have their name permanently engraved on a plaque located at the Trail Centre.

There is an attractive and useful information sheet that participants receive when signing up for the Challenge at the Trail Centre.

For more information on the Challenge, visit our website at


Winter camping 2009

Will the snow conditions be as good as in 2008 ?  Don’t be left out in the cold, register early
at the Trail Centre for the upcoming 2009 session of Winter Camping presented by the Friends of Frontenac Park. Final dates have been confirmed:

Winter Camping Trip Planning: Saturday, January 17, 2009
Winter Camping Instructional Weekend #1: Saturday January 31st to Sunday February 1st, 2009
Winter Camping Instructional Weekend #2: Saturday February 7th to Sunday February 8th, 2009

Please contact the Park Office (376-3489) for the latest information and to register.

Faye Dennis - Winter camping 2008

Dora Hunter demonstrates the strength of her Quinzee at a past Winter Camping session.



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 62 Brock Street and 795 Gardiners Road at Taylor Kidd. Present your Friends membsership 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.