Autumn 2009 Number 55

Trail Sweep

Two volunteers work on clearing a fallen tree at this past spring’s Trial Sweep. Photo Harvey Guy

Two ‘Friends’ volunteers work on clearing a fallen tree at this past spring’s Trial Sweep. Plan on joining us for the Fall Trail Sweep on Saturday October 17th and enjoy some spectacular fall colour!
Photo Harvey Guy



Fabulous Fall Fungi

Mushroom diagramDiscover the wonderful world of mushrooms and other fungi in this 2½ day workshop. All experience levels welcome. Hands-on identification, plus discussions on ecology, uses and etymology. Dates: Sept 29 to Oct 2, 2009. Cost: $295; includes tuition, meals, accommodation, use of lab space & microscopes. Location: Queen’s University Biological Station. Details: . Instructor: Richard Aaron ( ).



President's Message

The President Herb Helmstaedt carrying a load of wood. (Photo: Jerome McDuff)With a second wet summer in a row, some of us are wishing we could trade in a portion of our rain for a bit more sunshine from the farmers on their parched fields along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Being realistic, however, we can take solace that for yet another summer the forest fire index in the Park remains on the low side.

Most of the planned Park improvement projects I listed in our Spring/Summer newsletter have been accomplished. Our major construction effort during spring work day (April 25) was a long and curved boardwalk at the beginning of the East Arkon Loop (see separate photos in this newsletter). It is broad enough to accommodate the Park’s new X-country ski track setter and should improve cross-country skiing through this notoriously wet part of the loop. The cedar log cribs of a small bridge on the Big Salmon Lake Loop near camp site #4 were repaired, and work by the Park’s summer students on the Cedar Lake Bridge was progressing. You may have noticed that the information kiosks at the Big Salmon Lake boat lounge and Arab Lake parking lot are in place. They were built by Brian Rose, and design work for the maps and information to be displayed in these kiosks is in progress. We are still waiting for an opportunity to deliver lumber to the Moulton Gorge bridge, but repair work on this site may have to wait until next year. Plans for our fall work day (October 3) will be finalized at the September meeting of the Board.

Our other scheduled spring activities began with a well-attended and very successful volunteer training day on March 28th. On this beautiful sunny day, Otter Lake lived up to its name and during lunch break offered the participants an opportunity to see an otter frolicking on the breaking ice surface. As usual, Jerome McDuff’s historical walk (April 18) attracted at least a dozen of interested hikers. Spring trail sweep on April 19th saw a great turnout of volunteers allowing us to cover all trails except Slide Lake. June activities consisted of the Map and Compass workshop (June 13) held by Don Stables and the President’s paddle to camp site #4 on Big Salmon Lake.

When this Newsletter appears, it will be time again to register for the Frontenac Challenge. I hope that some of you will use this opportunity to introduce some new folks to the Park. In case you have friends who do not wish to tackle all the trails at once, please bring them for a hike on our informal “Bring a friend to the Park day”, on September 5th. At this year’s BBQ and Annual General Meeting we will be without John and Janet Olson who have decided to move out west to be closer to their children. Both were among our most stalwart volunteers, and John was our Map Sales Coordinator for many years before retiring from this position last fall. We will miss them but thank them for their contributions to the Parks and wish them God-speed for this new chapter in their lives.

Herb Helmstaedt


2009 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
Frontenac Challenge: Anne Hogle
Trail Sweeps: Cathy Murray
Director at Large: Stefan Szrajer
Wilderness Skills: Don Stables
Newsletter: Harvey Guy


Winter Camping: Don Stables
Winter Hosting: Dora Hunter
Frontenac Challenge: Anne Hogle, Erhard Frenzl
Park Management Plan: Paul Vickers
Map Distribution: Cam Hodges
Newsletter Editor: Harvey Guy
Newsletter Publisher: Ron Abbott
Web Master: Jérôme McDuff

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:

Tuesday 01-December-2009

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

NOTE: You can visit us at:


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

By Herb Helmstaedt

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 one of the Directors or me.  I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming Board meeting.

Notice of Annual General Meeting
Saturday November 7
All members are invited to attend the Friends’ AGM to start at 13:00 hrs at the Park Office.



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

*Monday, September 14: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

*Sunday, September 20: 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.

Saturday September 26: GPS Navigation Workshop Presented by Christine Showler, Frontenac Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Centre. 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. GPS units provided on loan. Cost: $68.25 /person plus park fee. Time: 10:00 to 15:00. See Park Tabloid for further details.

*Saturday October 3: Fall Work Day Come out and join with the Friends on a day dedicated to fixing up the Park after a busy summer of use. Meet at the park Office at 08:45 to 16:00. Contact the Park at 376-3489 or visit our website ( for further information.

*Saturday, October 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 Park Office at 08:30 to approximately 16:00; Contact the Park (376-3489) for more details.

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

Saturday October 24 & Sunday October 25: 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 $170.00 (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.

*Saturday 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 Park Office for 10:30.

*Saturday November 7: Annual General Meeting All members are invited to attend the Friends’ AGM to start at 13:00 at the park Office. 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 9: Friends Board Meeting Location LCVI, Rm. 121 at 19:00

*Tuesday December 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: For electronic items, please sent articles as Microsoft Word files with a minimum of formatting, and photographs as 180 dpi greyscale.

*Monday, December 14: 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 Park Office for dates & times of these upcoming events.
- Winter Camping: Planning Session
- Winter Fun Day
- Winter Nature Walk
- Winter Camping Weekend #1
- Winter Lecture
- Winter Camping Weekend #2


A Tio Wulf Ramble

By Larry Gibbons

In the early summer I gazed into the eyes of the most surprised mink in the whole of the Frontenac Provincial Park.  Now, there have been other times when I have surprised an animal or two and there have been lots of occasions when I have been surprised by a creature. But I’m talking about little old me scaring the bejeebers out of a wild creature. Like the deer who was fully intent on the cuisine she had found in an abandoned orchard and didn’t see me coming up on her white-tailed backside, or the frisky fisher who decided to zip across a trail and didn’t know that I was booting it down that tree-shaded path. But then who was more surprised, me or the fisher? However, I’m talking about this particular mink, and let’s get all personal and sentimental and call the mink Mort, who was, by my presence in the park, jolted out of his daily routine. Probably had a month’s growth of mink fur shot all to hell.

This encounter occurred when I was hiking along the south-eastern shore of Little Clear Lake. A few days earlier I had been watching some trout spawning in the shallow water. I’m not a spawn expert so maybe they were doing some fishy polka or something, but I didn’t hear any accordion music so I’m guessing that they were spawning. And it was a strange dance where two or three trout, fairly large ones, lined up next to each other and then frantically waved their back fins back and forth creating a wild rush of turbulence which rose to the surface like the bubbles in a can of shaken ginger ale. This occurred where a stream of baby white water ran out of the lake. You wouldn’t want to tackle this white water though or you would be paddling and going no-where until the water froze over. Would look rather silly, actually. However it was tough going for the dancing trout and I charitably helped a struggling participant up and over the water so that she could get into the fishy dance. I was, I suppose, acting like a doorman.

It was also this day that I first took note of some beautiful dragonflies which were flitting and hovering over this gathering. The dragonflies were gorgeous, with metallic blue-green bodies and jet black wings and I looked them up in my insect book. They are called Ebony Jewelwings and are considered one of the most beautiful of Canadian dragonflies. I am now looking out for them in other places. It is strange how we or I can be so unaware of a part of the wild which has been in front of my nose for so many years. Maybe I spotted them because I now wear bifocals.
Anyway, back to the point of this story. I was hiking along the trail, playing  “Seventy-seven Sunset Strip” theme music in my noggin and I guess that dates me, and I had stopped to stare down at the still clear water where I had seen the trout gathering. The dance was over and the fish were gone. But as I was standing along the shore I caught a glimpse of a brown streak that was swimming underwater. It took me a second or so to recognize that it was Mort the mink. And that he seemed to be on a course with my size ten brown boots which were solidly planted on the tiny beach.  His wee beach. He had no idea that I was there. It was as if he had one of those new fangled G.P.S. gizmos. And he was being so trusting in the G.P.S. that his  brain’s geographical finding instincts had taken a technological leap of faith so he was navigating like certain computer-savvy human travelers who blindly follow the little mechanical man or woman, prestigiously perched on the vinyl dash of their vehicles. The compass-giving directions in a sexy, caring voice. Instructing them to go two miles straight ahead so they trustingly drive into an unmapped lake or through the front window of a recently opened Tim Horton’s. Thus did the Mort head for my firmly planted feet.

I watched him push his sleek brown body through the water and then arrive at his docking space. He popped his head out of the water. And he looked up. Way up, and there I was. The Friendly Giant. Black-eyed with my sunglasses. A thick-trunked squat tree which was my floppy anatomy below a wild pile of stringy silver moss which was my uncouth gray beard. And you can imagine how poor Mort felt. ‘Cause I was planted on his beach and he’s wondering, “Should I bite him or swim like hell?”

Little feets don’t let me down now and he performed a perfect Phelps twist and dive and went streaking off into the submerged depths of the lake and presumably to his friends and family. And I thought that in a way I did to Mort what life does to us. For he was going about his business and his routine was derailed. Just like when we go to work and find out that the boss has surprised us with a special meeting and it is an unpleasant surprise.  Or somebody jumps a red light at our usual crossing, leaving us surprised, shaken and with a possible insurance company problem.  Or we are shocked by the doctor’s news, or a jogger almost runs us down on a ten-acre spacious park lawn.

It also got me to thinking that the greater the number of people who use the park, although it is good for the park’s finances, the more the opportunities for animals in the wild to have their lives disrupted by the shock of being discovered by the likes of me. An interference in their daily chores. Maybe we just have to be careful not to make the park too convenient by building too many trails, so that we can maintain some of the Frontenac Park’s mysterious wild locations for the wild creatures who live in it.

I will always remember Mort’s dark eyes peering up at me. In a way it seemed he was revealing something deep about himself. His wild vulnerability. A tiny window opening into his soul and maybe he had a nightmare or two about this unexpected intrusion.

And finally, what Mort experienced might be what I enjoy about tramping around in the park. The possibility of surprise. Even feeling a sudden fear or a sense of vulnerability; physically or philosophically. Places where I can remain hopeful that the enchanted, remote, wild places will still exist. Places where we have an opportunity to confront wild emotions and wild places. Uncultivated spots which haven’t yet been tamed by development and the tourist industry.  Locales that affluent reality television characters haven’t  galloped rough-shod over as they hungrily barge in and contaminate the lives and cultures of other remote peoples and places.

And I think that a walk through the park is like listening to good music. You can experience feelings and thoughts and sights which replenish our soul with a rush of passion.

D.H. Thoreau describes how the screech owl’s wailing affected him:

“Reminding me sometimes of music and singing birds; as if it were the dark and tearful side of music, the regrets and sighs that would fain be sung. They are the spirits, the low spirits and melancholy forebodings, of fallen souls that once in human shape night-walked the earth and did the deeds of darkness, now repeating their sins with their wailing hymns and their melodies in the scenery of their transgressions.

I walk in the forest as do others. I encounter and am encountered. I surprise and am surprised. So a hike in the park can be about a lot of things and one of them is my surprising the living bejewels out of a busy and professional mink named Mort.


Terry Fuchs; 1949-2009

When Terry Fuchs died on April 6, 2009, from complications of oral cancer, Frontenac Park lost one of its most enthusiastic hikers and historians. Terry was co-author, with Christian Barber, of Their Enduring Spirit: The History of FrontenacProvincialPark 1783-1990, a book which stands as the definitive history of loyalist settlement in the wilderness area north of Kingston that was to become the Park in 1974. He also captured the spirit of the Park and surrounding areas in personal essays, many of them published in local newspapers and magazines. A collection of some of his essays, also featuring cottage life and the outdoors around Waterloo County and Lake Huron, appeared in a separate volume entitled Waking at Rush Cove that was published in 2001 by Penumbra Press. In addition to working as a freelance writer, Terry was a devoted teacher of English and creative writing at RMC and St Lawrence College where he is fondly remembered by former students and colleagues.


Friends Move On

John and Janet Olson, Photo Jerome McDuff

Frontenac Park loses two of it’s biggest supporters. John and Janet Olson have recently relocated to western Canada to be closer to family.
Best wishes and many thanks from all their ‘Friends’ here at Frontenac.
Photo Jérôme McDuff


The Frontenac Challenge - 2009

Come on out to Frontenac Park this fall for the 17th 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 7th celebratory BBQ.  Those who have completed the Challenge five or ten times will have their name permanently engraved on a plaque located at the Park Office.

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

For more information on the Challenge, visit our website at


Winter Camping

Disappointed that you were too late to sign up for the always popular winter camping wilderness program?  Sign up early (December) at the Park Office for the 2010 session.  The training session is tentatively scheduled for late January and the interior camping is scheduled for early February (participants pick one of two weekends).


Boardwalk Construction

Volunteers help Assistant Park Superintendent Bert Korporaal complete work on a new section of Boardwalk on the East Arkon Loop. Photo Harvey Guy

Volunteers help Assistant Park Superintendent Bert Korporaal complete work on a new section of Boardwalk on the East Arkon Loop.
Photo Harvey Guy


Putting the final touch on the new boardwalk on the East Arkon Loop. Photo Harvey Guy

Putting the final touch on the new boardwalk on the East Arkon Loop.
Photo Harvey Guy


A Lake Aptly Name!

Otter on a snow covered Otter Lake

Otter on a snow covered Otter Lake


Otter on the ice on Otter Lake

As one of our frequent park visitors observed, Otter Lake is aptly named.



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 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.