Spring/Summer 2011 Number 60

Stories from our Friends: Reflections on the Morning Commute

By Frank B. Edwards

Self portrait during rush-hour, Photo: Frank B. EdwardsA few summers ago I realized I wasn’t getting out on the water or into the Park enough. The convenience of an office in my loft – about a seven-second dash upstairs when the phone rings – was keeping me indoors more than I had intended when I moved onto Canoe Lake Road full time in 2006.

Living alone without dogs to walk or kids to chase, I set my own agenda and quickly found that when work got busy, it was too easy to stay in front of the computer for an entire day, getting my only dose of nature through the windows. Deer and wild turkeys wander through my overgrown yard occasionally, but looking at them across a desk wasn’t part of my plan when I bought the property which borders Frontenac Provincial Park twenty plus years ago.

So I decided to start paddling to work each morning, on Kingsford Lake. I reasoned most commuters in Ottawa and Toronto spend at least an hour on the road each day so why not adapt their daily grind to the boundary waters of Frontenac Park. I added a bright orange 12-foot Wilderness Systems Tsunami kayak to my inland fleet and started a new routine – up just before dawn each morning and onto the lake in time to watch the rising sun light up the Park. I soon discovered five different routes to choose from, depending on my schedule and mood. It could be a quick trip to the Kingsford Dam or into McNally Bay’s Campsite 11 for a brisk workout. Or, through the narrows to Birch Lake into Dipper Bay if I wanted to contemplate nature; over to Campsite 8 if I was feeling nosy; down onto Mitchell Creek if I was feeling ambitious and had the time.

Commuting through The Narrows between Birch and Kingsford Lake, photo Frank B. Edward

Commuting through The Narrows between Birch and Kingsford Lake
Photo: Frank B. Edwards

My longtime tripping buddy Barry, a journalist who bounces between his Vermont farmstead and New York City, was offended to think that my canoe was hardly being used anymore. But I’m not a stylish paddler at the best of times, and my scratched up Prospector is no friend on a windy day. By contrast, the kayak sits low on the water and slices through wind and waves – well such waves as Frontenac’s flat-water lakes throw up – and I do take a certain pleasure in slipping effortlessly past struggling canoeists on breezy days. A canoe still comes in handy but when I’m by myself I choose the kayak almost every time. The seat’s comfortable, the cockpit’s dry and it’s the only full-body workout that I can do while sitting down.

Throughout the first season – and it was a long season for I paddled until early December – I was mesmerized by the shifting morning light. I took my camera along almost every outing and was constantly stopping to capture the moody pinks and reds of the sky and the warm gold tones on the shore. Although there were occasionally early morning fisher folk with their outboards, most mornings I had the lakes to myself. The water would start off like glass and then begin to ripple when the sun-warmed air triggered a breeze. By the time I was done, the sun was high enough to end the magic and the sky had morphed into another ordinary day. I was usually at my desk by 9 o’clock, showered, caffeinated and ready to work.

After a couple of years of this routine, I now have my favourite spots along the shore – places where I know I’ll hear waterfalls, see an osprey nest or spot a heron fishing. Last spring, I started my season when there were only a few long leads open in the ice between Kingsford Lake and Dipper Bay. As I paddled, I heard a wind-chime-like tinkling as the gentle wake of my boat shattering the paper-thin ice I passed.

Over my first summer, I also got to meet a few neighbours – the cottage people who like to take their early morning coffee beside the water. At first, they assumed that I was retired or on vacation but now they know that I’m just on my way to work.

Frank B. Edwards, a one-time Friends board member and editor of the first Frontenac Park map, is a writer and communications consultant.


President's Message

The President Herb Helmstaedt carrying a load of wood. (Photo: Jerome McDuff)Earlier this year, I saw a quote in a weather calendar about the difference between weather and climate: “Weather is what you get, and climate is what you expect”. I liked its simplicity, and it seems to have worked this year, as we pretty well got what we could have expected. Lots of snow for winter camping and the annual snowshoe workshop (which was cancelled the two previous winters) and a lot of rain this Spring, keeping lake water levels at their highest in decades.

Although I forget the quote’s source, the message came to mind when I attended a conservation strategy workshop organized by the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve in Rockport. The workshop began with a fascinating lecture entitled “The Frontenac Arch, Connections through Time and Space”, given by Kim Taylor, an ecologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough. Her talk described the special role of the Arch in the north-south migration of species (plant and animal) as a consequence of the various climatic changes since the last ice age.

While the present Arch ecosystem is located near the northern limits of the Mixedwood Plains ecozone, pollen studies and relict floral communities show clear evidence for both warmer and colder ecozones in the past. Following the melting of the ice cap more than 10,000 years ago, the warmest period (also referred to as the Hypsithermal) was between 9,400 to 5,300 years before present day. Towards the end of this period, average annual temperatures were up to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than today and the entire Arch region was covered by Carolinian forest. The rare Pitch Pine trees in the Arch (now also confirmed in the Park) and the deerberry occurrences in the Thousand Islands are also relics of this flora that survived in rare, relatively warm micro-climatic sites. Post-Hypsithermal gradual cooling displaced the Carolinian forest southwards and was only briefly interrupted by the Medieval Warm Period (ca. 950 to 1250 A.D.), before the climate deteriorated again during the Little Ice Age (between ca. 1350 and 1850 A.D.). The present warming trend is thus nothing new for the Arch, though there are two complicating factors, one of them probably, and the other definitely, human-related.

The first of these factors involves the present rate of warming, which appears to be faster than that during previous climate fluctuations. Although no climatic forward modeling is totally reliable, the apparently “most reliable” models predict that our present climate zone will be at the northern shore of Lake Superior in about seventy (yes, 70) years. Totally stunned upon hearing this, I fast-forwarded in my mind, realizing that my then retired grandchildren will not encounter loons with chicks on their back when they paddle along Mitchell Creek, and that they have to go camping at least as far north as Wawa to have the quintessential Canadian experience of hearing a mournful loon yodel from their camp fire. Listening to the lecture, I find out that this rate of change may even be too fast for the vegetation to gradually respond. While White Pines will hopefully be able to stick around on the Arch, out go the Jack Pine, Balsam Fir, Black Spruce and various Birch species, and in come more deciduous trees, perhaps more Pitch Pines, and hopefully not too much more Poison Ivy. Will this exchange go smoothly? This brings me to the second complicating factor.

During previous climatic changes, migrating species could move in ecosystems that were undisturbed by humans. Wetlands were intact, lake shores were not built up with cottages, and no cities, roads, or clear cuts impeded resettlement of species into the new ecologic niches open to them. History shows that many species simply vanish if their ecologic niches disappear, even when the climate is stable. Thus if environmental stress resulting from climate change is added to that of continued habitat destruction and biotope fragmentation, species will vanish at an even faster rate. A vastly impoverished natural environment would result, with nobody to blame but us.

Coming back to the quote that “climate is what you expect”, it is too early to speculate whether twenty years from now we can still expect enough snow to hold two winter camping weekends and a snowshoe workshop (although I hope so), nor can we predict whether seventy years from now Carolinian plant communities will indeed begin to repopulate the Arch. However, the workshop did a lot to raise my awareness level about possible impending changes as to what we can expect. I was also encouraged to see the efforts by the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network to foster education about land conservation and sustainable community development. I encourage you to check out their website at for further information.

On the Friends front, the annual Winter Lecture (February) featuring Bob Henderson was well attended. His enthusiasm about heritage travel in Canada was so contagious, that I bought his book “Every Trail has a Story” which is indeed a most delightful read. This year’s Volunteer Training Day (March) and Spring Trail Sweep (April) also saw a good turnout – with “old” friends and new coming together to support the Park. Please check the OUTSIDE section of this Newsletter or the Friends’ website for upcoming events, especially the various nature hikes and 20th Anniversary festivities.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish you an enjoyable Summer season and thank you for your continued support.

Herb Helmstaedt


2011 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: Simon Smith
Secretary & Publicity:Martha Whitehead
Treasurer: Jim King
Membership: John Critchley
Newsletter: Donna Gillespie
Wilderness Skills: Don Stables
Frontenac Challenge: Anne Hogle
Trail Sweeps: Cathy Murray
Member At Large: David Crane


Park Management Plan: Paul Vickers
Map Coordinator: vacant
Natural History Hikes: Dora Hunter
Winter Camping: Don Stables
Winter Hosting: Cathy Murray
Frontenac Challenge: Anne Hogle, Rose Jones, Erhard Frenzl
Newsletter Editor: Donna Gillespie
Newsletter Publisher: Ron Abbott
Web Master: Jérôme McDuff

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

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

Next deadline for submission of material is:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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

Visit us online at and follow-us on Facebook and Twitter @frontenacpark.


Welcome, Farewells & Thank you’s

A warm welcome is extended to Guy Thorne, who will be joining the Board later this year in the position of Treasurer. Guy is taking the reins from Jim King, current Treasurer who is completing his term.

Cam Hodges, who has played an important role in setting up and fulfilling the distribution and sales of the official Frontenac Park Map, has recently stepped down from the position. If you are interested in the position of Map Distribution & Sales Coordinator and becoming more involved with The Friends, please let us know.

Very special thanks to both Cam and Jim for their dedication to The Friends over the years. And as always, thank you to all the volunteers who contribute to The Friends programs, activities and trail maintenance.



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.

Date Event Start End
June 11 *Wilderness Map & Compass Navigation Level I 09h00 16h00
June 18 On-Water Navigation GPS & Mapping Course 13h00 16h00
June 19 Canoe Clinic 10h00 15h30
June 24-26 *President’s Paddle    
June 25 *Wilderness Map & Compass Navigation Level II 09h00 16h00
June 25 *Nature Walk with the Friends of Frontenac 10h00 16h00
June 26 Kayak Basics: Getting Started Course 13h00 16h00
June 26 National Canoe Day    
July 9 Flatwater Sea Kayaking Certification Course 08h30 16h00
July 10 Fishing Demonstration/Workshop 10h00 16h00
July 23 *Nature Walk with the Friends of Frontenac 10h00 16h00
Aug 27 *Nature Walk with the Friends of Frontenac 10h00 16h00
Sept 01 - Oct 30 *Frontenac Challenge & NEW Junior Challenge    
Sept 3 *Friends 20th Anniversary Party 14h00 17h00
Sept 3 *Bring a Friend to the Park    
Sept 17 *Wilderness Map & Compass Navigation Level I 09h00 16h00
Sept 24 *Nature Walk with the Friends of Frontenac 10h00 16h00
Oct 1 *Wilderness Map & Compass Navigation Level II 09h00 16h00
Oct 1 *Fall Work Day 08h45 16h00
Oct 22 *Nature Walk with the Friends of Frontenac 10h00 16h00
Nov 6 *Frontenac Challenge BBQ 10h30 12h30
Nov 6 *Friends's AGM (Annual General Meeting) 12h30 13h30


Marble over gneiss or gneiss over marble? Precambrian stratigraphy in the Park

By Herb Helmstaedt

After introducing some of the complexities encountered in reconstructing the geological history of the Frontenac Axis/Arch in our previous newsletter, a logical next step is to have a closer look at the Precambrian rocks within the Arch and, more specifically, those of the Frontenac terrane underlying Frontenac Provincial Park. To recap, the Frontenac terrane is characterized by a highly metamorphosed and deformed metasedimentary rock association (Grenville Supergroup) consisting of marble, various gneisses and quartzites that lacks metavolcanic rocks but has been intruded by ca. 1170 to 1155 Ma (million year old) plutonic rocks ranging in composition from granite to gabbro. It is bounded in the west by the Elzevir terrane (Fig. 1) which is characterized by mixed metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks with syn-volcanic intrusive rocks which are ca. 1280 to 1240 Ma. The boundary between the two terranes is a northwesterly directed thrust known as the Maberly shear zone (MS on Fig. 1) which extends from Lanark through Maberly to Verona. The Elzevir terrane, which has been interpreted as a Composite Island Arc Belt, is separated from the Laurentian Margin (L3 on Fig. 1), by another major northwest-directed thrust referred to as Central Metasedimentary Belt boundary thrust zone (CMBbtz). The geometry and timing of terrane collision during the Grenville orogeny is still debated, but the model of Carr et al. (2000) implying that rocks of the Composite Arc and Frontenac–Adirondack belts were amalgamated with each other by ca. 1160 million year (Ma) and then were thrust together over against Laurentia during ca. 1080–1035 Ma and ca. 1010–980 Ma phases of convergence, is a plausible scenario.

Figure 1: Tectonic map of southwestern Grenville Province of Canadian Shield (from Carr et al., 2000)

Figure 1: Tectonic map of southwestern Grenville Province of Canadian Shield (from Carr et al., 2000)
showing location of Frontenac terrane (F) as part of the Frontenac-Adirondack Belt with respect to the Elzevir terrane,
the Composite Arc Belt located between Frontenac terrane and the margin of Laurentia (L3).
Maberly shear zone is marked by MS. Black rectangle in F is approximate position of Frontenac Provincial Park.).

Although we still don’t have a detailed geological map of the Park, the overall distribution of rock types is well known, because the Park is included on published maps of both the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and the Geological Survey of Ontario (OGS). On the one inch to one mile GSC maps, the Park occupies the southwest corner of the Westport Sheet (Map 1182A) and in the southeast corner of the Tichborne sheet (Map 33-1964), both mapped by H. Wynne-Edwards in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, respectively (Fig. 2). Unfortunately, only the Westport sheet was published in color, thus the western part of the composite Park area map on Fig. 2 is colored by hand. The OGS produced a one inch to two miles map (Gananoque Area, Map 2054) which was mapped by D.F. Hewitt in the early 1960’s. As would be expected from the more detailed scale of mapping, the GSC map differs from the OGS map by distinguishing more rock units within the gneisses underlying much of the Park.

Figure 2: Composite geological map of Frontenac Provincial Park and surroundings

Figure 2: Composite geological map of Frontenac Provincial Park and surroundings.
Map consists of southwest corner of GSC Map 1182 A (Westport, Ontario) and southeast corner of GSC Map 33-1964 (Tichborne, Ontario)
published by H. Wynne-Edwards in 1967 and 1964, respectively.
Note that unit 1(blue) in Devil Lake and around the northwestern margin of the Park corresponds
to marble of unit 2 in Figure 3. Gneissic units of the Park correspond to unit 1 in Figure 3.

Major challenges in interpreting highly metamorphosed and deformed rocks such as those encountered in the Park are 1) to see through the metamorphic overprint and identify the nature of the original rock types (protoliths) and 2) to deduce the stratigraphic sequence in which the protoliths were deposited. As to the protoliths, it is safe to assume that prior to metamorphism the marbles in the northern part of the Park were shallow-water limestones, whereas the gneisses in the rest of the Park were clastic sedimentary rocks ranging from pure quartzites to various impure (i.e., feldspar and rock fragment bearing) sand- and siltstones. However, the question as to which of the two protoliths is older, the limestones or the clastic sedimentary rocks, is not as easily answered. Ideally this problem could be solved by finding primary depositional structures such as cross or graded bedding which may indicate the stratigraphic “younging” or “way-up” direction. Indeed, based on such cross bedding observations, Wynne-Edwards (1967) was able to make a number of “way-up” determinations in quartzites of the eastern part of the Westport map area which allowed him to reconstruct an original stratigraphic sequence there that includes more than one marble layer (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: Diagram depicting stratigraphic sequence of Grenville Supergroup in Westport map area (modified from Wynne-Edwards, 1967).

Figure 3: Diagram depicting stratigraphic sequence of Grenville Supergroup in Westport map area (modified from Wynne-Edwards, 1967).
Note the greater detail in eastern part of area, where stratigraphic tops were recognized in the quartzites.
Three main units in western part of area are 1) gneiss and granulite (as exposed in the Clear Lake antiform of the Park);
2) Marble (as exposed in and around Devil Lake and around the northwestern margin of the Park);
3) Main gneiss unit northeast of Devil Lake (not exposed in the Park).

Although remnants of original compositional layering (bedding?) have survived metamorphic recrystallization in rocks of the Park, even in some marbles (Fig. 4), diagnostic “way-up” structures have so far not been recognized here.

Figure 4: Photograph of marble outcrop on Bedford Road, near Snug Harbor

Figure 4: Photograph of marble outcrop on Bedford Road, near Snug Harbor,
showing dark folded layers thought to represent remnants of graphite rich beds.

Diagnostic features to look for in the marbles would be stromatolites (Fig. 5) which are layered carbonate mounds thought to have been formed in shallow water by photosynthesizing blue-green algae. Such mounds are commonly domed (convex) upwards, a feature that may be preserved locally within pockets of marble that were least flattened during deformation. The example illustrated in Fig. 5 shows the convex curvature pointing downwards, suggesting that the algal mound is located in a structurally overturned panel of marble.

Figure 5: Photograph of stromatolite in Grenville Supergroup marble of the Balmat area, near Gouverneur, New York.

Figure 5: Photograph of stromatolite in Grenville Supergroup marble of the Balmat area, near Gouverneur, New York.
Note that layering of the algal structure is convex downwards, indicating that the
stratigraphic “way-up” direction (parallel to black arrow) also points downwards.
This means that the stromatolite is located in the structurally overturned limb of a recumbent fold.
White arrow points toward “right-side-up” recent plant

In the absence of primary structures in the western part of the Westport map area, Wynne-Edwards (1967) attempted to deduce the original stratigraphic sequence from an interpretation of fold structures. Viewing the prominent northeasterly plunging Clear Lake antiform as an oblique cross-section, he inferred that successive gneiss units defining the fold are arranged in stratigraphic order going from oldest in the core, adjacent to the central diorite body, to younger in the northeast, across Big Clear Lake to Devil Lake. It follows that the marble unit in and around Devil Lake should stratigraphically overlie the gneisses of the Park, and the gneisses northeast of Devil Lake should in turn be younger than the marble (see also Fig. 3).

Interpreting the Clear Lake structure as an anticline (a term used when the stratigraphic order of the folded sequence is known) implies that the originally horizontal sedimentary layer cake in this area was folded once while also being tilted towards the northeast. I prefer the term Clear Lake antiform, implying that younging of the stratigraphic sequence is still uncertain and leaving room for a more complex interpretation of this structure, possibly involving the refolding of an earlier set of folds. Some evidence for this may be seen from the map pattern of the large area of marble to the northwest of the Park (Figs. 2 and 6). This marble area is divided into a northern and southern part by a folded appendix of quartzite (unit 3) and garnet gneiss (unit 5) forming a northeasterly plunging synform between Birch and Eel lakes. As the southeastern limb of this “Eel Lake synform” is connected to the Park gneisses north of Birch Lake and the style of the synform is similar to that of the Clear Lake antiform, we may conclude that both folds belong to the same generation of northeast plunging folds (marked as F2 on Fig. 6). Marbles (unit 1) to the north of the synform, between Kingsford and Canoe lakes, are continuous with the Devil Lake marbles and, using the same logic as in the previous paragraph, should overlie and be younger than the garnet gneiss. The marble to the south of the synform (from Birch Lake to Desert Lake) structurally underlies the gneiss and quartzite, and could thus be older. Does this mean that we have two marble units, one younger and one older than the gneiss, or could both marbles belong to the same unit?

Figure 6: Enlarged portion of geological map on Figure 2 (southeast corner of Tichborne map-area)

Figure 6: Enlarged portion of geological map on Figure 2 (southeast corner of Tichborne map-area)
showing Eel Lake synform (F2) that has refolded an earlier fold (F1) of garnet gneiss (unit 5) in marble (unit 1, blue).
Narrow, yellow layer is quartzite (unit 3).
Note the continuity of marble (unit 1) around the northwestern end of the F1 fold.
Unit 2, outcropping on Birch Lake, is quartzite interlayered with calc-silicate rocks.
See text for further explanation.

A closer look at the map (Fig. 6) suggests one possible answer. The northern and southern marbles are connected at the northern end of Eel Lake, where the gneiss of the northwestern limb of the Eel Lake synform pinches out. This indicates that the marble is one continuous map unit. The map pattern of the folded gneiss appendix suggests at least two stages of formation: 1) Formation of a narrow fold of garnet gneiss and quartzite in the marble with its fold axis parallel to the gneiss band (F1 on Fig. 6). This early folding event was accompanied by thrusting, explaining the absence of the quartzite (unit 3) at the northern limb of the fold. 2) The complex early structure was later refolded by the upright northerly plunging synform (F2) that is the more obvious structure on the map. Who ever said that geological interpretations are straight forward?

If you are visiting Campsite 8b on Birch Lake, have a good look at the near-vertical beds of white quartzite outcropping from the fire pit to the little cliff at the lake shore. This was probably a beach on the shore of the shallow marine sea in which the precursor limestones for the marbles were deposited. If you are travelling by boat around the northwestern and northern parts of the Park, check out the marble cliffs on Birch Lake and Devil Lake. You may yet find some of these elusive stromatolites.


Pictures of Recent Events.

Photos courtesy of Peter Dawson

Snowshoe workshop (19-February-2011) participants listening intently to Edward Grenda. Photo Peter Dawson

Snowshoe workshop (19-February-2011) participants listening intently to Edward Grenda
explaining the advantages of using lamp wick as bindings.
Photo: Peter Dawson.



volunteer training day group photo photo: Peter Dawson

Volunteer Training Day
The volunteer training day on 26-March-2011 was a success with quite a few new faces
of people who are ready to volunteer.
This is a very encouraging sign.
Photo: Peter Dawson


New footbridge at Kingsford Dam completed on 30-April-2011, photo: Peter Dawson

New footbridge at Kingsford Dam completed on 30-April-2011
Photo: Peter Dawson



A Tio Wulf Ramble

By Larry Gibbons

I can’t believe it. There I was, only a second ago, so it seemed, whining about summer disappearing into the southern sky and poof, it’s Spring.

Don’t worry - I’m not going to bemoan the fact that winter has disappeared, although I do get attached to the daily cycles of a season. I love winter snowstorms, because they can transform a familiar landscape. Turn the ordinary into an enchanted astonishment with secret corners and strange mounds. The wheelbarrow, woodpile, outbuildings, rocky cliffs, lakes and forests metamorphose into sculptures as creative as any Michelangelo created.

A good snowstorm offers us seclusion and peace too. This past winter I skied frequently in the park. Saw two porcupines along Black Lake munching on poplar trees. Their population must be recovering in spite of the fishers I saw on Black Lake and Big Clear Lake. I also spotted more deer this year, especially along Labelle Lake.

What a gorgeous lake! It has quite a few open areas along its shoreline, which the deer were enjoying. But I also spotted two deer crossing the lake and I could hear coyotes yipping in the late afternoon, probably the same ones we often hear howling at night from the vicinity of Labelle Lake. I also saw a fisher hightailing it to the portage.

And of course I was once again struck with a chronic disease I call, ‘Cameranotreadyitis’. I had a 300 mm lens on my camera and it was on manual focus. But I was wearing sunglasses which, instead of helping with the glare were actually hindering my vision and the fisher was running and I was trying to pull the extra long camera strap out of my right eyeball, while I was turning the lens ring to get the fisher as close as I could and it was running faster and my mitts were on and I was fumble focusing and the fisher was gone. Poof.

The forest ate him up but I snapped a picture anyway. Just in case the fisher left an afterimage of himself or his fisher spirit was lagging behind and it would show up on my camera like the ghost pictures I’ve seen. But back home when we looked at the picture there was no fisher, no fisher spirit, and no fisher shadow. Just a nice, “I’ve-seen-a-million-pictures-like-this” kind of landscape photograph.

I assume that most park visitors are searching for a wilderness experience when they camp in the park. But you can paddle from one end of the park to the other and not be on one interior lake that is genuinely an interior lake. For example, you could begin your trip at Big Salmon which has launch points that you can drive to, so that to me isn’t pure interior. You could then portage from Big Salmon Lake to Labelle Lake, and from there portage to Big Clear Lake, which isn’t an interior lake either.

Sometimes I like to think the Park is wilder than it really is. Maybe because if one looks at a map, it’s one of the few wild areas in this vicinity which isn’t being gobbled up by homes and cottages and human constructions. Like Robert Frost, I sometimes wish that the forest stretched to the edge of doom. Eternal forests and infinite numbers of lakes filled with pure water and untainted fish. No finiteness built into this earth. It’s worrying, because so many people believe, or live as though they believe, that there is no such thing as finiteness. They put themselves ahead of the rights of the natural world.

I wish there were an animal in the forest that was as intelligent as we are and could politick and policy us to a draw. However, I think the wild will come back after most of us are gone. Or maybe we will discover those dimensions they talk about in the String Theory and we will be able to find a mirror image of our earth. Of course there might be people identical to us consuming that one too.

One of my wishes is that more price tags were removed from this precious earth. And I thank God for places like the Frontenac Provincial Park.

As Tecumseh said, “Sell a country! Why not sell air, the great sea, as well as the earth?”

Larry Gibbons is a regular contributor to the Frontenac News –Tio Wulf Rambles is a recurring column.


Nature Walks & Talks

Nature Walks and Talks take place every fourth Saturday of each month (except November and December). Meet at the Park Office at 10 a.m. and bring a snack/lunch. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Mark these upcoming Nature Walks in your calendar:

June 25
July 23
August 27
September 24


Time for a Change – A Challenge for Youth

By Anne Hogle - Challenge Coordinator

The first Frontenac Challenge was held in 1993 and started with only a handful of registrants. The Frontenac Challenge was originally suggested by Park Superintendent Lloyd Chapman to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ontario Provincial Park System. After 18 successful seasons, the Frontenac Challenge has grown to over 200 participants.

Junior Challenge Poster. Design: Alex Vreeken and friends

The poster says: Come to Frontenac park to walk 2 k, and look at beautiful nature.
Try and find the 2 yellow signs. It ‘s a great way to have fun with your friends.
Also be active and stay healthy. Look at cool lakes and walk on fun board walks.
See little creeks. And tiny turtles. Find all the animals you can find.
Come walk it’s so much fun!
Poster Design: Alex Vreeken and friends

To celebrate the Friends 20th Anniversary, we have decided it is time for a change. For those of you accustomed to the traditional Challenge, there is no need to panic -- all 160 kilometers, 11 loops of Challenge remain the same.

The demographics of Challenge participants are primarily in the 50+ age group, with a lesser percentage in their early 20's. The group in between, which represents a lot of families with young children, is sadly under-represented. In an attempt to entice more families to Frontenac Park, The Friends are adding a Junior Challenge for hikers twelve years of age and under.

The concept for the Junior Challenge, which was suggested to the Board by two of our youngest Challenge participants – Alex and Connor Vreeken - remains the same as the adult version, the difference being that Junior participants will only be required to complete 6 loops of their choosing. Adults hiking with Juniors will get credit for their own 6 loops, and can choose to finish the remaining loops to complete the full Frontenac Challenge if they so wish. And of course, younger hikers who choose to complete the full Frontenac Challenge will get full recognition and admiration as they have in the past.

As always, the Challenge (and its new Junior version) will take place from September 1 to October 31. For more information or to sign up to participate, please contact the Park Office at 613-376-3489 or visit The Friends of Frontenac Park website at



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