THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE FRIENDS OF FRONTENAC PARK
Autumn 2003 Number 37
Imagine canoeing the majestic lakes of Frontenac Park in your new Swift Kipawa canoe. For $5, you could be the lucky winner of a Swift Kipawa kevlar canoe valued at $2,500, proudly donated to The Friends by The Peak Experience and Swift Canoe and Kayak. Due to the hard work of the Canoe Raffle committee, ticket sales have gone extremely well. The few remaining tickets can be purchased from the Trail Centre or at The Peak Experience's two locations. (Downtown at 166 Wellington St.; Westend at 795 Gardiners Rd.) Join us at the Frontenac Challenge BBQ on Sunday November 09 at 10h30am for the drawing of the winning ticket. 1,200 tickets printed. License number M234938.
Do your hiking boots look worn and tired? Is your sleeping bag not warm enough for an October night in Frontenac Park? Could you use a new backpack or walking stick? If so, you should check out The Peak Experience. Members in good standing with the Friends can enjoy a 10 % discount off regular price merchandise (except canoes, kayaks and MEC price-matched items).
The Peak Experience is Kingston's only locally owned outdoor outfitters store with two locations to serve you: 166 Wellington St. (corner of Brock and Wellington) and 795 Gardiners Road (corner of Taylor Kidd and Gardiners Road). Present your Friends membership card with photo ID on your next visit to The Peak Experience.
For special promotions, technical tips, event information, message board and more, visit the web site at www.thepeakexperience.ca
The tally is in! The Friends of Frontenac Park volunteered an astounding 1,750 hours in 2002, and those are merely the hours we know. One thing I have learned in my first year as President of The Friends is the importance of volunteers. Every facet of our organization is dependent on the goodwill of these special people.
Frontenac Park is a better park because of our volunteers. Imagine Frontenac Park without the Friends. It is highly unlikely there would be regular natural history walks throughout the year led by knowledgeable people. Bridges would still be constructed and trails maintained, but not at the level they are with the Friends involvement. The Friends regularly purchase lumber for bridges, and then organize a team of volunteers to construct the bridge with the help of Park staff. Visitors would still be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Trail Centre, but the one or two people behind the counter can not spend 30 minutes helping a visitor decide which trails they should hike on a beautiful long weekend when there are five other people in the Trail Centre wanting to purchase a permit. The Friends volunteer hosting program provides knowledgeable people to help augment the friendly services provided by Park staff.
There are many other projects that would likely not have happened in Frontenac Park if it was not for the Friends' volunteers. The purchase of a puzzle piece of land on Buck Lake in 2000 was possible because The Friends donated $20,000. Ontario Parks may have eventually purchased the land, but with The Friends' financial commitment towards the purchase and the ecological surveys of the land by our Natural History Group, the wheels of government bureaucracy moved much faster. Bufflehead Trail Guide, Doe Lake Trail Guide, Winter in Frontenac Park Guide, and the essential interior topographical map are just a sample of other projects that may not have happened if we did not exist.
Marry times the work of our volunteers is not always evident. There are people who spend endless hours on the telephone arranging events. We have other volunteers who quietly go about their work, such as selling thousands of dollars of maps each year, publishing this newsletter you are reading, clearing a tree fallen across a trail, editing and proofreading publications, researching rare and endangered plants, compiling membership lists, cooking chili, preparing wilderness training programs, stopping to help visitors who look like they need a helping hand on the trails, and preparing submissions to Ontario Parks. Over the 11 years of our existence, The Friends have evolved into a complex organization requiring many volunteers to complete many tasks.
A recent survey led by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy found that most non profit and voluntary organizations identified volunteers as their greatest strength, a finding with which I fully agree. While your financial support is necessary for some of the projects we carry out, your volunteer time is more important. If we had no volunteers, would there be hot chocolate served at the Trail Centre on winter weekends? Would there be a Frontenac Challenge? Would Bufflehead Trail exist? Probably not.
Statistics Canada reported that approximately 45% of Canadians do not volunteer because they are unwilling to make a year round commitment. Although serving on our Board of Directors does require a year round commitment, there is no such requirement for the many projects or programs where we need help, such as Trail Centre hosting, trail sweeping, and bridge construction. If you're one of the 30% of Canadians who volunteer because you have extra time, I encourage you to serve on our Board of Directors. This is the time of year when I start hearing from my fellow Directors as to their decision to continue as Board members. Although it is disappointing when a dedicated member decides to step down from the Board, new members bring new ideas and new ways of doing old projects and programs.
Return a favour to nature, volunteer with The Friends.
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.
* Monday, September 01/Friday October 31: Frontenac Challenge The 11th Frontenac Challenge. The Frontenac Challenge involves hiking all 160 km of the Park's trail network between September 01 and October 31. To meet the Challenge, all you have to do is pick up a registration form at the Trail Centre and then set out to hike through the autumn grandeur of Frontenac Provincial Park. Participants will receive a certificate at an Awards BBQ on November 09, at 10h30.
*Sunday, September 21: Fall Nature Walk. Join the Friends on this short walk to examine the flora and fauna found at the Park. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12h30.
Saturday, September 27: Wilderness Navigation Using Map & Compass. Through a variety of practical outdoor exercises discover how to use a compass by itself and with a map. Come prepared to hike in the forest and bring a safety whistle. Cost: $20 plus Park fee, free under 12 years of age. Time: 09h30 to 16h00.
* Sunday, October 5: Ontario Hiking Day. Enjoy the splendour of autumn on an 8 km hike on the Bufflehead Trail. Bring a lunch, daypack, water, and camera. Wear sturdy shoes. Time: 10h00 to 16h00.
* Saturday, October 18: Fall Trail Sweep. All volunteer guides, please join us for a last trail sweep before the winter. Bring a bowl/cup and a spoon to sample the not to be missed chili following the sweep. Meet at the Trail Centre at 8h30 a.m. Contact the Park (376 3489) or Paul Vickers (353 7582) for details. By the way, if you are participating in the Challenge, why not sweep a trail at the same time? Check with the Trail Centre before going out on your hike.
October 31: This is usually the date that the Salmon Lake Road gate closes for the Winter.
November: It's time to purchase your Winter Vehicle Permits. Please contact the Trail Centre.
* Sunday, November 09: Frontenac Challenge Awards BBQ. Registered participants who have successfully completed the Challenge, 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 10h30.
* Sunday, November 09: Annual General Meeting. All members are invited to attend the Friends' AGM to start at 13h00 at the Trail Centre. The minutes of the last AGM will be posted at 12h30. Why not come early and join us for the Challenge BBQ? This will give you an opportunity to meet the Challenge participants.
Sunday, November 16: Hike Leader Skills Training. The Hike Ontario Standard Course for Hike Leaders will be presented at Frontenac Provincial Park Trail Centre 09h00 16h00. The cost is $35 plus parking. Graduates will receive a Certificate and a one year membership in Hike Ontario. For Information call David Armitage at (613) 634 4426, or register at the park office.
* Thursday January 01: Deadline for Submissions for the 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 email@example.com. For electronic items, please send articles as Word Perfect or Rich Text Format (rtf) files with minimum formatting, and photographs as 180 dpi greyscale. If necessary/possible, please compress (zip) files before sending.
* Saturday, January 24: Winter Camping Planning. This presentation by the Friends will cover all you need to give winter camping a try. Make sure you book one of the two weekends (see below) to camp with the instructors. Please come dressed for the weather and the trails. Time: 10h00 to 15h30 at the Trail Centre. To register contact the Trail Centre at 376 3489.
* Sunday, January 25: Winter fun Day. Details to be announced.
* Sunday, February 01: Winter Nature Walk. Bring your family and join the Friends to examine the plant and animal life on a short (3 km) leisurely hike. Meet at the Trail Centre at 12h30. Come dressed for the weather and bring your binoculars, camera, drink and a snack if you wish.
* Winter Lecture: Date and details to be announced
* February 07-08: Winter Camping Weekend #1 See below.
* February 14-15: Winter Camping Weekend #2 Choose one of these two weekends to acquire and practice winter camping skills. Food will be provided. Prerequisite "Winter Camping Planning" given on January 24. Cost: $55.00 ea. plus interior camping fee; To register contact the Trail Centre at 376 3489.
by Ivan DeRome
The Presidents paddled.
Five canoes left Mitchell Creek with the lightest of rains failing on June 14, 03. It was quite a sight with all the various colours of dress and canoes. We loaded our canoe right on the grass of the Outfitters launch site, with the water so high the grass was covered with an inch of water. It was my first time in Mitchell's Creek but I had only heard good things about it and nothing was overstated. Being up the Creek is not all that bad! My gear filled 3/4 of the canoe and Paul managed to squeeze his stuff in the little space that was remaining. Seniors have privileges. Use them or loose them I say. Erhard's canoe looked much like his toboggan in winter, loaded right up to the gunwales. The girls, Dora and Maureen, always the frugal packers looked the most experienced of the bunch. It must be said in Erhard's and my defence that we were testing some new bulky equipment that I will come to later.
Mitchell's Creek was wide and deep but the wind had little effect on it. We were heading to campsite 8 so we had to cross Birch Lake which is a wide body of open water. If you are uncertain as to your skills with a canoe and that form of camping, you have the option of going to campsite 7 which is still in the creek. It is quite strange seeing that campsite from the water. There were lots of birds at that time of year, and we even saw a nesting loon. But the strangest sight for me was, a chipmunk swimming across the creek. A beaver in miniature though it did not slap its tail on the surface of the water to spook us. We stayed together for most of the trip along the East side of the lake, but suddenly the other four canoes left us to fend for ourselves. They had spotted distress flags blowing in the wind and rushed for the campsite.
As it turned out it was Jérôme and Joan with all of their worldly possessions out on the lines and limbs to dry. They will never launch on Friday the 13th again. Having lived through the rains that flooded the launch site at the outfitters they were caught by a downpour on their way to the campsite. It was the first time I saw Joan with her hair not just so. We were a bit luckier as our tents and gear were protected by the time a light rain fell. The skies opened again later in the evening but we were well inside our sleeping bags by then. I had a new four man tent purchased at Zellers, and it performed as well as anything I have seen yet. Faye, Erhard's partner in crime, had mentioned sometime in April that Costco was selling interlocking two foot square floor tiles which she felt would be nice in the floor of the tent. They are made of a soft 1/2 inch thick foam, and are intended for people who have to stand for long periods of time in front of machinery or at the kitchen sink, as is my case. It was one of my better purchases, because I am still able to get a good night's sleep even though I never stay on my air matress. The foam squares lined the bottom of the Kevlar canoe and made kneeling much easier. It would be even better in the bottom of a canvas canoe as cedar ribs are not very comfortable under the knees. Gloria and Murray made the trip in their canoe but did not stay the night, and I could see sadness in Murray's eyes knowing he had not opted for the sleep over.
Paul and I had the pad for two nights, and Sunday turned out to be a dream day for paddling. We were out after breakfast and headed up to campsite 11 to service the commodes and greet some of the overnight campers. They had only great things to say about the Park which was nice to hear as it was completely unsolicited. Lunch was on one of the small islands within the park boundary that was quite free of flying insects. We got back just in time to wave farewell to our flotilla of campers who had a powerful stroke on the paddle. I had my Sunday siesta while Paul caught up on the news of the week in the Saturday Globe and Mail. After supper we went to get a view of our campsite from the lookout on the other side of a stream that drains the Moulton Gorge. That lookout is on one of the rare sections of trail not included in the Challenge. We reached the trail using a short piece of a portage half a kilometre from the campsite. As we were beaching the canoe we saw hikers south of us but took no notice and proceeded to our destination. There is a small grassy area that may at one time have been the lookout but like so many other lookouts in the Park the vegetation is now hiding the lake from view. Heading back to our craft we met up with three tired hikers who had reserved campsite 8A. We informed them that they would have over an hour of hiking to get to their destination with the load they were carrying. They doubled back with us along the portage to the canoe and we were able to take all the gear and one tired hiker. The other two returned to the trail with only a water bottle in hand. By the time the three hikers were reunited at 8A, there were cries of jubilation. The first hiker had the tent up and the supper well under way. As for your two presidents they had retired to their campfire with the satisfaction that they had done their good deed for the day. A drink of Drambuie left behind by Erhard never tasted so good. We broke camp the next day in a lazy fashion after checking on the condition of the campers at 8A. They also would take a while to break camp before heading to campsite 9. We came home by the public side of Birch Lake which is very wild up to the entrance of Mitchell Creek.
You have not seen the Park until you see it in a canoe. It is so nice and so accessible for any degree of difficulty you wish to set for yourself. But Sherpas and motors are not allowed and our little group of five canoes was quite representative of who comes to the Park. Upon our return we informed the Trail Centre about the tired campers, and then it was back to civilization.
by Jérôme McDuff
As time passes, it is almost impossible for Visitors to notice the traces of the early inhabitants who lived and toiled within the Park's boundary. However, there is a place in Kingston where the history of these brave people is preserved. Their stories are locked in vaults which can be opened for the asking. The place is the Queen's University Archives
As most Friends know, Chris Barber and Terry Fuchs wrote "Their Enduring Spirit", a comprehensive book on the human history of Frontenac Park, first published in 1997. What people may not know is that the ten plus years of research materials for the book are stored in Queen's Archives. In 1998, Chris Barber donated the content of the "fonds", as the background material is called in archival lingo, to Queen's Archives. Because Chris' record keeping was impeccable, it generated a minimum of work for the archivists. They transferred the media to acid free boxes and folders, named the various "series" and wrote a description/index document for the fonds.
I discovered there are rules to follow when using the archives. Ms. Gillian Barlow, the University Records Archivist, was very kind and helpful. She explained how I could get the most from my visit. First, I had to ask for a document that describes the fonds (in this case the Frontenac Provincial Park Book fonds A. ARCH5021.8). From that document I completed a request form and gave it to the archivist. The archivist retrieved the material from the vaults and brought it to the reading room. One cannot bring the material out of this room nor can you use a pen. Only pencils are allowed.
The Frontenac Provincial Park Book Fonds material is stored in 9 boxes and divided into five series: Interviews, Research Materials, Manuscripts, Photographs and Audio Cassettes.
The Manuscripts series contains hand written manuscripts and revisions of the book from 1989 to 1995. 1 did not have time to browse at length through these but it certainly would be interesting to follow how the book took form.
The Research Materials consists of notes and other items spanning 1777 to 1997. These were the backbone of the book. I was particularly interested in the survey methods of the 1800's.
The Photographs are divided into indexed folders by families, containing all the photos that were published in the book plus many more that were not. I generally enjoy looking at old photos and had fun with this series.
The Audio Cassettes series with its companion, the Interviews series, were my favourites. I was expecting to find four or five cassettes. Instead there are 142 of them! The cassettes contain a "live" record of the interviews with the "old folks" conducted mostly by Chris and Terry during 1980 1985. After each interview, Chris would write a transcript/summary of the interview and draw companion maps and sketches. I sat mesmerized when I followed in my mind, Chris and Terry with Ella McComish and her son Kevin, going back to the Black Lake and Hardwood Bay farms. There is a world of difference between reading in a book what Ella said and hearing her saying the words. The voice of Ella was so different from what I had imagined, it was full of life. Her emotion and inflections carry information that add a new dimension to her stories. I listened to the tape while reading the transcripts. It was fascinating to hear Chris ask Ella to draw and describe the inside layout of the house at the Hardwood Bay farm. The floor plan is included in the interviews series. Another great moment for me was listening to Ella mention that she was born in that house on 23 June 1933, while her dad (Bert) was working in the fields and her mom (Minnie) was all alone. Giving birth in Canada at that time was certainly a different experience than it is today.
Another very interesting tape brings an interview conducted by Bruce Page (the first park superintendent) on Friday 07 Sept 1979 with 87 year old Henry Burton Page and 95 year old George Amey. It is fascinating when George recounts how, at the age of 16, he lost an eye while working at the Birch Lake Mine.
I spent a whole day at the Archives, unknowingly skipping lunch, because I was so engrossed in all the material. I did not have time to look at everything and I listened to only two of the 142 audiotapes. But I plan to return. Unfortunately, the archives are not open at night or on weekends.
I loved the audio records, but I fear for their longevity. In my experience, recorded material on consumer grade magnetic tapes does not have a very long shelf life. I wonder if it would be possible to digitize them and store the sound files on CD ROM ? I thought of many projects when I left the archives. What about producing a "guided virtual historical tour of Frontenac Park" on CD? It could include sound bites gleaned from the tapes, photos of the farms then and now and maybe some video material. I guess that may be another project when I retire.
For anyone who is interested, Queen's University Archives is located at Kathleen Ryan Hall, just off Arch St. on Queen's Campus (phone 533-2378).
by Paul Vickers
As I contemplate if my well worn hiking boots will survive another Frontenac Challenge, I start strategizing as to the best way to complete the task. Do I warm up with a brisk walk along Arab Lake Gorge loop or do I get the Infamous Slide Lake loop out of the way on the first weekend of the Challenge? Do I combine Tetsmine Lake, Hemlock Lake and Gibson Lake loops, or is that too much to hike in one day? Do I try to do as many loops in the warmer and longer September days, or wait until the cooler, but shorter, October days? An analysis of the log sheets completed by hikers from the 2002 Frontenac Challenge revealed the following interesting trends.
First trail hiked: 60% of hikers commenced the Challenge with Arkon Lake, Doe Lake, and/or Arab Lake Gorge loops. 24% of hikers started the Challenge hiking Arkon Lake loop and 14% began with Arab Lake Gorge and Doe Lake loops. An adventurous 22% of hikers hiked all three loops on their first day of the Challenge. No hiker began the Challenge by hiking Slide Lake loop.
Last trail hiked: Frontenac Challenge hikers were either procrastinators or used the shorter trails to build endurance for the longer loops. 58% of hikers left Big Salmon Lake (23%), Cedar Lake (18%) and/or Slide Lake (17%) loops to their last day of hiking the Challenge. Although 9% of hikers did Slide Lake loop on the final weekend of the Challenge, there were no hikers completing Slide Lake loop on October 31. The other option was to hike the shorter loops at the end. 23% of hikers completed the Challenge with Arab Lake Gorge loop and Doe Lake loop.
Combining loops: Due to their location and length, many hikers decided to hike two or three loops on the same day. The most popular combination was Arab Lake Gorge and Doe Lake loops with 93% of hikers choosing this option. Little Clear Lake and Little Salmon Lake loops were also popular loops to combine, with 68% of hikers making this decision. Tetsmine Lake and Gibson Lake loops were hiked together by 43% of hikers. An adventurous 26% hiked Tetsmine Lake, Gibson Lake and Hemlock Lake loops in one day. Keep in mind that if two or more loops are hiked on the same day, you must hike the full length of each loop to correctly complete the Challenge. Sections of trail that are common to both loops must be hiked twice.
Preferred starting and ending dates: 28% of hikers were on Frontenac's trails on September 1, the most popular date hikers completed their first loop of the Challenge. The overall average starting date was September 9. The average completion date of the Challenge was October 15, but October 27 was the most popular date to end the Challenge with 23% of hikers hiking their final loop on this day. Only 2% of hikers completed the Challenge on October 31. On average, it took hikers 36 days to complete all 11 loops, visiting the Park an average of 7 of the 36 days. Hikers completed an average of 7 loops in September and 4 loops in October.
Weekdays weekends and holidays: As expected, the weekends were the most popular for hiking the Challenge. 25% of all loops hiked as part of the Challenge were done on Saturday and a further 31% were hiked on Sunday. Many hikers enjoyed the quieter weekdays with 44% of all loops hiked from Monday to Friday. The quietest day of the week on the trails of Frontenac Park was Tuesday with only 6% of all loops hiked that day. Many hikers enjoyed the long weekends during the Challenge period. 31% of the participants hiked the Challenge on Labour Day and 22% on Thanksgiving Monday. Sunday, September 29 was the busiest day on the trails for hiking the Challenge with 35% of hikers completing at least one loop on this day. Tuesday, September 24 and Wednesday, October 14 were the quietest days. Only one person hiked the Challenge on those days. Rain: Rainy weather did not deter hikers from hiking the Challenge. While only 3% of hikers hiked the rainiest day of the Challenge when 36.8mm of rain fell on Friday, September 27, there were 33% of hikers on the trails when 27.6mm of rain fell on Saturday, September 14, the second wettest day of the Challenge.
Preferred order of hiking the loops: Although there are nearly 40 million different permutations for hikers to select the order in which they hike the 11 loops of the Challenge, the average preferred order was:
With over 2,000 visitors a month, The Friends new website, www. frontenacpark.ca , is quickly becoming a popular place to obtain information on Frontenac Park. With the dedicated assistance of webmaster Jérôme McDuff, everything you need to know about The Friends and visiting Frontenac Park is on the website, including a schedule of Friends' events, campsite, trail and portage information, Park tabloid, Friends' newsletters, and frequently asked questions. Plan a visit to Frontenac Park at www.frontenacpark.ca.
Sunday, November 9 at the Trail Centre
Notice: Proposed Amendment to By laws
Members will be asked to vote on the following proposed amendment to the by laws of The Friends of Frontenac Park at the annual general meeting being held at The Trail Centre on November 9.
Current article V paragraph 2:
The Board of Directors shall consist of ten directors, who shall be elected for a term of one year. No director may remain as a director of The Friends for more than six consecutive years, other than by unanimous agreement of the members present at the annual general meeting. Election of the Directors shall be by vote at the annual general meeting.
Proposed article V paragraph 2:
The Board of Directors shall consist of ten directors, who shall be elected for a term of one year. Election of the Directors shall be by vote at the annual general meeting
Note: Two thirds vote of the members present and voting at the annual general meeting is required to change the by laws of The Friends of Frontenac Park. Members having questions or requiring additional information on the proposed amendment should contact the President of The Friends of Frontenac Park, Paul Vickers (353 7582)
BBQ & Frontenac Challenge Awards
Sunday, November 9 at 10h30
The Frontenac Challenge award ceremony will be held at 10h30 a.m. with the BBQ beginning at noon. Those members who would like to join the BBQ are asked to call Rose Jones at 548 7633 to ensure there is sufficient food.
Two interesting, but geographically dispersed, articles in the press featured Frontenac Park.
In his March 21, 2003 article in the Kingston Whig Standard, Jack Chiang discusses the fourth annual photo contest sponsored by the Society of Conservation Biology, which is held In the Biosciences Complex on Queen's campus. The grand prize winner was Anne Robertson for her "View of Devil's Oven in Frontenac Park". Mr. Chiang, a judge of the contest, comments "that you don't have to go to the end of the world to get good pictures."
On April 17, 2003, The Davis Enterprise, a newspaper in Davis, California, featured the artwork of Rebecca Ryland. Ms. Ryland, a Canadian now living in Davis, was displaying her paintings and watercolours of the Canadian wilderness at International House in Davis. Many of her pieces featured Frontenac Park, including Kingsford Dam North and South Otter Lake, Birch Lake and Big Clear Lake.
Peter Burbidge, Treasurer
The Friends of Frontenac Park have made a significant investment of just under $5000 for the reprinting of "Their Enduring Spirit", by Chris Barber and Terry Fuchs, in an effort to preserve the availability of this very special book about the Park. Profits from future sales will be reinvested in the Park.
Our other major investment this year was $765 for new Cross Country Ski Trail signs and a large supply of blue trail markers.
Administration costs thus far are $1600 including, insurance, website, office supplies and room rental.
Program expenditures amount to $1900. This includes the newsletter, name badges for new volunteers, tabloid advertising, winter lecture, trail centre hosting, and trail sweep costs.
The Hike Ontario Standard Course for Hike Leaders will be presented at Frontenac Provincial Park on Sunday, November 16, 09h00 16h00. The cost is $35 plus parking.
Graduates will receive a Certificate and a one year membership in Hike Ontario. For information call David Armitage at (613) 634 4426, or register at the park office.
Your membership with the Friends of Frontenac Park entities you to a 15% discount at Novel Idea, a Kingston owned bookstore, located at 156 Princess St.