16 October 2016 – Trailhead Sign Ceremony & Group Hike
We unveiled the Crazy Horse trailhead sign and held a short ceremony to thank all those who have contributed to improvements of the trail: the volunteers, the Community Foundation of Ottawa (funding), Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (charitable partner), Councillor Eli El-Chantiry (pictured at the left with Bernard, our trail coordinator), and Deka Home Building in Carp. It takes a community to build a 200 foot boardwalk and a bridge, put up trail markers, clear new trails, and develop a trailhead sign. Thank you!
Despite the rain, intrepid hikers set out on the trail and completed either the shorter side loops or the longer main trail and loop around the beaver pond. The rain-washed autumn colours were brilliant!
4 October 2016 – Bridge Completed
Volunteers have completed the bridge across the beaver pond channel. With thanks to a private landowner in Westwood Estates, we had a “short cut” across his property to haul in the lumber out to the site. This was still a significant distance, so thank you to the strong armed volunteers for helping with this physically demanding work.
1 October 2016 – Trail Clearing
Maintenance of the Crazy Horse Trail and side loops started last weekend with routine cutting back of summer growth. We also started major work on clearing a new section of trail to the south of and parallel to the road allowance, which is frequently flooded. Most of this area is on higher ground, but it will still require some bridging over low areas, which will be possible without interfering with the snowmobiles.
September 2016 – Volunteers Needed For Trail Maintenance
Message from Bernard, Trail Coordinator: “The hot and dry weather we have had over the summer was good for the trail. People have been using the main trail, which means that it is well worn and relatively free from overgrowth. That said, the two new loops need some work as they have seen less traffic. There are a couple of sections on those trails that show lots of overgrowth, but nothing that can’t easily be fixed with some loppers and cutters.”
This fall five days have been scheduled for trail maintenance: four for clearing and one for building a bridge that connects a channel by the large beaver pond. Please see our Facebook page for dates. If you’d like to volunteer, but haven’t received an email, please contact us.
August 2016 – New Side Loops Added to Crazy Horse Trail
We’ve marked two new side loops with scenic lookouts on the Crazy Horse Trail. A few hundred meters after you leave the snowmobile road allowance and enter the main trail, look for yellow trail markers on your left. One side loop takes you beside a grassy wetland and around a small pond. The other takes you over rock barrens and through a pine forest. Look for blue trail markers and lookout signs for scenic views. We’ve also published a new trail map and an abridged interpretive guide to help you enjoy the new additions to the trail.
8 June 2016 – Trail Boardwalk Completed!
We have completed construction of the 200 foot boardwalk through a wet area of the Crazy Horse Trail. The boardwalk will keep people on the trail and prevent the creation of ever-widening circles by hikers seeking drier ground. There is still more work to do bridging other wet areas on the trail, but this was the longest span. Funding was provided by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa. Lumber at an excellent price was provided by Deka Home Building Centre in Carp.
Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped with the construction, and especially Bernard and Brian.
4 June 2016 – Trail Boardwalk Construction Underway
The dry weather allowed us to begin construction of the 200 foot boardwalk over the small creek and wet area near the beginning of the trail. Planned with military precision by our trail coordinator Bernard, the project unfolded with pre-cut lumber and delivered boards being assembled and placed on site.
Thank you to Deka Home Building Centre in Carp for helping with the cost of the lumber. Your support is appreciated!!!
This project has been made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa and by our dedicated volunteers.
7 May 2016 – Crazy Horse Nature Tours Enjoyed By All
Over fifty participants attended our two guided tours on the Crazy Horse Trail to learn more about the natural history of the Carp Hills and how this affects the terrain and the plants that inhabit the forest, uplands, and wetlands. We learned that the composition of the underlying bedrock determines what type of plants like to grow on it. The trail offers a stark contrast between calcareous (lime) loving forest plants at its beginning and plants that tolerate acid, poor soils as the bedrock changes abruptly from marble to mainly monzonite and gneiss.
More information about the trail’s natural history and ecology is available in our interpretive guide, which we revise in an ongoing basis as we learn more about this special area of the Canadian Shield, unique within the City of Ottawa.
Thank you to Owen Clarkin for donating his time and sharing his extensive knowledge of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Thank you to John McEwen for donating his time and expertise, and telling us about the turbulent history of the Carp Hills, whose rocks began their formation between 1.6 and 1.3 billion years ago.
23 March 2016 – Public Meeting at the Carp Memorial Hall
We held our third annual public meeting to a turnout of about 46 people. There was a lot of interest in our plans for expanding the Crazy Horse Trail and about the events we’re planning for 2016. We provided an update on the land preservation initiative we’re working on with Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited Canada and presented a vision for Carp that connects and celebrates the village’s human and natural heritage. We also showed the screen premiere of the Carp Hills Aerial Video!
Thank you to the following Carp businesses for supporting us by providing door prizes:
- Deka Home Building Centre
- Alice’s Village Cafe
- The Hive
- Carp Pizza
- Pawsh Pets
- Chang Thai Kitchen
- The Carp Bakery.
March 2016 – New Name, Same Vision
After much debate and community feedback, we’ve changed our name to one more readily associated with the special and unique area we’re dedicated to preserving: Friends of the Carp Hills. Over the next month we’ll be switching over our web site (to carp hills.com), our email, and our social media.
We started this group just over two years ago to address the expanding urban boundary and the threat this posed to preserving both the wild areas and public recreational use of the Carp Hills. Because of you – volunteers, donors, the community, and local businesses – we have a new trail on public land, a partnership with a local land trust, an active Facebook page of engaged citizens, and over 160 subscribers to our newsletter. Thank you for caring about the Carp Hills.
January 2016 – What We Accomplished in 2015
We had another busy year culminating in the opening of the Crazy Horse Trail in November. Thank you to all of the volunteers, donors, and businesses who supported us.
- We held our second public meeting in March 2015. Over 50 people attended, including Councillor El-Chantiry. Two directors from the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust were present to answer questions about how landowners can help preserve the Carp Hills through land donations and conservation easements.
- We opened the Crazy Horse Trail in November and held a guided hike. Volunteers helped us clear and mark the trail, donating many hours over many weekends in the summer and fall.
- We ran a sold out ecological tour of the Carp Barrens in May.
- We held the Celebrate the Hills event in September that engaged artists and businesses in the community. Despite the torrential rain, over 50 people came out to view the exhibits and take a guided nature tour by Dr. Owen Clarkin.
- The Community Foundation of Ottawa awarded us a grant to build a boardwalk and install trail signs on the Crazy Horse Trail. Our charity partner is the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT).
- We partnered with Ducks Unlimited Canada and MMLT to plan the Carp Hills Campaign for land conservation.
- Carp businesses donated time to create an aerial video of the Carp Hills.
- We began the development of an ecological interpretive guide to the Crazy Horse Trail.
- We submitted comments to the Province as part of their wetland policy review.
- Our Facebook group grew to over 180 members at the end of 2015.
- We sent out 5 newsletters to a subscriber base of 166 at the end of 2015.
- We held an open house for Westwood residents in November.
19 December 2015 – Up in the Air and Over the Hills!
The Carp Hills are designated a wetland complex because they support a large number of interconnected Provincially Significant Wetlands. You can see this on Google Earth’s satellite maps, but we wanted a viewpoint closer to human dimensions. In preparing to launch a campaign next year with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, we knew we needed aerial footage. Thanks to DUC and Jules Selwan, a plane was flown over the Carp Hills on a sunlit day in early December with Allan Joyner aboard to get the aerial panoramas we wanted. We’ve uploaded some of the photos to our photo gallery.
We’d like to thank Allan Joyner at AJP Productions for donating his time and expertise in taking the video and photos. We’d also like to thank Jules Selwan, owner of the International Pilot Academy at the Carp Airport, for donating pilot time. And thank you to Ducks Unlimited Canada for funding the plane time.
11 December 2015 – Trail Grant Successful!
The Community Foundation of Ottawa has approved our grant application for funds to develop the Crazy Horse Trail. The grant will allow us to build a 200 foot boardwalk across a wet area, design and install a trailhead sign, and purchase trail markers and other signage. The grant only covers materials so we’ll be looking for help from volunteers in the spring to build and install the boardwalk!
We submitted the grant jointly with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) as our charitable organization partner. MMLT has established a Carp Hills Opportunity Fund (CHOF) for preserving land in the Carp Hills. This fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Ottawa on behalf of MMLT and qualifies for a charitable tax receipt. You can donate to the CHOF by clicking on this link and selecting the Carp Hills Opportunity Fund from the drop down menu under Option 2.
25 November – Preserve Connect Enjoy
Check out the article about the Carp Hills in Stittsville Central: PRESERVE, CONNECT, ENJOY: MEET THE FRIENDS OF THE HUNTLEY HIGHLANDS
21 November – Crazy Horse Trail Event
Information about the trail, including a trail guide with a map, is available on our Crazy Horse Trail web page.
About 25 people and 2 dogs came out to our inaugural hike event led by our trail coordinator. The full 7 km with loop around the pond was travelled in 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace.
We still need to buy more trail markers so we can remove the orange flags and ribbons. If you’d like to donate to the trail, you can do so via our PayPal account.
October 2015 – Ontario Wetland Policy
We have submitted our comments on the province’s current wetland policy as outlined in their discussion paper: Wetland Conservation in Ontario, EBR 012-4464. The province intends to develop “a Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands that will identify a provincial vision, goals and objectives for wetlands in Ontario and set out a series of actions that the government will undertake over the next 10 to 15 years to improve wetland conservation across the province.” They are seeking public feedback on current policies.
The Carp Hills consist of a network of evaluated Provincially Significant Wetlands and are designated a “wetland complex” by the City of Ottawa.
Wetlands clean our water for drinking and recreation by filtering pollutants. They hold water in times of excess, thus reducing flooding, and release water during drought. They provide habitat to many plant and animal species and sequester carbon.
We believe that current policies are inadequate for protecting wetlands. Specifically, our wetlands are not protected by fragmented regulations and insufficient resources for data gathering, monitoring, and enforcement. There needs to be a “net gain” in wetlands rather than a “no net loss” policy. Landowners who preserve their wetlands should be compensated for their stewardship and the public should be better educated about the value of wetlands.
To read more detail on our comments, please click FHH Comments on Ontario Wetland Policy.
Our trail coordinator, Bernard, has set the following dates for trail clearing:
Oct, 3, 18, 24, 25 and 31
Nov, 7,8,14 and 21
We will be looking for no more than 6 people per date.
If you’ve already contacted us, then Bernard will be in touch with you directly, and no need to respond. Otherwise, if you’d like to help, then please contact us via our email on the web site.
We have submitted a grant application for boardwalk material, trail markers, and a trailhead sign for spring installation. Stay tuned!
Celebrate the Hills Event
The rain did not dampen our spirits or prevent the many intrepid people from coming out to Celebrate the Hills on the forested Canadian Shield property located on the edge of Carp. Owen Clarkin led two, well-attended 1 hour nature tours, art was exhibited and sold, and dogs enjoyed all the new smells.
We’d like to thank our volunteers and exhibitors, especially artists Aleta Karstad and Graham Mastersmith, for braving the elements and risking their artwork in the rain. Carp Pizza deserves special mention for setting up a generator and a hot pizza box to keep us all fed with delicious hot pizza. Thanks to Owen for leading two tours, for which he was richly rewarded by finding a Slippery Elm on the property! And thanks to Judy Makin, who made it all happen!
For more photos, please see our FHH Facebook page.
Here is a list of our generous sponsors:
The Landowner, who opened his property to the public for this day only.
Scotiabank in Carp
Carp Pizza (under new ownership!)
Alice’s Village Café
Nick Pope (Pianos in the Park)
Andy Oswald – Royal Lepage Gale Real Estate
Eric and Christine Brackenbury – Jewellers
Deka Home Building Centre
Sweet Potato Fries
Chang Thai Kitchen
West Carleton Drug Mart
Carp Garden Centre – donated trees
Martha Fraser – Signage
Carp BIA – West Carleton War Memorial
Celebrate the Hills – Sunday, 13 September, 10:30am to 3:30pm
Join us in “Celebrating the Hills”, a public event on a 50-acre private property in the Carp Hills near the village of Carp. Surrounded by an old forest with rocky outcrops of rugged Canadian Shield, participants can enjoy many activities, explore nature trails, and climb to an exceptional view overlooking the Carp River valley. An art show and sale, guided and self-guided nature walks, music, refreshments, and children’s activities are planned.
- Local artists: Aleta Karstad, Graham Mastersmith, Allan Joyner, Mette Baker
- The West Carleton War Memorial bronze sculpture by artist Ron Cowle will be on display.
- Guided nature hikes by Dr. Owen Clarkin
For more information, click on the link at the right.
Autumn Splendour at the Carp Farmer’s Market on September 5th
Beth Mlacak and Judy Makin set up our booth at the Carp Farmer’s Market to show off the beautiful painting, Autumn Splendour, by Beth’s late husband, John Mlacak.
The painting is being auctioned online as a fundraiser for the Friends of Huntley Highlands. The auction runs from September 5 to September 14.
Information on how to bid is provided at Silent Auction Details.
Engineer, Reeve of March Township, and celebrated artist, John Mlacak loved to paint the Canadian Shield en plein air, and his landscapes are known for their brilliant, bold colours. Autumn Splendour is an original oil painting that depicts one of John’s favourite subjects: the countryside of March and Huntley Townships, which contain the Carp Hills.
July 2015 – Celebrate the Hills – Call For Artists
If you’re an area artist – painting, sculpture, photography, other media – and inspired by nature, we want to hear from you!
We will be inviting the community to “Celebrate the Hills”, a public event on a 50-acre private property in the Carp Hills where people can discover the natural beauty Ottawa’s own rugged Canadian Shield. The event is being held on Sunday, 13 September, from 10:30am to 3:30pm.
Surrounded by an old forest with rocky outcrops, participants can enjoy many activities, view works by local artists, explore nature trails, and climb to an exceptional view overlooking the Carp River valley. In addition to the art show and sale, guided and self-guided nature walks, a refreshment area, and children’s activities are planned.
Just as the iconic Canadian Shield landscape inspired the Group of Seven, artists are being offered a “Plein Air” day on Monday August 17th to visit the site and work on their art.
For more information about the event and how to apply, please download the Application Form (PDF) and follow its instructions for submission.
Carp Barrens Ecological Tour – 9 May – SOLD OUT
The Carp Barrens is a sparsely vegetated outcrop of Canadian Shield dotted with small ponds. In the spring it explodes with wildflowers and green mosses, sedges, and lichens. Join us in a guided tour by Dr. Owen Clarkin to learn more about the special ecology of this extraordinary area. Space will be limited.
To learn more and register for the event, see Carp Barrens Ecological Tour.
Join our Facebook group for information leading up to the event.
Public Meeting – 11 March
Thank you to everyone who came out to our public meeting on 11 March at the Carp Memorial Hall (click on slides to download a copy of the presentation). About 50 people attended the presentation and following discussion. Members of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust were on hand to answer questions about land donations and conservation easements. We introduced our trail coordinator, Bernard Proulx, and provided information on the Crazy Horse Trail and upcoming events: Carp Barrens Tour (9 May) by Owen Clarkin and Art in the Hills (13 September).
We are looking for volunteers to help with coordinating the events and to serve on the executive. Contact us if you’re interested.
Thank you to all the local businesses who contributed door prizes: Alice’s Café, The Swan, Deka Home Hardware, The Carp Bakery, Faith’s Foodliner, and the West Carleton Drug Mart.
The West Carleton Review published an article by Jessica Cunha about the meeting in the 19 March edition: Interest High in Preserving the Carp Hills.
Read the West Carleton Review Article
Huntley Highlands Group Partners with Land Trust, by Jessica Cunha, in the 5 March edition.
January 2015 – What We Accomplished in 2014
We have a major new initiative to announce and many activities planned for 2015, which we will be publicizing in the weeks to come. Looking back to our inaugural year of 2014, we reached out to the community and began to a build an organization. Here’s a list of what we accomplished in 2014:
- We held a public meeting in March 2014. Over 80 people attended and voiced their concerns and ideas.
- We developed a Manifesto from the community feedback, which includes three key actions that guide our activities.
- To raise awareness we created a video with comments from people in the community about what the Carp Hills mean to them. Thank you to our producer, Oliver Brackenbury.
- We started a newsletter, which now has over 100 subscribers.
- The Mountain Equipment Coop ran a bike race in West Carleton/Lanark that raised awareness and funds.
- We forged a partnership with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust for land conservation – more about this in 2015.
- We began work on developing the “Crazy Horse” trail – more about this 2015.
- We held the Carp Hills’ Biggest Tree Contest to encourage landowners and recreational enthusiasts in the Hills to take a real look at the nature around them. The winner will be announced in a few weeks.
December 2014 – 13 Biggest Tree Contest Entries
The Carp Hills Biggest Tree Contest is now closed. Thirteen trees with arboreal brawn were submitted for the championship title of Biggest Tree: 6 sugar maples, 2 red oaks, 3 bur oaks, 1 basswood, and 1 elm. We’ve measured the top 5 entries (largest diameters) and will be publishing the results early in the new year.
Check out photos of the contest entries on our Biggest Tree web page. Read the article in the 19 February edition of the West Carleton Review by Jessica Cunha: Towering Red Oak Takes Title of Biggest Tree.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to send us photos and submit their trees.
7 November 2014 – The Beaver, A Canadian Icon: Pest or Eco-hero?
On Friday, November 7th, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) will hold its Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction at the Almonte Civitan Club Community Hall in Almonte. Michael Runtz is the honoured guest speaker. The event also features a Benefit Auction offering a wide range of useful and uniquely interesting items, with proceeds going to help support the important work of the Land Trust.
18 October 2014 – Geoheritage Day Tour of South March Highlands
Carleton University’s Department of Earth Sciences is running a set of geological tours across the Ottawa area on Saturday, 18 October. One site is the South March Highlands, which is the southern expression of the geological feature that forms the Carp Hills. See the Explore Geoheritage Day web site for details.
14 September 2014 – MEC Bike Ride Benefits the Carp Hills
Over 200 cyclists participated in the first Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Century Ride held on Sunday, 14 September. The event benefited the Friends of Huntley Highlands and the Friends of the Carp River to support the preservation of natural areas in Carp for conservation, recreation, and the mutual benefit of human and wildlife communities.
With the start/finish situated in Carp at the WE Johnston Arena, cyclists enjoyed a ride through the beautiful countryside of West Carleton and Lanark County and finished with a BBQ lunch at Alice’s Village Cafe afterward.
21 August 2014 – “Caring About the Carp Hills” Article Published
The West Carleton Review published an excellent article on the “I Care About the Carp Hills” video written and produced by Oliver Brackenbury. The article, Caring About the Carp Hills, was published in the 21 August edition and written by Jessica Cunha. It highlights how recent development on the edge of the Hills spurred Oliver to create a short film that would capture peoples’ attention and raise awareness about the threat of adjacent development and population growth on this beautiful natural area.
9 July 2014 – Carp Hills Video Released
We have released a short, professionally made video, “I Care About the Carp Hills”, to raise awareness about what makes the area special and how changes may be threatening it.
The video was produced and directed by Oliver Brackenbury. Currently a writer and filmmaker living in downtown Toronto, Oliver grew up in Carp not five minutes walk from Hidden Lake before it was developed. He has never forgotten his many formative experiences in the Carp Hills. Starting with his kindergarten class trip to Hidden Lake where he saw his first beaver, Oliver benefited greatly from access to such a wealth of nature’s beauty. His affection for the land and desire to see others benefit as he has drew him back to Carp earlier this year to offer his skills pro bono in the production of a short promotional video for the Friends of Huntley Highlands.
“I couldn’t agree more strongly with the group’s goal to protect this area from irresponsible use”, states Oliver. If we lose the Carp Hills there’ll be no getting it back. It might happen in dribs and drabs of unmanaged change, all the easier to forget about or ignore, but the result will be the same. I sincerely hope citizens of the surrounding area will be inspired to lend a hand as well. They needn’t be a specialist like myself; there are several ways in which anybody at all can volunteer their time to help.”
The video is a powerful tool for raising awareness about how special the Carp Hills are and about our action plan for preserving them. We are fortunate that a talented professional like Oliver volunteered to make the video, because a high quality product has more impact.
10 April 2014 – Our Manifesto
We held a meeting with the community on 5 March. We listened. The result is declaration of our organization’s motivations and intentions.
10 April 2014 – South March Highlands and Carp Hills Geoheritage Event – One Billion Years in One Day – Second date scheduled due to overwhelming response
Sunday, June 1st 2014
Presentation: 1:00 PM Doors Open | 1:30 PM Start Time
Location: 359 Terry Fox Drive, Suite 210
Field Trip: 3:15 PM
Location: South March Highlands Trailhead (Old Second Line Rd., near Klondike)
For more information go to: www.ottawagatineaugeoheritage.ca
To register go to: www.eventbrite.com (search for the event name)
*** Please note: if you have already registered for the April 27th event, we kindly request to please attend on that day. Thank you! ***
Everyone is invited to join Dr. Allan DONALDSON and Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage for an exciting geological trip through time! We will begin with a lively interactive presentation to provide an overview of impressive geological features within the National Capital Region, emphasizing those within the South March-Carp Hills region. Rock specimens and poster displays will be available to allow attendees to become acquainted with features mentioned in the talk. If the weather is suitable, this educational exchange will be followed by a fun and informative to view several nearby rock exposures within the stunning South March Highlands. For more information: www.ottawagatineaugeoheritage.ca or contact Ann at email@example.com.
Explore the geology within the South March Highlands and Carp Hills!
Discover why these rocks have revolutionized our understanding of our geological history!
Learn to read the rocks in your neighbourhood!
10 March 2014 – Thank you to everyone who came out to the meeting last Wednesday. We are reviewing all the comments and will be contacting those who expressed interest in helping with various activities. Please see the Contact Us page for volunteer opportunities.
12 Febrary 2014 – Send us your photos of the Highlands. Tell us your name and where and when you took the photo and if there’s a story behind it. We’ll post this information on our Photos page.