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Friends of the Carp Hills celebrate Crazy Horse Trail opening BY SHERRY HAAIMA

Sunday morning’s rainy weather may have kept some away from the opening of the Crazy Horse Trail near Carp but it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of organizers and supporters. Janet Mason, chair of Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH), was joined by trail coordinator Bernard Proulx and West Carleton Coun. Eli ElChantiry, along with volunteers and hikers, for the Oct. 15 opening of the pedestrianonly trail. “We had 17 people come out, plus five of the FCH executive. We had two groups of hikers who went out despite the rain; one group did the side loops, which took about an hour, and the second group hiked the whole main trail (6.2 km), which took two hours,” said Mason. The opening included the unveiling of the trail’s new sign, which will be installed in a few weeks at the trail head

by March Road where it intersects with Huntmar Drive. The trail sits on 200 acres of City of Ottawa-owned property and is located near the old Crazy Horse bar, which burned down “quite a few years ago,” said Mason. “We thought to maintain the history of the old Crazy Horse bar we would call this the Crazy Horse Trail,” she said. For many years, people were using private land, with “tacit” permission of the landowners to “mostly crosscountry ski and hike on and even do some snowmobiling,” said Mason. “But as the population has increased this is not attractive to a lot of the landowners,” she said. “We felt that in order for people to appreciate the Carp Hills and want to protect it, they need to experience it. We felt that if we could provide a trail on public land this would help more people care about the Carp Hills.” The trail has been made to


Trail co-ordinator Bernard Proulx, second from right, joins a group of enthusiastic hikers who braved the rainy weather for a Sunday morning jaunt. be low-impact and sensitive to the ecology of the Carp Hills. A city ecologist, Dr. Nick Stowe, helped organizers as they laid the trail to ensure sensitive ecological features were respected. More interpretive signs

will be installed in the future marking some of the unique and significant areas. “We did discover a fen back here that is filled with hundreds of orchids during a particular time of year,” said Mason. “This in also the only

significant outcropping of Canadian Shield within the city.” Mason thanked the Community Foundation of Ottawa for the grant that funded much of the trail development, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, Deka Home Hardware,

and El-Chantiry, who facilitated city support for the endeavor. The councilor thanked Janet and all involved in the creation of the trail. “It’s not too often you go to a public meeting about opening a trail and you get everyone in agreement,” said El-Chantiry. “We had the snowmobile club, they were happy because you’re going to be next to them but not really on the snowmobile trail. We talked to the landowners, they’re happy because the proper signage will keep us on our own property.” FCH and the city are working with other conservation organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, on future trail developments, he explained. He also saluted the volunteers for their extensive work on the project. “It is a labour of love,” said El-Chantiry. “We have a group of volunteers, they do this with their heart and for that I am grateful.”

613-963-0103 34 West Carleton Review - Thursday, October 20, 2016


West Carleton Review October 20, 2016


West Carleton Review October 20, 2016