2004 MASHKINONJE RECEIVES OFFICIAL PLAN STATUS
Loudon Basin Peatland Trailhead
Located near the site of a former granite quarry, west of the Loudon Basin Peatland, the trailhead is now ready to become a reality.
The trail to the peatlands was marked out with flagging tape over the fall and winter of 2003/04 by volunteers from the Friends of Mashkinonje. The volunteers later returned to take depth measurements in the wetlands. A surveyor was engaged by Ontario Parks to develop a digital profile of the proposed trailhead and parking area. The survey mapped all large diameter trees and areas of treed vegetation. An ecologist was also engaged to ensure plans did not disturb the wetland environment. A landscape architect and designer from the Ontario Parks office in Sudbury provided several alternative plans with one plan being selected for construction.
The plan selected has been developed into a tender
drawing, along with a design for the required boardwalk. The plan was
selected to provide a high-quality visitor experience while minimizing
earth moving, disturbance to natural vegetation, and costs. The
development plan avoids new disturbance and proposes to re-vegetate a
large area of previously disturbed vegetation associated with the old
Trail layout for the remainder of the trails is being headed up by Harley
Lang and is currently underway.
Although it has been only a few months since our last newsletter, we have been having a lot of fun in and around the park. Pictured here is the Monetville 4H Club members, joined by some of their parents. They wanted to take a hike in the park and learn more about it.
We started by telling them about the park boundaries, the wetlands, the birds they might see, and park etiquette. In provincial parks, you are allowed to take away only your photos and your good memories. This will leave the park the way you found it, pristine and beautiful for all who follow. This will ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy tomorrow, what we have today.
We made our way along the Loudon Peatland Trail, watching for birds and identifying trees, plants, and frog calls. As we were arriving at the first wetland, we were welcomed by the call of an American Bittern. It was very difficult to see except for young alert eyes. Painted turtles were seen sunning on a log while Belted Kingfishers flew back and forth. On returning to the entrance, Cory Richer very seriously made the comment, "The only thing I am leaving in the park are my footprints." Cory's comment is priceless, this attitude ensures that Mashkinonje will always be here for him, his family, and his friends.
MUSKRAT CREEK CANOE TRIP
In May we hosted a canoe trip down Muskrat Creek. Most of the 26 people who participated were both Nipissing Naturalists and Friends of Mashkinonje. Two American Bitterns met us at the junction of the old highway and the creek. The forecast was for rain, but it turned out to be a lovely day. The paddlers had various levels of expertise, but the surrounding nature engrossed us and frigid water and paddling ability went unnoticed. The fen plants were not visible because the spring weather was cool, so we listened to the birds and frogs. Their chorus was wonderful. We heard warblers, sparrows, Chorus and Northern Leopard Frogs and Spring Peepers. A big sloping rock at the mouth of the creek provided an excellent lunch location. A pair of Caspian Terns were watching us from an off shore rock as an Osprey flew overhead. On our return, we spent more time exploring the wetlands and beaver dams. Some were fortunate to closely observe a pair of early Eastern Kingbirds on the cattails.
MASHKINONJE SUMMER BIRD FESTIVAL
After our Christmas Bird Count there were several requests to have a summer bird watching event. So the Friends organized the Summer Bird Count to take place in the Sudbury East - West Nipissing area. We held an education night at the Golden Age Club in Lavigne with Randy Moratz from the Sudbury Naturalists as our guest speaker. Randy gave a power point presentation on what is needed to bird watch and the 100 species of birds we are most likely to see. Randy's vast knowledge of birds and their behavior was an inspiration to all 26 people in attendance. We laughed, we learned and we had a lot of fun!
The bird count was extended to 8 days. Forty-eight individuals and families searched their local area on foot, in canoes, and by car to find 132 species of birds. They did an excellent job of finding birds considering the difficulties due to summer foliage being at its peak. Our observers came from North Bay, Field, Crystal Falls, River Valley, Evansville, Sturgeon Falls, Verner, Lavigne, Monetville, the West Bay of Lake Nipissing Noëlville, and Ouelette. For a complete record of the bird species observed, go to the end of the newsletter.
WELCOME TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Maggie MacQuarrie, Monique Beauparlant
Therez Violette, Claude and Marguerite Lemieux
Friends of Mashkinonje