Loudon Basin Peatland Trailhead
By Chuck Miller, Park Superintendent
Killarney / French River / Mashkinonje / W. Sandy Island / Manitou Islands Provincial Parks

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 quarry.
The trailhead will provide for access and parking for three motor vehicles with trailers, parking for six cars, a composting toilet, interpretive trailhead signage, boardwalk and trail. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $70,000 if all materials and labour were to be contracted. The Friends of Mashkinonje are hopeful that this cost can be significantly reduced through donations of materials, equipment and labour.

Trail layout for the remainder of the trails is being headed up by Harley Lang and is currently underway.
The Loudon Basin Peatland Trail will be the first of a number of eco-tourism-related experiences to be development at Mashkinonje that complement the existing tourism industry in Sudbury East and West Nipissing The trail will provide opportunities for exploration and appreciation of the natural and cultural heritage of the park.
Thank you to all the community volunteers and staffs that have been taking Mashkinonje from a vision to reality.

By Angela Martin

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.


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.


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.

Many people did not like our cool wet spring, but the flowers flourished. The Fringed Polygala pictured here was lovely as were the Pink Lady Slippers and Wild Columbine.

When there are two full moons within one calendar month, the second moon is referred to as a "blue moon". This phenomenon will be visible July 31, 2004.

We would like to welcome Carmelle Girouard to a directorship post with the Friends of Mashkinonje. Carmelle is a dynamic, enthusiastic and fun-loving person. We will enjoy working with her (if we can keep up to her!)


Maggie MacQuarrie, Monique Beauparlant Therez Violette, Claude and Marguerite Lemieux
Wenda Moore, Liliane Belcourt Steve and Pat Horvath, Bruce Kent, Kathleen McInlee
Alex Strachan, of The Lodge at Pine Cove, Denise Pitre, of la grosse carotte

Friends of Mashkinonje

Picnic and Annual General Meeting

 Sunday, August 22, 2004

 Location:        Welcome Lodge, Musky Island Rd. off Hwy. 64 South

       11:00 am    Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers (members only)

       12:00 - 2:00 pm                 Silent Auction

 12:00 Lunch           Corn Roast, Sausage on a bun, Soft drinks, Desserts or bring your own

      1:00pm       Guest Speaker  Stacey Pettigrew from the Sudbury and District Health Unit

Presentation on West Nile Virus

2:00 pm     Silent Auction closes

      2:30pm       Canoe trip down Muskrat Creek          BYO Canoe - or join us in one of ours.

                        Hike into the Park

Contact us if you plan to hike or paddle to reserve a spot.

Liz Lang: (705) 898-2108

Angela Martin: (705) 594-1153



We hope you enjoyed our newsletter. To view past editions, visit our website www.nipissing.com/mashkinonje

or contact us at: Friends of Mashkinonje
Site 8, Box 1, 99 Lang's Landing,
Monetville, ON, P0M 2K0

President,  Angela Martin
Vice President, Danièle Lemieux
Sec. Treas., Liz Lang
Park Liaison, Chuck Miller
Friends/Ontario Parks Superintendent
Izettia Zeitz
Bob Wilson
Carmelle Girouard

Friends of Mashkinonje
2004 Summer Bird Festival
132 Species- 48 Observers
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Am. Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Am. Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Am. Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Ringed-neck Duck
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser

Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shined Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Northern Harrier
Broad-winged Hawk
Bald Eagle
Am. Kestrel

Ruffed Grouse
Am. Coot
Virginia Rail
Sandhill Crane
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Am. Woodcock
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull

Black Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker

Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great-crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo

Gray Jay
Blue Jay
Am Crow
Common Raven

Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper

House Wren
Marsh Wren
Winter Wren
Ruby-throated Kinglet

Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Am. Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling

Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Black-throated Green
Black-and-white Warbler
Am. Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Mourning Warbler
Canada Warbler

Rose-breast Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting

Am.Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Northern Oriole
Purple Finch
Am. Goldfinch
Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow