Trail comments and management proposals - A Tweddle

BACKGROUND            Nov 2002

Petrie Island Interpretive Trails study and Ecological Inventory by Cumberland & RMOC

Hired: Dan Brunton and Sid Thacker ($18,000)

Started in spring of 1999. D Brunton report. Natural environment inventory and interpretive concepts assessment of the Petrie Island study area completed in Dec 1999 (Island and main shore north of North Service Road)

q        May 1997 - original Cumberland study presented to public and Community Associations

q        Nov 25, 1999 Public Open House

q        Dec 1999 Brunton inventory and interpretive concepts presented to Cumberland Council

q        Jan 24, 2000 Status report on trial study and inventory, including comments.

q        Oct 2000 - interpretive trail Master plan presented to Cumberland council - ceased to exist as of Jan 2001

q        Difference with original proposal (1998) trail stops at end of Muskrat Bay, no trail around Marsh to the bait shop and no trail  from North Service road path to the South passage

Trails in the plan:

q        Shore trail  - along the North Service road on sewer line completed this year

q        Queenswood Forest trail - part of Cumberland trails

q        Main Island Trail, existing trail on old road bed and extending around the bottom of Turtle Pond requires a bridge - 3 nodes planned: Trail cost $61,000

q        Western extension trail, Beaver Trial to Muskrat Bay,  discourage people going beyond this point - interpretive mode planned

q        Eastern extension - south of sand operation is stone dust bike trail installed by Region/Grandmaitre, 1998 - 1 interpretive node Planned

q        Informal fisherman=s trail around Crappy Bay - this trail has been improved by FOPI for access for maintenance and garbage removal - 1 interpretive node planned

q        Picnic area trails - Turtle and Tornado trail - 1 interpretive node exists, one more proposed



The City has not invested any dollars or further resources to this plan except to post regulation signs at 4 locations on the Island

q        FOPI is willing to proceed with interpretive and trail improvements, boards and signs at suggested locations using City and Trillium funds

q        The trail south of Turtle Pond - RVCA, OFNC and FOPI had reservations about this trail. FOPI continues to have concerns about opening a 2nd, less controlled access to the sensitive areas in particular, shore fishermen would probably damage much of the shore line and trail bikes, already a problem on the main trail as well as off leash pets would be harder to control. These along with reasons put forward by OFNC make me/us feel this trail should not be built, the cost of the bridge and necessary approvals are also a consideration. The south shore of Turtle Pond contains a significant Hackberry forest and is used by various animals, that can be seen from the north shore: these animals would  be scared away by the presence of people in that area.


What has happened since?

q        Ottawa Carleton installed 4 multiple regulation signs using symbols at Fishermen=s trail and causeway entrance, 2 at picnic area entrance and 1 on trail at private house: these signs restrict motorized vehicles, skidoos, bikes, alcohol, swimming, picking flowers and plants, camping and campfires, littering, dogs must be on a leash and poop and scoop applies. These regulations are the same as all Cumberland parks and carry fines for abuse. The no swimming restriction has no corresponding by law and/or fine.

q        No city work other than improvements made by FOPI have occurred. FOPI has maintained and improved trails, added  signage, cut  trails back 10' from shore where feasible, added benches and placed branches and actual barriers to protect the shoreline at appropriate places.

q        The Beaver trail shown on Map 1 of web site was incorporated into the system in 2000 and follows the western portion of the proposed loop trail, this hopefully addresses the concerns of some FOPI members, the OFNC and RVCA

q        The potential for a small, narrow trail, Alder forest,  along the main trail has also been investigated.

q        The fishermen=s trail was improved and moved back from the water=s edge so that it is  accessible by City equipment. It can be used for clean up and garbage collection as well as improved access to the proposed information node.

q        The increased usage along Turtle trail and shore trail by people wandering off the trails has caused increased wear on portions of the shoreline. The branches placed as a barrier on some portions of the trail are broken down at some locations. A new approach was to put chicken wired covered with branches,  and this appears to be working and eventual growth will camouflage the wire. We would propose to try the same idea using wire with large openings that would allow small mammals and birds to pass through.

q        The question of people going beyond the end of Muskrat Bay has been a concern for several years as blocking the trail with brush has not been effective, this area is listed as the start of the ecologically sensitive zone and as such proposes no trails though it. The widening of the existing ditch is an attempt to see if this will discourage use of the area. The plan proposes a sign at this dead ended trail to advise users not to proceed further to the west and into the more sensitive ecological areas of the island. The legality and consequences of going beyond this point or venturing off the trails has not been addressed but it is assumed most people will comply.



FOPI has operated the picnic area and maintained the trails for the past 5 years and plan to continue in the future.

The regulations put in place by Cumberland should be incorporated into new City by laws ie:

q        no littering

q        no picking or disturbing vegetation

q        no camping

q        no campfires (allowed in designated areas with a permit, presently issued by the Fire Department)

q        no bikes, motorized vehicles

q        dogs on leash and poop and scoop in effect

q        no swimming,     Should be swimming at your own risk except where there are lifeguards

q        no alcohol

q        no loud noise

q        no doge in sand and beach, picnic area

q        the present curfew 9 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. should be continued but 10:00 p.m. closing  in May and June may be more appropriate - 8:00 p.m.  curfew in sensitive zones




q        stay on trails in transition areas

q        stay out of ecologically sensitive areas, people and pets - authorized persons exempt

q        shore fishing along fishermen=s trail and Muskrat trail and around causeway, but not on the causeway, around Turtle Pond and other sensitive areas

q        no outboard,  gas motor on most inland waters - electric motors would be okay

q        no boats, canoes in Turtle pond - for nature viewing only

q        landing boats along Ottawa River shore should probably be restricted or only allowed in certain areas

q        capturing of wildlife should be prohibited - especially frogs and turtles

q        Beaver should be controlled by City to protect forest - to 1 or max 2 lodges


q        no motor boats in beach areas

q        beach areas should have buoys and should be posted as no boat, no fishing, no dog areas

q        East bay could be used as boat landing and shore fishing area

q        Area between beach 1 & 2 (Western beach) could also be canoe launch and fishing area

q        interim control of area during construction may require some additional staff or security until park/beach is in full operation


q        Management board could include City staff, FOPI, RVCA, MNR, OFNC, Duck Club: should be in place to meet twice yearly to review operation of whole island and natural shoreline

q        At present FOPI members are the most regular users of the island and hence in a best position to monitor the park/beach area. FOPI will continue operation of interpretive centre and monitor trails and natural area and could expand public education programs

q        This year $8000 was spent on staff - City and Trillium funds - supplemented by FOPI volunteers (value $2000).

q        After 5 years of operation FOPI feels that the presence of its members and staff has resulted in a picnic and nature area that residents:

a)      feel safe and secure in

b)      has had little vandalism and damage to the environment

c)      most users are obeying and supporting the regulations to protect the are