All posts by FOPI_admin

Jim Robertson (26 March 2024)


It had been a busy month but hearing about the active beavers at Petrie I had to make a point of getting down. I arrived about 90 minutes before sunset and started looking for the beavers. 

There was another person there who told me where the beavers usually were; she was there looking for an otter.

No luck with the beavers early on, but while standing near the water just short of the end trail, I spotted an otter 200 yards away and managed a fuzzy photo. We walked down to where  the otter was to see if I could get a better shot, only to find he was now  on the ice about 50 feet from where I was standing when I first saw him!! So another fuzzy shot from 200 yards???? 

(Both photos are tightly cropped  to the extent the fuzziness would allow)

He swam back towards us, but was too quick to get a decent photo.

Walking along the trail  I spotted a single tom wild turkey on the far shore. No female turkeys  were in sight. Later on at the large sandy area half way down the trail, there was lots of evidence of the turkeys having been there.

There is still a thin layer of ice in some spots on the ponds

And where the small waves have been coming ashore along the river, there is ice accumulation on the shoreline bushes/branches

Unless my memory is faulty, I don’t recall any Canada Geese at Petrie when I first started dropping by some 25± years ago. Now there are skeins upon skeins flying over. The flocks seem to get smaller as the dusk gets stronger.

Then not much before sunset we spotted a beaver way over on the far side in amongst a small group of hooded mergansers. But they were a long long way off….

As the sun was setting, a few beavers came closer, but the light was bad (Can’t please everyone????)

The sun dipped below the horizon painting the sky with beautiful colours

Then finally, in the dying light, I managed to be in the right place at the right time for some nice beaver close-ups

Walking back to car as it was getting darker, one of several muskrats I had seen gave me a chance for a photo op

Not far from the muskrat was a pair of Canada Geese. Seemed that one was acting as a look out while the other fed on water weeds.

Jim Robertson (28 February 2024)


Early afternoon, mid-week, and late February combined to present a very quiet visit. One ice fisherman on Muskrat Bay, two walkers and three chickadees who dropped by to say hello once.  The only noise was the quiet rustling of the ice flowing down the river rubbing against the grounded ice.

What few ice fishing huts/tents that are out in place will likely be coming back to shore with the warming temperatures 

While the “in-land” waters are still ice covered, there are areas of water on top of the ice

The River on the other hand is full of flowing slushy ice. Some of the ice from colder days is still frozen in place, while the slushy ice pushes its way up onto the ice grounded in the shallows.

Sitting, or standing, didn’t seem to be yielding fish at the end of the line. (Despite using a digital fishfinder to help find the fish)

A few rabbit tracks were evident in the fresh snow

Last fall’s chewings by the beavers were still looking very fresh

The dogwood branches were certainly standing out in the bright sun against the white snow

The black and white chickadees certainly showed in amongst the red brush

Last year’s grasses were emerging from the snow, fall flowers including fall asters were still carrying their seeds and the burrs were standing by to catch a ride on your pants

A shrub I found growing in just one spot some 20 years ago and hadn’t noticed for a long time is still there. Nine-bark seed pods stood out in the bramble

Both the buckthorn berries and the bittersweet were looking dried out after the winter

The basswood tree seeds seemed to be everywhere 

In the meantime the maple tree buds have set and will be producing leaves sooner than we might think.

The picnic benches are close at hand, ready for the visitors to come and enjoy FOPI’s wonderful facilities

Jim Robertson (13 January 2024)


After the snow and rain of a few days ago I expected the river to be up a bit, but I found the Bill Holland Trail impassable with open, flowing water. I checked the River levels website and discovered it was some three plus feet over the normal summer levels.

The other trails were covered with fresh ice so not much walking was possible around the Island today.

There were tracks in the snow that showed other animals were out and about.

Red squirrel

The wild turkey tracks were pointing the way….

Someone with a tail dragging in the snow had passed by.

These were identified later as muskrat tracks. I’m surprised a muskrat was out at this time of year.

A few tracks were not identifiable

I thought at first I had some deer tracks, but on closer inspection, I think it is someone with a boot with a heel which leaves a deer-like print behind.

(Those are turkey tracks  going vertically in the photo)

There were a few birds….

A raven, a nuthatch, a chickadee, a female hairy woodpecker and a cardinal

Plus a red squirrel horning in on the birds’ seeds

A last year’s robin nest was exposed to the elements

What I thought might be a tangled baltimore oriole nest turned out to be strands of ribbon/paper…

The buckthorn berries are awaiting the birds looking for last-resort food.

There is still lots of grass showing above the layer of snow

The main channel of the river was ice covered for the most part, with large shards of ice piled up by the current and winds

The ice-fishing huts are still “in port”, but there was some fishing going on

With the bright sun, the cabins were glowing brightly

Jim Robertson (7 December 2023)


I spent two hours in a winter wonderland at Petrie the day after freezing rain and some 4-5″ of snow. The trails and trees were all coated with snow. It would only have been better had it be a clear sunny day.

Coming down Tweddle Road from the Queensway…

Walking the trails

Scenes along shoreline of Turtle Pond

Two muskrats were sitting on the edge of the ice halfway out in Turtle Pond chewing on reeds


Based on the size of the footprint, I think this was the track of a beaver crossing the trail between Turtle Pond and the River

A single red squirrel was towards the western end of the trail

No need to be cautious of  poison ivy….

Various berries were crowned by fresh snow

Carrion-flower berries (a.k.a Coonberries)

Invasive buckthorn berries

Highbush cranberries


Other plants were endowed with snow as well

The grasses and ferns were bent over in the snow

The chickadees and nuthatches were looking for a handout

The cardinals were looking after themselves thank you very much

The waterfowl were being very shy

The Canada geese (infiltrated by mallards at times) would swim away as soon as they were aware of my presence on the trail.

The mallards would turn their backs on me

And the common golden-eyes stayed a long way out in the river and some flew off into the light snow

Some snowflakes were caught up in two strands of spider webs. 

(The photos are quite bad, but I left them because of the uniqueness)

A few sticks caught in the ice of Muskrat Bay were very noticeable. 

One reminded me of walking stick insect????

There were interesting ice patterns on Muskrat Bay

It is still very early in the winter, so small, rippling “waves” were lapping at the shoreline on the River

Jim Robertson (25 October 2023)


I didn’t get down to Petrie until the last week of the month, and it was the middle of the day when things are quieter.

I noticed right away one sign that winter is coming…. the ice fishing huts were being lined up, and the muskie “lodge” was already in the water.

The fall colours, which hadn’t been all that great this year, were still hangin on around the Islands.

Sumach leaves were very much in evidence with their red fall colouring.

The virginia creeper leaves also turn a bright red in the fall

Some (pignut) hickory leaves were slowly turning colour

It’s interesting that when I first started visiting Petrie some 25 years ago, that there was not a Canada Goose to be found, now they are very numerous, to say the least.

One group of Canada Geese were being very noisy, splashing about. They seemed to be taking a bath, flipping over on their backs to get thoroughly wet. Water was flying everywhere.

In the midst of it all, I didn’t see the egret in the reeds in front of the geese until a few minutes into the raucous

A few geese and some mallards were enjoying a siesta on the logs normally reserved for the turtles.

Not only did I initially miss seeing the egret, I completely missed the great blue heron until I got home and noticed it in one of the photos. It isn’t a great photo, but they frequently have started to head south by now. (It is there, look at the bottom left????????)

A pair of wood ducks were warily keeping their distance from me as they are wont to do..

Mallards on the other hand just ignore people  as they swim about.

A flock of about 50 lesser scaups (I think)  were scared up by a lone goose flying  up the middle of the river. The ducks flew down river for about 300 yards, then turned back and settled again. Despite my long lens, the ducks were still a long way off so no great photos. But I don’t recall seeing a flock of teals before at Petrie. Note added: probably lesser scaups, not teals.

A lone cormorant was basking in the sun, taking a break from his fishing

With many leaves having fallen from the trees, bird nests are no longer invisible

Some of the bittersweet berries were starting to “crack open” and revealed their seeds

The berries of carrion flower, highbush cranberries and buckthorn were hanging for all to see.

A few small black grapes were on the vine at the end of the Bill Holland Trail

Burdock (burrs) with their hooked spines, were in prime condition to grab onto your clothes as you walk by

Asters and thistles have gone to seed

Ferns had enjoyed a nice summer and were in the midst of dying back

There weren’t many mushrooms and fungus to be found 

Visitors were enjoying the Islands from the water

In a shady spot walking back to the car, the grass was covered with rain drops from the past few days

Jim Robertson (2 October 2023)


We visited Petrie Island late in the afternoon mid-month. The light was wonderful for photos, but the wildlife is much less active at that time of day.

The late summer/fall flowers were in bloom

(Scroll over for ID)

Bottle gentian

Bottle gentian

Bottle gentian

Bottle gentian





Sneezeweed with bee

Sneezeweed with bee

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Marsh woundwort

Marsh woundwort

Fall asters

Fall asters

Impatiens, Touch-me-not

Impatiens, Touch-me-not

Berries were becoming common

Bittersweet, carrion-flower, highbush cranberry

​​​​​​​Pigeon horntail (a primitive bee/wasp)

Description of a pigeon horntail

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies

A co-operative, but distant at times, egret…

A more camouflaged great blue heron

 A few mallards found a spot in the sun, while three painted turtles, after the sun moved, were sitting in the shade.

A cottontail rabbit and a grey squirrel were sorting out right-of-ways

Some odd looking growths on a leaf turned out to be a parasite:

Hackberry nipplegall psyllid,

Jim Robertson (25 August 2023)


A brief walk on August 24, 2023 produced some flowers, and other things, not seen on August 15th

Impatiens, aka touch-me-not and/or  jewel weed, seemed to be everywhere. One was hosting a Japanese beetle (which was likely eating the blossom for a morning snack).

One of my favourite flowers was in bloom – the cardinal flower.

A flower I always associate with Petrie is the turtlehead flower

Scroll over the photos for individual identification



Bottle Gentian (aka Closed gentian)

Bottle Gentian (aka Closed gentian)

purple loosestrife

purple loosestrife

Canada thistle (aka field thistle)

Canada thistle (aka field thistle)

Field mint

Field mint

Field mint

Field mint

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Water smartweed

Red shank

Red shank

Wild cucumber

Wild cucumber





Gypswort (aka water horehound)

Gypswort (aka water horehound)

The long-jawed orb weaver (?) spiders have been busy making lacrosse sticks?

A thistle seed was grasping onto a stem of grass while dew drops were being held on a blade of grass by unseen tiny hairs.

Stinging nettle plants were ready to brush against bare skin. Yellow foxtail grass was starting to sprout and a Canada thistle was dropping its seeds.

I would have thought it was late in the summer, but a good number of tadpoles were in the shallows

A lone mallard (black?) duck was sitting on a fallen branch with his friend the phoebe, while a kingbird was on his own smaller branch.

Despite my general reluctance to take photos of people, there were some young people enjoying the Island too….

Jim Robertson (15 August 2023)


Dropped into Petrie Island this morning (August 15, 2023) for a brief walkabout and then watch a turtle hatchling release. (We had been party to the first Petrie unofficial hatchling release in 2002.)

Driving down Tweddle Road the phone wires were hosting a flock of barn swallows. A few of them are in the photos below

A female red-wing blackbird was in the bushes alongside the water, while a yellow warbler was flitting about along the walking trail.

Last time I had seen wood ducks at Petrie was 15-20 years ago  (but I admit to not having been there much in the meantime). At that time they were in more westerly parts of the islands no where near any walking trails. Today’s were in Turtle Pond, but very skittish of people, flying off if anyone came within 30-40 yards of them.

Three females were on a branch a long way off in the middle of Turtle Pond.

A few males, in full molt, were even further off, but I did finally mange to find one closer.

The only mallard we saw was a male, also in full molt, sitting on a sunken log in the middle of Turtle Pond as well.

A few Canada geese were at the west end of Turtle Pond

While a cormorant was fishing in the Ottawa River

The last birds seen were a flicker and a robin on the west end of the Bill Holland trail. 

The flicker looks much bigger than the robin – it ‘s all a question of camera angles and perspective.

The wildflowers are trending towards fall flowers already.  Scroll over the picture for ID.

Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

Burdock (only one I found in bloom)

Burdock (only one I found in bloom)

Wild rose

Wild rose

Pickerel weed- only one

Pickerel weed- only one

Devil's darning needles

Devil’s darning needles

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

Canada Thistle - also only one

Canada Thistle – also only one

Bird's foot trefoil

Bird’s foot trefoil

Evening primrose

Evening primrose

Showy tick-trefoil

Showy tick-trefoil

Joe-pye weed

Joe-pye weed





Seed pods and berries were all along the trails

Wild rose hips

Wild rose hips







Highbush cranberry

Highbush cranberry





While neither a flower nor seeds, two other plants caught my eye. An insect gall on a Canada thistle and some red-leafed poison ivy

Insect gall on a Canada thistle

Insect gall on a Canada thistle

Poison ivy

Poison ivy

A raccoon had walked by recently leaving his wet tracks in the sand. Nearby was evidence of a raccoon-raided snapping turtle nest from June.

The turtle hatchling releases seemed to be a hit. Twenty-five people were at this morning’s wait-listed release.

Two snapping turtles and five map turtles were released.

One of the two snappers was allowed to make its own entrance to the water.

The other snapper, as well as the map turtles, were handed off directly into the water

Two of the hatchlings swam around a bit, and came back to the shore for a few minutes.

FOPI Dispatch (13 August 2023)

(Le français suit)

Summer dispatch – August 2023

Hope everyone is having a good summer. We have been very productive out at Petrie Island and it is amazing to realize we are beginning to wind down our summer activities already.  It has been somewhat challenging to work around the crazy weather and wildfire smoke but here are some highlights of the summer:

Rejuvenation of information kiosks and picnic tables, better signage about rules, a scavenger hunt teasers and work in the container to make the displays more engaging. Go team!

Regular work to maintain the trails- with all the wind things have been falling; with all the rain things have been growing!

Work on invasive species to remove garlic mustard, dog strangling vine and start on knotweed

Partnering with the Petrie Island Turtle Project to collect eggs for incubation. We have had to move to a registration system to handle the volume of interest in the Hatchling Release. ? There was a bit of delay in the hatching but now the turtles are emerging. Over 400 eggs were collected and thus saved from probable predation.

Staff and volunteer training on interpretive programming was provided by Dr. Susan Aitken of Carleton University to inform current and future signage. Stay tuned.

A spotlight on freshwater mussels with sessions for staff and public by our own Carol Howard Donati and the creation of a shell display.

Preliminary work on the wildflower garden to remove non natives- this project will continue in 2024 ( just saying in case you would like to participate).

A visitor survey, complementary to the member survey, is being done this month thanks to the work of Anne Couillard.  And thanks to Momentive AI ( Survey Monkey) for hosting the online survey as a community project And speaking of helpful donations, our spring cleanup was greatly enhanced by pressure washing of buildings and spaces provided free by Professional Mobile Wash

Of course the biggest highlight is the high attendance at Petrie Island.

  Rentals and reservations are steady; we have seen good interest in the Naturalist sessions, people are enjoying the displays. But it is mid August and already we have said goodbye to a couple summer staff.  Our summer season will close Aug. 27 when the other staff finish.  And we will mark the day with a walking tour with Michael Ricco, daily Petrie Island visitor/nature and wildlife lover.  Don’t miss it.

And just a quick reminder that our annual meeting will be held October 24 at the Queenswood Heights Community Centre.  We are hoping for a good turnout and invite people to consider getting involved in our executive.

Sherry Nigro, Communications and Engagement

Dépêche de l’été – août 2023

J’espère que vous passez tous un bel été. Pour notre part, nous avons été très productifs à l’île Petrie, et il est étonnant de nous retrouver déjà vers la fin de nos activités estivales. Le mauvais temps et la grande chaleur ont posés des défis, sans compter la fumée des feux de forêt, alors voici les hauts points:

Nous avons rafraîchi les kiosques et peint les tables de pique-nique, amélioré l’information sur les règles du parc, tenu une chasse aux trésors et rendu nos expositions plus captivantes. Bon travail, toute l’équipe!

Entretien des sentiers: les grands vents ont jonché les sentiers de branches, et la pluie fréquente a encouragé une végétation très riche!

Espèces invasives: nous avons travaillé pour réduire trois espèces:

l’herbe à l’ail, le dompte-venin et la renouée.

Partenariat avec le Project des tortues de l’île Petrie: collecte et incubation d’oeufs. Nous avons créé un système d’enregistrement pour tenir tête aux nombreuses inscriptions pour la libération des petites tortues. ? L’éclosion a été retardée, mais les petits commencent à se montrer Nous avons recueilli plus de 400 oeufs, privant les prédateurs.

Le Dr Susan Aitken, de l’u. Carleton, a formé le personnel et plusieurs bénévoles en matière de panneaux d’interprétation, pour aujourd’hui et pour l’avenir. À suivre.

Sessions publiques d’info sur les moules d’eau douce, offertes par notre membre Carol Howard-Donati. Nous avons créé une exposition de mollusques.

Travaux préliminaires sur le jardin de plantes sauvages – projet qui continuera en 2024 pour éliminer les espèces invasives (bénévoles, nous comptons sur vous…)

Nous tenons un sondage des visiteurs ce mois-ci, en complément de celui des membres, grâce à l’excellent travail d’Anne Couillard. Grand merci, Momentive AI ( Survey Monkey) hôte du sondage en ligne classé comme projet communautaire.

À propos de dons: notre nettoyage printanier a été grandement aidé par les services (nettoyage des bâtiments et panneaux) , offerts gratuitement, de Professional Mobile Wash

En fait, ce qui nous impressionne le plus, c’est le nombre de visiteurs.

Les locations et réservations sont constantes; l’intérêt pour le programme des Naturalistes se maintient, et on apprécie les expositions.

Et nous voici à la mi-août, le temps de voir partir notre personnel saisonnier.  Notre saison est close le 27 août, avec le départ final du personnel. Il y aura un visite guidée par Michael Ricco, visiteur quotidien et grand ami de l’île qui apprécie beaucoup la faune et la flore. À ne pas manquer!

Un rappel: notre assemblée annuelle aura lieu le 24 octobre au centre communautaire de Queenswood Heights. Nous espérons y voir beaucoup de membres, et encourageons chacun à songer à participer à l’exécutif.

Sherry Nigro, Communications et engagement

Jim Robertson (12 July 2023)

I started doing “dispatches” from Petrie 22 years ago. The dispatches, a summary of what I saw on visits,  were weekly for two years then dropped off to bi-weekly and monthly until 2005.  Having moved from Orleans, the dispatches became quite infrequent with two in 2006 and 2009, and one in 2010 and 2018……..

This dispatch is from July 11, 2023. Arriving much later than my usual sunrise visits in the “old” days we missed any sightings of beaver, raccoons etc. We didn’t see any herons at all. ​​​​​​​

A young robin was chirping heartily when we parked the car by the culverts.

A kingbird and a cedar waxwing were hopping about in the trees. A flicker defied me taking a decent picture of it.

There was a family of three Baltimore orioles playing hide and seek with me along the trail. I managed to get three barely passable pictures of each of them. The first two are the juveniles.

Only two ducks, mallards, seemed to a round. The male was in full molt which is normal at this time of year. The female molts while  on the nest.

A juvenile ringbilled gull was more interested in finding something to eat  than being bothered by me creeping closer to take its picture.

Unlike the “old” days when there were no Canada Geese, a large flock was swimming in the river just off the sandy shores  at the west end of the trails.

They left ample evidence behind of their having been on shore….

WIth the weather having been so warm the water has warmed up and there is no need for the turtles to come up and rest of logs etc. But we did find two painted turtles enjoying the sunshine.  Very different scene than in early June when there are so many turtles sunning themselves.

A small snail was making its way up a tall stem of grass

While walking back east along the shore it was evident a tree branch had been dragged from the river shore, along an informal trail that leads south from the River Loop trail to Bill Holland Trail and into Muskrat Bay. Must have been a busy beaver that morning.

The small maple “seedlings” I used to see each year in the sane along the Ottawa River are still there, they never amount to anything.

I am not sure if the black ants were farming the aphids, or eating them. Ants are known to “farm” or care for aphids as the aphids feed primarily on the sap from plants and secrete a liquid called honeydew. This secretion is very sugar-rich, and quite favoured by ants as a food source.

Aside from the ants and aphids, above, and mosquitoes etc, two other insects spotted were a tiny forktail damselfly and a red admiral butterfly.

There was a massive amount of pickerel weed in bloom.

Lots  of other summer wildflowers were in bloom. Scroll the picture to see its name.





Sweet pea

Sweet pea

Tufted vetch

Tufted vetch

Goat rue

Goat rue

White waterlily

White waterlily

Yellow waterlily

Yellow waterlily

St John's wort

St John’s wort

Bird's foot trefoil

Bird’s foot trefoil

Showy tick-trefoil

Showy tick-trefoil

Narrow leaf loosestrife

Narrow leaf loosestrife

Yellow loosestrife

Yellow loosestrife

Meadow rue

Meadow rue



White meadowsweet

White meadowsweet



White sweet clover

White sweet clover

Bladder camapion

Bladder camapion



Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed



Canada thistle

Canada thistle

Flowering rush

Flowering rush



Dogwood berries and grapes were abundant.

I tread carefully and did not disturb the fairies playing by the FOPI offices.

A few kayaks and stand-up boards had been launched and were exploring.

FOPI Dispatch (June 2023)

(Le français suit l’anglais)

This newsletter comes to you to share some of the challenges of our current period of transition. The protracted spring freshet meant Petrie Island was inaccessible for about a month. There is still considerable work to be done to repair or replace lost and damaged benches and viewing areas, tidy up the trails and restore the visitor area.  Work to date has focused on making the trails passable. A special shout out to Judy and Mary for organizing the clean up day in May and to all the volunteers who regularly pick up litter at the Island.

The passing of Al Tweddle has left unfillable shoes though we are working hard to protect his legacy and ensure that Petrie Island sustains as our “small wilderness”.  We will have elections in the fall for the executive positions. In the interim Paul Le Fort has agreed to be the acting president for the Friends of Petrie Island. Sherry Nigro will provide acting vice president support.  Steve Rollwage continues as our treasurer; Michael Ricco is coordinating memberships; David Villeneuve remains our webmaster.  Our members at large, Michel Lussier, Vincent Francoeur and Marc Poirier round out our little team. In other news about personnel, we were allocated funding from Canada Summer Jobs for 4 summer staff. Welcome back to Meghan Meilleur and Alicia Gilmour and we are pleased to have Léa Francoeur and Alessandro Molina Aviles join us as well.

Summer programming will be a bit different- we are partnering with Petrie Island Turtle Project for turtle conservation including harvesting turtle eggs.  We will offer guided tours on request, operate the picnic area and educate visitors on park rules.  We hope to have some events including some for children and will advertise when the planning is set.

Thank you to those members who completed our survey in May. This information will be useful to inform our short and long term planning. As well we will share it with the City as they undertake a refresh of the Petrie Island Management Plan.  Thank you to the people who expressed interest in getting more involved.

We hope you will continue to support us by buying or renewing your membership; it is so easy through PayPal on the website. Please remember to complete both the online form and the payment.  

Other ways you can show your support include:

– Coming out for events

– Joining or leading one of our projects

– Become a moderator on our social media platforms

– Help out on Wednesday work days

– Review our interpretive signage and help a team plan future signage

– Help with the wildflower garden

– Become a tour guide

– Coordinate events

– Coordinate volunteers

We look forward to continuing to work with our community into the future to protect Petrie’s ecology and provide our members and visitors with a place they can relax, rejuvenate and connect with nature.  Reach out anytime to our executive, to our email ( or through FB.   

Thank you

Dépêche – juin 2023

Cette dépêche vous donnera une idée des défis que nous pose la période de transition. Une longue crue printanière a fermé l’accès à l’île Petrie pour environ un mois. Il reste énormément de travail à faire pour réparer les dommages faits aux banquettes et belvédères et remplacer l’équipement perdu. Il faut aussi nettoyer les sentiers et l’aire des visiteurs.  Jusqu’ici, nos efforts ont été pour rendre ces derniers praticables. Grand merci à Judy et Mary qui ont organisé la journée de nettoyage en mai, et à tous les bénévoles qui sont venus ramasser les déchets.

Al Tweddle est irremplaçable. Mais nous faisons notre possible pour continuer son oeuvre et faire en sorte que l’île Petrie demeure «la nature à notre portée». Il y aura élection à l’automne pour rebâtir l’exécutif. Pour l’intérim, Paul Le Fort sera notre président et Sherry Nigro assurera la vice- présidence, alors que Steve Rollwage continue comme trésorier et Michael Ricco coordonne l’adhésion. David Villeneuve est toujours notre webmaître. Les autres membres de l’exécutif sont Michel Lussier, Vincent Francoeur et Marc Poirier. En termes de personnel, nous avons reçu une subvention d’Emplois d’été Canada couvrant quatre postes. Nous sommes heureux de retrouver Meghan Meilleur et Alicia Gilmour et accueillons Léa Francoeur et Alessandro Molina Aviles. 

Notre programme d’été a changé: en collaboration avec le Projet de conservation des tortues de l’île Petrie, nous allons recueillir les oeufs de tortues. Il y aura des visites guidées sur demande, nous allons gérer l’aire de pique-nique et continuer à éduquer le public sur les règles du parc. Nous espérons tenir certains événements, surtout pour les enfants; nous annoncerons le tout quand les plans seront faits. 

Merci à tous les membres qui ont répondu au sondage de mai.

Cette information nous servira à fixer nos plans à court et long terme, et nous comptons la partager avec la municipalité, qui se prépare à mettre à jour le Plan de gestion de l’île Petrie. Et merci à tous ceux et celles qui ont manifesté un intérêt pour nous donner un coup de main.

Nous espérons que vous continuerez de nous appuyer en achetant ou renouvelant une adhésion. C’est très facile par le biais de PayPal sur notre site web. Veuillez remplir le formulaire en ligne et celui du paiement.

D’autres façons de nous appuyer:

– participer aux événements

– participer ou diriger un projet

– être l’un des modérateurs de notre présence en ligne

– venir prêter main-forte les mercredis

– faire la révision de nos panneaux d’information et aider à planifier ce programme

– entretenir le jardin de plantes sauvages

– guider des visites

– coordonner des événement

– coordonner les bénévoles

Nous entendons continuer à collaborer avec la communauté pour protéger l’écosystème de l’île Petrie et offrir à nos membres et visiteurs un lieu de relaxation, de rajeunissement et de communion avec la nature. Rejoignez l’exécutif si vous voulez. soit par courriel

( ou via FaceBook.


Sarah Kennedy (May 2023)

Al Tweddle was a great man. We became friends about a year after the Kennedy family first moved into Orléans. I had received a flat “no” (actually three), from the local Parks & Rec guy, when I asked if I could start a children’s paddling program at Petrie Island. I needed a new angle. A firefighter friend tipped me off that “nothing” happens at Petrie unless Al gives his blessing. The next day I looked him up, and sent him a heartfelt essay about how I grew up outside- I was always either playing in the woods or paddling on the lake, and I felt that that was the healthiest place for kids to be. Al invited me down to the island, so he could show me around. On that first day, he literally pointed to the swath of beach we currently occupy, and said, “That would be a great place for a canoe club”. I agreed. Al rang up Councillor Monette, and together, the three of us went to City Hall, to ask the General Manager of Parks & Rec for permission to start a learn-to-kayak program.

Petrie Island Canoe Club was made possible because Al saw the canoe club as a positive asset for the community, and an appropriate use of the island he so loved. 

In the early days, the guys at Friends of Petrie Island helped me build kayak racks and A-frame signs. They cleared out room in their shed to give us a secure place to store all of our equipment, loaned us a safety boat, and welcomed us into the FOPI cabin to wait out thunderstorms.  Over the years, FOPI and PICC collaborated on many nature-ey projects. Club kids helped cut down invasive species, dig gravel, haul bricks, plant trees, catch specimens, and basically do whatever Friends of Petrie Island needed done that week. Al was perpetually gruff, but never unkind. He was a practical man whose rare smiles belied an excellent sense of humour, and a tremendous generosity of spirit. 

Al died peacefully on May 1st, surrounded by his wonderful family. He will be deeply missed.

Paul LeFort (2 May 2023)

Al Tweddle (1938-2023), founder and President, Friends of Petrie Island

A personal message from Vice-president Paul Le Fort

I am saddened to announce that our president has passed, after a short battle with cancer.

Born and raised in Toronto, Allen Tweddle graduated in chemical engineering from Toronto Metropolitan University (then Ryerson) and spent his career at the National Research Council. He and his wife Helen, who left us in 2018, were local heroes who devoted most of their adult lives to the community, and especially young people, chiefly through the Friends of the Public Library and the Queenswood Heights Community Association, whose Trail Committee was the seed for the Friends of Petrie Island in 1997.

Al Tweddle was a Renaissance man. A voracious reader, it showed in his fine writing.

He retained throughout his long life a child-like curiosity about the world around him and a great love of the outdoors. He was extremely knowledgeable about many things, especially wild plants and trees, and well versed in the history of North American Indigenous Peoples.

As his right hand for many years, I developed both respect for his values, his persistence and his ability to garner support and funding. His management style could be persuasive, but was always well-intended.

Al had a big heart. Over a quarter-century, he became a good friend to me, and to other members of our group, as well as to countless people in the community he served so generously.

One beautiful day, during one of our many walks together on Petrie Island “to inspect the trails”, we agreed on things we had in common: among them, we both rode motorcycles in youth, but most importantly, we aged, but never grew up. The child in Al was always inspiring him.

Al will be missed by a large family and countless friends and associates. His name on the road that leads to Petrie Island was a well deserved honor. He was by far the best friend Petrie Island will ever have.

Al Tweddle (1938-2023), fondateur et président des Amis de l’île Petrie

Un message personnel du vice-président, Paul Le Fort

C’est avec beaucoup de tristesse que j’annonce le décès de notre président, Al Tweddle, après une courte lutte contre le cancer.

Natif de Toronto, Allen Tweddle est diplômé en génie chimique de l’Université métropolitaine de Toronto (Ryerson) et a fait carrière au Conseil national de recherches. Al et son épouse Helen, qui nous a quitté en 2018, se sont distingués en consacrant le plus clair de leur vie adulte à la communauté, et en particulier aux jeunes, principalement par l’intermédiaire des Amis de la bibliothèque publique et de l’Association communautaire de Queenswood Heights, dont le comité des sentiers a donné naissance aux Amis de l’île Petrie en 1997.

Al Tweddle possédait un esprit universel et, lecteur vorace, il avait une belle plume.

Toute sa vie, il a conservé la curiosité de sa jeunessee, s’intéressant au monde qui l’entourait. Al était grand amateur de plein air. Il était très bien renseigné sur de nombreux sujets, en particulier les plantes sauvages et les arbres, et il était très versé sur l’histoire des peuples autochtones d’Amérique du Nord.

En tant que son bras droit pendant de nombreuses années, j’ai développé à la fois le respect de ses valeurs, de sa persévérance et de son talent pour obtenir appui et financement. Son style de gestion pouvait être persuasif, mais il était toujours bien intentionné.

Al avait un grand cœur. Pendant plus d’un quart de siècle, il est devenu un bon ami pour moi, et pour d’autres membres de notre groupe, ainsi que pour d’innombrables personnes de la communauté qu’il a servi avec tant de générosité.

Un beau jour, lors de l’une de nos nombreuses promenades dans l’île Petrie “pour inspecter les sentiers”, nous nous sommes mis d’accord sur certaines évidences: entre autres, nous avions roulé en moto, pendant nos jeunes années, mais surtout, en dépit d’avoir vieilli, nous n’avions jamais perdu cette jeunesse. Al a toujours été jeune d’esprit.

Al laisse dans le deuil un grande famille, ainsi que d’innombrables amis et associés. Il a amplement mérité que le chemin qui mène à l’île Petrie porte son nom. Il était de loin le meilleur ami de l’île Petrie.

In accordance with Al’s wishes donations may be made to the Friends of Petrie Island in his memory.

Donate to Friends of Petrie Island in memory of Al Tweddle.

Paul Lefort (1 September 2022)

(Le français suit l’anglais)

Dispatch #2 – July-August 2022

As the summer comes to an end our students are leaving; we would like to thank Mason, Catherine, Anita, Meghan, and Alicia for all of their hard work. Many of you will have noticed the new signs with paintings of local species and the bright red brick path in the dogwood maze.  Check out the new signs of animal tracks along Bill Holland Trail; you can use the QR code link to our new YouTube Channel to learn more about the animal. In addition to continued work on the wildflower gardens, we have converted the old bridge into an additional display area next to our nature center. Our two co-op students Cole and Ten made excellent contributions: Ten painted numerous things in our display area, and Cole helped us with our naturalist programs as well as added displays to our nature centre. It has been a busy summer with picnic table and tent rentals as groups enjoy all that Petrie Island offers. 

Unfortunately we will not be able to have any Turtle Release Days later this fall.  The protected nests at the Island were predated, although the snapper and map hatchlings from the Petrie eggs incubated at the Canadian Wildlife Federation were returned to Petrie ponds in August.  We look forward to the report on the turtle research from this summer by our colleagues at University of Ottawa. 

As previously mentioned, this year is the 25th Anniversary for the Friends of Petrie Island.  We have been celebrating by documenting some of the more than 650 species that can be found at Petrie Island with weekly posts by volunteers on Facebook. You can catch up on the Biodiversity Campaign on the website  It will run until October and will be featured in October at the Cumberland Branch of the Ottawa Library.  

The library also hosted a display of the history of the Friends of Petrie Island in August.  As well, the history was a major part of our Open House that ran from August 18-21 at the Interpretive Centre.  We are so fortunate to have a volunteer diligently curating our historical materials so that they can be archived. (Thanks Marion!)  We hope to complete the volunteer memorial grove and bench this season, and to mark the anniversary by dedicating them to dedicated volunteers René Cloutier, Bill Bower and Helen Tweddle, who are no longer with us.  

And finally, the Friends of Petrie Island submitted comments to the City of Ottawa on the proposed Orleans Corridor Secondary Plan.  The comments reflected feedback that we gathered from social media, face to face interactions and email such as concerns about infrastructure, high buildings, at risk species and how valuable this “small wilderness” is to the community.  

Fall is a great time to visit Petrie.  We will continue our Wednesday work days ’til Thanksgiving and hopefully will be able to have displays available on weekends.  The lifeguards are finished for the season but the portapotties remain ’til October. Fall migration is beginning, fall flowers are blooming and the colours will start soon.  See you at the Island.  

As always we welcome your comments and feedback.  

Bulletin no 2 – Juillet-août 2022

L’été tire à sa fin, de sorte que nos étudiants nous quittent; nous remercions Mason, Catherine, Anita, Meghan et Alicia pour leur excellent travail. Plusieurs d’entre vous auront remarqué les nouvelles enseignes illustrant diverses espèces locales et le sentier de brique rouge vif dans le labyrinthe de cornouillers. Vous trouverez également des panneaux portant sur la faune le long du sentier Bill Holland; vous pouvez utiliser le lien du code QR pour accéder notre nouvelle chaîne YouTube pour en savoir plus sur ces animaux. En plus de la poursuite des travaux sur les jardins de fleurs sauvages, nous avons converti l’ancien pont en une zone d’exposition supplémentaire à côté de notre centre d’interprétation. Nos deux étudiants coopératifs, Cole et Ten, ont apporté d’excellentes contributions : Ten a peint de nombreuses illustrations dans notre zone d’exposition, et Cole nous a aidé avec nos programmes pour naturalistes ainsi qu’en ajoutant des expositions à notre centre. Nous avons eu un été actif: location de tables de pique-nique et de la tente, divers groupes profitant de tout ce que l’île Petrie nous offre.

Malheureusement, nous ne pourrons pas organiser des journées pour voir des tortues quittant leur nid plus tard cet automne: . les nids protégés de l’île ont été envahis par divers prédateurs. D’autre part, les petites tortues chéloniennes et géographiques de Petrie incubés à la Fédération canadienne de la faune ont regagné la rivière en août. Nous attendons avec impatience le rapport sur la recherche sur les tortues de cet été par nos collègues de l’Université d’Ottawa.

Tel que mentionné, cette année marque le 25e anniversaire des Amis de l’île Petrie. Nous avons célébré en documentant certaines des plus de 650 espèces que l’on peut trouver sur l’île Petrie avec des publications hebdomadaires de bénévoles sur Facebook. Vous pouvez vous tenir au courant de la campagne sur la biodiversité sur le site Web Il se déroulera jusqu’en octobre et sera présenté en à la succursale Cumberland de la Bibliothèque d’Ottawa.

La bibliothèque a également accueilli une exposition sur l’histoire des Amis de l’île Petrie en août. De plus, l’histoire était une partie importante de notre journée portes ouvertes qui s’est déroulée du 18 au 21 août au Centre d’interprétation. Nous sommes chanceux d’avoir un bénévole qui s’occupe avec diligence de nos documents historiques afin qu’ils puissent être archivés. (Merci Marion !)  Nous espérons terminer le bosquet et le banc commémoratifs des bénévoles cette saison, et marquer cet anniversaire en les dédiant aux bénévoles dévoués René Cloutier, Bill Bower et Helen Tweddle, qui ne sont plus parmi nous.

Enfin, les Amis de l’île Petrie ont soumis des commentaires à la Ville d’Ottawa sur le projet de plan secondaire du corridor d’Orléans. Les commentaires reflétaient ceux recueillis sur les réseaux sociaux, les interactions directes et les courriels. Le principales préoccupations: les infrastructures, les bâtiments en hauteur, les espèces en péril et la valeur de ce petit coin de nature pour la communauté.

L’automne est le temps idéal pour visiter l’île Petrie. Nous continuerons nos journées de travail du mercredi jusqu’au milieu d’octobre et nous espérons maintenir nos expositions en fin de semaine. Les sauveteurs sont partis pour la saison,  mais les toilettes portatives restent jusqu’en octobre. La migration automnale commence, les fleurs d’automne font leur apparition et les couleurs saisonnières commenceront bientôt. Venez faire un visite à l’île.Comme toujours, nous apprécions vos commentaires et vos réactions

Paul Lefort (21 July 2022)

(Le français suit l’anglais)

June was unusual this year as the river was so high that most of the trails were flooded. They are now walkable; however, there is still some debris on portions of the trails from the derecho storm in May. The City will be addressing the larger trees in the future. Our workdays are continuing on Wednesdays from 9-12 and all are welcome. We have several high school volunteers collecting their 40 hours by doing various projects.  As well, have 2 new co-op students working with us, Cole and Ted. 

On the beach side, the beaches are open with lifeguards on duty from 12 – 7 pm.  After a pause caused by the pandemic, there was a successful Canada day held here. The new canteen is officially open serving various kinds of food and drink. 

Our programming resumed once we got our summer staff hired.  Our coordinators, Mason and Catherine,as well as our park monitors, Anita, Alicia, and Meghan, are now working full time.  We are running our children’s naturalist programs every Tuesday and Thursday.  We have a day camp from Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health at Petrie four days a week for July, and they have enjoyed a few naturalist sessions.

Potential developments near Petrie continue to be a concern. The Splashifax proposal to put an inflatable water park was not well received by our local community with concerns ranging from parking and traffic, a change in the nature experience, and potential impacts on wildlife. While it looks like the proposal is not proceeding we monitor for other developments including various high rises which may affect our wetland areas. We have discussed refreshing a Petrie Island Management Plan with the City during the next term of council with our Councillor and with our City liaisons.

There are a number of interesting environmental projects happening at Petrie. Malcolm Fenech of the University of Ottawa is continuing his research on turtle basking habits with David Seaburn of the CWF.  As well, we have partnered with them on turtle egg conservation.  Sadly many of the nests this year have been predated, even those with protectors.  However, we anticipate having some hatchlings return from incubation at the CWF offices so that they can be released this fall. There is also additional research turtles and bumblebees happening.  The Friends continue with the wildflower garden, shoreline erosion, invasive species mitigation and trail maintenance.  

As well, the Friends work to improve signage and refresh displays.  Thanks to the local Councillor we have a new bulletin board at the entrance to the beach area.  We have also been doing a weekly biodiversity campaign on social media to profile the breadth and depth of the flora and fauna at Petrie.  Be sure to drop into the office and give us feedback next time you are out at Petrie.  

Juin a été inhabituel cette année car la rivière était si haute que la plupart des sentiers ont été inondés. Ils sont maintenant praticables, mais il y a encore quelques débris sur certaines parties des sentiers, suite à la tempête derecho en mai. La minicipalité s’attaquera aux plus grands arbres tombés. Nos journées de travail se poursuivent les mercredis de 9 h à 12 h et tous sont bienvenus. Nous avons plusieurs bénévoles du secondaire qui collectent leurs 40 heures en réalisant divers projets. De plus, 2 nouveaux étudiants coopératifs travaillent avec nous, Cole et Ted.

Les plages sont ouvertes avec des sauveteurs de service de 12 à 19 heures. Après une pause causée par la pandémie, une fête du Canada a eu lieu ici à l’île, un succès. La nouvelle cantine est officiellement ouverte et sert divers types d’aliments et de boissons.

Notre programme a repris une fois que nous avons embauché notre personnel d’été. Nos coordinateurs, Mason et Catherine, ainsi que nos moniteurs, Anita, Alicia et Meghan, travaillent maintenant à temps plein. Nous organisons nos programmes naturalistes pour enfants tous les mardis et jeudis. Nous avons un camp de jour du Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health à Petrie quatre jours par semaine pour juillet, et ils ont apprécié quelques séances de naturalistes.

Les développements potentiels à proximité continuent d’être préoccupants. La proposition de Splashifax de mettre en place un parc aquatique gonflable n’a pas été bien accueillie par notre communauté, les préoccupations: stationnement et circulation, effets sur l’expérience de la nature et impacts potentiels sur la faune. Bien qu’il semble que la proposition ne soit plus active, nous surveillons d’autres développements, y compris divers édifices en hauteur qui pourraient affecter nos zones humides. Nous avons discuté de l’actualisation d’un plan de gestion de l’île Petrie avec la municipalité au cours du prochain mandat du conseil avec notre conseiller et avec nos agents de liaison.

Il y a un certain nombre de projets environnementaux intéressants en cours à Petrie. Malcolm Fenech, de l’Université d’Ottawa, poursuit ses recherches sur les habitudes des tirtues qui jouissent du soleil dans les eaux de Petrie, avec David Seaburn de la FCF. De plus, nous nous sommes associés à eux pour la conservation des œufs de tortue. Malheureusement, de nombreux nids de ont été attaqués par les prédateurs, même ceux qui avaient été protégés. Cependant, nous prévoyons que certains nouveau-nés reviennent de l’incubation dans les bureaux de la FCF afin qu’ils puissent être relâchés cet automne. Il y a aussi des recherches supplémentaires sur les tortues et les bourdons. Les Amis cultivent le jardin de fleurs sauvages, font des remblais sur les rives pour ralentir l’érosion, éliminent certaines espèces envahissantes et font l’entretien des sentiers.

De plus, les Amis travaillent à améliorer la signalisation et à rafraîchir les affichages. Grâce au conseiller local, nous avons un nouveau tableau d’affichage à l’entrée de la plage. Nous avons également mené une campagne hebdomadaire sur la biodiversité sur les médias sociaux pour dresser le profil de l’étendue et de la profondeur de la flore et de la faune à Petrie. Assurez-vous de passer au bureau et de nous faire part de vos commentaires la prochaine fois que vous serez à Petrie.

Malcolm Fenech (6 April 2022)

Turtle research study at Petrie Island

The turtle season is right around the corner and turtles should start basking in the next few weeks at Petrie Island! As many of you know, we will be continuing to research the turtles at Petrie Island in 2022 and here are the projects that we will be running:

1) Continuing my thesis research about why freshwater turtles (painted and northern map turtles) aggregate at basking sites. I will be collecting data for the second half of my project by conducting controlled disturbance trials of basking turtles by canoe and testing the “many-eyes” hypothesis. Fortunately, the turtles at Petrie Island quickly return to basking sites once displacing themselves into the water after being disturbed.

2) Continuing the mark-recapture of northern map turtles and assessing turtles for injuries from motorboats. We had success last year catching over 30 northern map turtles and look to build on this number. However, we will not be capturing painted turtles this summer. Additionally, we will not be painting numbers on the carapace of captured individuals (as seen below from last year). We will be catching the turtles using basking traps as pictured below and will have appropriate signage on them.

3) We plan on conducting nesting surveys every morning during the nesting season to get a better idea of where turtles nest throughout Petrie Island and how this has changed over the years. We will also collect some nests to incubate at the Canadian Wildlife Federation. This conservation work will be coordinated with the Friends of Petrie Island and more details will be released closer to the nesting season. All of our research is conducted with the appropriate permits and approved animal care protocols and we will once again be collaborating with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. If you have any questions, I would love to answer them!

May be an image of body of water and nature
No photo description available.

FOPI Dispatch (April 2022)

Happy Spring to all our members!

As the Island emerges from hibernation, conversations turn to the 2022 season. And it will be a special one. The Friends of Petrie Island are celebrating 25 years! A small group of passionate people came together in 1997 to protect Petrie’s unique ecology and educate visitors about the importance of conservation and preservation.

To celebrate, we will be launching our Memorial Walk, to acknowledge our volunteers who are no longer with us. As well, stay tuned for a Biodiversity campaign to profile the unique life forms at Petrie Island. We are looking for volunteers to help create an archive of our historical materials for a local library. (Please email us if interested). And we look forward to the next 25 years, working with our three levels of government to find a way to rebuild a Nature Centre. MP Marie-France Lalonde (L – Orleans) has identified this as a local priority. At the municipal level, a refreshed Petrie Island Management Plan will be part of the agenda for the next term of Council. 

Pending funding for summer staff we plan to again offer our Young Naturalist Program for children and youth as well as the Friends and Family tours. Tent and picnic table rentals (which include a barbecue permit) are available through the website. Our trail team will be diligently maintaining the seven kilometers of walking paths. We will continue to build on our educational signage and displays to add to the Petrie Island experience. 

Conservation work is a high priority as well and we will be actively engaging volunteers and partners. Turtle conservation will continue with leadership from our colleagues at the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. We also hope to continue the wildflower garden, shoreline erosion remediation, invasive species removal and the tree inventory. Pretty ambitious so if anyone would like to take a lead role with these please send us a message. We had a suggestion to organize a blitz to remove the LLD moth egg masses that are on the trees. If anyone is interested in helping organize one in April please let us know. Several of you have identified an interest in volunteering so if you don’t hear from us in the next month or two please reconnect with us. 

We were delighted to see the success of online registration and payments through our website. We will relaunch a membership drive later this spring but you may do it anytime online. Our FaceBook page, and Group (Petrie Island: Our Small Wilderness) and our Instagram account continue to see high participation. We have some pretty amazing photographers and some strong champions for nature on our platforms! Thank you. 

It looks like spring flooding may pass quickly, which would allow us to restart our Wednesday morning (9-12) workdays. Whether you are at the Island to volunteer, to take in the sights or get some fresh air, do drop into the visitor area and say hi!

Thought for the day –  “The wild places are where we began. Where they end, so do we.” (David Brower)

FOPI Staff (August-September 2021)

As we close out summer, it is a great time to reflect on the progress to date and think about what comes next for the Friends of Petrie Island.  It has been a very busy summer and we are delighted with the increased interest in our beloved Island as evidenced by almost 600,000 visitors to date in 2021.  Memberships, volunteer hours, picnic table rentals and social media participation are all up significantly. Memberships have more than doubled from last year and over 1400 people are members of the Friends of Petrie Island Facebook Group.  Visitors continue to enjoy our educational programming such as our displays and Naturalist sessions.  A number of species are getting established in our expanded wildflower garden. 

We have made some real progress on the conservation side as well.  Our activities this summer have included: remediation of shore line erosion, continued work on our tree inventory, tracking beaver activity and removal of invasive species.  Thank you to Ottawa Riverkeeper and local guides and scouts for continued clean up events.  With our dedicated volunteers and staff we were able to protect over 200 turtle eggs from predation.  There is another turtle release planned on September 26 at 2 pm.  Please register through the email:  The University of Ottawa and the Canadian Wildlife Federation have also been conducting research on our turtle population so this all bodes well for the future of Petrie Island turtles. 

We invite you to check out these new points of interest in the Petrie Island landscape.

  • Our giant squid and other driftwood sculptures
  • Displays and signage in our interpretive area, for example on freshwater mussels, tree inventory, history of Petrie Island
  • More whimsy in the dogwood fairy maze.  Many thanks to Carol, one of our volunteers for the log castles and amazing bird paintings
  •  The Volunteer Memorial Trail and Bench.  Tucked under some trees and facing Petrie’s incredible sunsets, this place is a tribute to volunteers like René Cloutier, Bill Bowers and Helen Tweddle, who contributed to the Friends of Petrie Island but are no longer with us.  

While our summer programming has closed, we know that fall is one of the best times to visit Petrie Island.  Wednesday workdays (9-12) will continue while the weather permits.  Staff will be present at the office on weekends til early October.  The beach pavilion is closed for the season but the portapotties stay until after Thanksgiving. The City has removed the parking machines.  There are several fall events at Petrie Island such as a Vendor’s Market, a corporate service event and a general meeting of an environmental agency. You are all cordially invited to the Friends of Petrie Island Annual Meeting on Tuesday Oct. 5 at 5:30 pm at the Event Tent near the office. (Rain date- Oct. 19 at 7:30 at the Queenswood Heights Community Centre). 

The Friends welcome your comments and ideas for future activities. Your feedback is useful to improve programming, set priorities and stimulate creativity. Feel free to send an email (, stop by the office, or message us on Facebook.  A couple projects currently being scoped include a project to enhance our interpretive materials and a project by Carleton University students to examine bird populations at Petrie. 

In closing, we would like to thank you for your support.  Donations, memberships, volunteering, participating in events and social media, and being the eyes and ears of the Island, all contribute to our mandate of protecting the ecology of Petrie and engaging the community in the preservation of our small wilderness. Hope to see you out there. 

FOPI Staff (June-July 2021)

For all of our new members since May, we would like to extend a big thank you for supporting the Friends of Petrie Island! Your membership helps fund our conservation projects, maintenance of the picnic area and trails, and educational displays.

In June, the rest of our summer staff joined the team (Kyra, Catherine, Mason, and Clare), and in July, our new co-op student, Anita started! We have been very busy the last couple of months, with increased attendance in May and June compared to last year, and July at slightly lower attendance (this may be due to the frequency of poor weather). We have hosted lots of Naturalist programs and we are happy to see increased numbers of groups are reserving picnic areas. There have been a number of camps and children’s groups that we have hosted, including a Girl Guides group which helped us with our Gypsy moth caterpillar removal! Our staff and volunteers have been removing a number of invasive species, including dog-strangling vine, garlic mustard, buckthorn, and burdock, in order to protect the native biodiversity at Petrie.

We have had an influx of new volunteers and high school students helping us with our many projects, including our wildflower gardens, trail maintenance, and upgrading our Nature Centre area. The owner of BANANAS (the old restaurant on the beach), donated several thousand dollars worth of patio stone to us, which our volunteers helped turn into a new patio for the Nature Centre. Leftover stone will be used at the Memorial Bench and near our sheds. Our volunteers also helped us with our soil erosion project, burying the base of a tree along the shore with an exposed root system, in hopes to prevent the soil from further eroding. The Petrie Island tree inventory has started back up with three volunteers, who will be exploring the furthest parts of the island and noting the different species and their approximate age. Lastly, we had eight turtle watch volunteers this season who helped us find and protect 14 nests, including 6 snapping nests, 5 painted nests, and 3 map nests, for a total of 285 eggs protected! This is nearly three times the number of eggs we protected last year, which will hopefully increase the populations of these at-risk species. Turtle researchers from the University of Ottawa have also been active at Petrie this summer, observing basking patterns of map and painted turtles. They have seen ___ adults so far, and lots of last year’s hatchlings in Crappie Bay!

As we mentioned earlier, lots has been happening at Petrie! We’ve had several special events, including our successful Member’s Days, a garbage cleanup organized by our co-op student, and a video that The Friends filmed with the Orleans councilor, Matt Luloff, about the rules of the island. We have been working hard to increase awareness of the rules, promoting them on our social media, website, signage, and by producing this video. It will be in English and French, and it covers why it is important to follow the rules. There will be more updates to come on that, so please keep your eyes on your emails and social media! Additionally, the Friends of Petrie Island was also briefly featured in a CTV interview about the tree inventory, which you can check out here:

The summer staff have been working hard on our displays to make a fun and educational Nature Centre that we are glad to say has been enjoyed by many! We have updated some of our old signs and we have been adding French text to all of our signs that lacked it previously. The staff are working on new signs which will each highlight a FOPI project, including the tree inventory, invasive species removal, turtle conservation, and more. We have some new displays in our Nature Centre container, including a snowy owl figure (taxidermy), wildflower and tree specimens, a pond life aquarium, a mussel section, and a garter snake snakeskin, donated by one of our members! You may also have noticed that the river-side of our Nature Centre container has been painted! Our staff worked hard this week to create a scene of Petrie on the side of the container, which will be completed by the end of the summer. We also have a brand-new display area near this mural- we have repurposed an old wooden bridge to showcase some more educational signs, our dioramas, and a new display in the works, which will show Petrie throughout the ages.

All in all, it has been a very active summer so far, and we look forward to the rest of the 2021 season. We have a number of events planned for late summer and early fall, including our turtle releases which will likely be in September. We will update our members on as soon as the turtles hatch. Petrie will also be hosting a vendors’ market, which will take place at our Event Tent on September 11th and 12th. You can find more information about this on the Instagram page @petrieislandvendorsmarket. Lastly, there will be an event hosted by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) on October 10th, which focuses on appreciating nature and the exploring the health benefits nature has. More information to come on that in our August dispatch.

Thank you all for supporting and respecting the conservation of Petrie Island. We are working hard to preserve the biodiversity of this important ecosystem and create a space for people to enjoy nature. We greatly appreciate you following all of the island’s rules, including keeping your dogs at home, fishing in designated areas only, and only using gas barbeques (with a permit). All of the information about the rules can be found here:

We hope you enjoy Petrie as much as we do, and we look forward to seeing you on the island!



FOPI Staff

Norman Hooper (14 September 2021)

Quiet Morning on the Water

Norman Hooper

It has been 3 weeks since last paddling down at Petrie Island, and yesterday there was a dire need to refresh myself with an outing amongst the conservation area of the isle.

By 7:30 am, I was on the water and Crappie Bay was like a mirror, ideal for skipping stones. The dip and swish of the paddle had me soon entering Snake Channel where I found the plant growth under and on top of the water almost too much for any gliding. In the 22 years I have been paddling in this area, I have never seen such density, more than likely due to the lowness in the water level, with more sunlight entering the water resulting in more growth and cleaner water. My first Blue Heron was standing on a water laden tree log and quite docile as it scanned the water’s surface. I gave him a wide birth……knowing that he was a regular and quite use to passing canoeists and kaykers. Before leaving, I was surprised not to see the beaver in the water or near its abode.

Entering Muskrat Bay, I headed toward the slit in the embankment to enter Middle Channel, but only to find that a beaver had commenced creating a dam. I sure as heck didn’t want to return through the tangle again and around, so I decided, since I was already here, why not paddle within the bay first. At the far end next to the trail, I met up with Michael Rocco and had a short chat…….he was on a mission with his zoom lens camera in hand.

I made a second attempt through the slit by ramming my canoe upon the dam, crawled up toward the bow and disembarked. What a putrid smell from the clayish mud the beavers were using; however, I did manage to haul my canoe up and over this obstacle. On my way again and onto Second Passage, I soon spotted a Blue Heron in the grassy reeds, hunting of course. Again, before reaching the end of the island, there was another Blue Heron hunting for his breakfast, too. It was that time of day when the sun’s light was at its best.

Scanning the shoreline, I noticed a beautiful pink Hibiscus in full bloom partially hidden among the bulrushes. Again, I rammed my canoe in among the reeds towards shore, crawled up and over the bow and hauled in the canoe further. Not only was there this flower, but other species as well not seen from the waterway. I made a good choice to investigate and was rewarded.

Across the entrance of the channel with the Ottawa River, there was another huge Blue Heron along the shallow shoreline. I couldn’t believe I was seeing so many. And as I entered rounded the westerly point of Petrie, there was but a Blue Heron hunting in knee-deep water. Swinging out into the river, I drifted with the current to take in the marvelous techniques used by the Heron to hunt and capture its prey. It is an art! This was the first time this year paddling alongside the isle on the Ottawa River and it brought back a lot of fine sights from years ago, but now I noticed more erosion and missing trees because of the Spring ice break-ups and flooding. Before reaching the end of this stretch of shoreline, I informed an elderly gentleman on the path to backtrack and he would be able to view a beautiful Blue Heron grooming itself in some short reeds. As I passed, he waved and gave a thanks for the heads up.

By this time, I was numb-bummed and decided to rest at the beach where I met up with Al Tweddle and got caught up with the “happenings” on the isle over the summer, especially the scientific research counting, etc with the turtles. Appears that this research with continue on into next year.

After passing through the culvert, I noticed a light breeze and maple leaves were falling upon the water. Fall is getting closer as each day passed. Suddenly, I saw a slight movement out of the corner of my eye, and there, next to the reedy shoreline was another Blue Heron (7th). I think this bird had to be the same one I had encountered along Snake Channel……docile, even when two kayakers approached, although he tried to hide himself within the reeds and not move one iota,

Sitting in Second Passage in front of the entrance to Crappie Bay, I suddenly saw two ducks leave the reeds and swim towards me, their V-shapes behind them growing wider and wider. I wondered what was going on; I had always noticed ducks to be skittish and fly away. Next to my canoe, they gazed up at me quaking as if expecting a hand-out. I hope people are NOT feeding them because ducks are creatures of the wild. Soon, they became bored with me and swam towards the nearby kayakers, much to their delight.

I now decided to call it a day after being on the water for 4 hours. Other than the Blue Heron and the pass-over and honking of skeins of Geese, I didn’t see much other wildlife, but just being on the water, looking and listening, that was worthwhile indeed.

Norman Hooper (15 May 2021)

Canoe Paddle at Petrie Island

This morning was my first opportunity to go canoe paddling within the inlets and bays of Petrie Island. I was not only surprised to see the low water level, but also that the ramp and dock were not install. This did not deter me and I was on the water paddling by 7 am under a light, cool breeze with overhead scattered clouds and blue skies. The sun was trying desperately to show itself and when it did, the warmth was rewarding.

It felt so good to be on the water again listening to a variety of birds sounding out the morning……the Covid tensions had soon disappeared. My favourite paddle is by far through the twisting channel from Crappie Bay to Muskrat Bay……and the scenery was picturesque as always with fallen trees and limbs along the shoreline. I must have been early because the usual number of turtles were not out on the fallen trees sunning themselves as yet; however, I was not to be disappointed upon my return later in the morning.

During my trek, I had a chance to meet Mike, who was out photographing birds along the shoreline path, and later, Sharon in her kayak……..resulting in two great conversations on a variety of topics…….and one in particular, learning about the turtle traps and the research being conducted by students from the nearby university. Hopefully, we will hear about their findings on the turtle habitat at Petrie Island.

One area that really fascinated me was the dam the beavers had built at an entrance off Second Passage to a marsh leading to the causeway. With the raised water level, it certainly would be of a benefit for other habitat. I was aware of its existence, but was surprised in its length and size…….a job well done!

As usual, there were a variety of wildlife to be seen, muskrats, the splash of a beaver, ducks, geese and their goslings, Blue Heron, and scores of turtles and birds.

By the time I put out at 10 am, there were hoards of kayakers already on the waterways and more arriving in the parking lot. It is going to be a very busy day on the isle.

FOPI Dispatch #1 (26 May 2021)

Thank you for supporting the Friends of Petrie Island. While programming ended last fall after the Turtle Release, our volunteers remain active over the winter; there was a letter of concern about future development of a 25-story high-rise building at Trim Road submitted, social media continued, and onsite monitoring was done regularly. Attendance at the Island continued at record highs all winter, which may have been influenced by the lovely weather, low snow fall, increasing east end population and the increased COVID-driven interest in nature. 2020 attendance was almost double previous records. All signs are that 2021 will surpass last year’s numbers. During a spectacular April, 43,000 people visited Petrie Island, with a one day high of 6,040 as people enjoyed the 24 degree weather on April 10. While May has started off cool, forecasts show sunshine ahead.

Our first summer student, Cassara, has started and we are busy making plans for this summer and recruiting new staff. The Friends of Petrie Island has been approved for 5 positions funded by Canada Summer Jobs.

Students will have 10-11 week contracts and will be undertaking conservation activities, delivering Naturalist sessions and tours, managing reservations and permits and doing outreach to visitors.

The increased attendance has put more strain on the environment so we are working with the City to better inform visitors of proper conduct to preserve the integrity of the Island. The most common problems we face are dogs, which disrupt the local ecology (e.g. nesting birds and mammals); shoreline fishing, which harms protected marine animals and is increasingly eroding the shoreline; picking plants and foraging; and littering. There is a 9:00 pm curfew on the Island that we will better enforce this year.

We are hoping to engage more visitors as members and volunteers.

Memberships are an important funding source, and demonstrate appreciation of the work that Friends does and support for our goals. If you are interested in supporting our projects, feel free to reach out.

We would be delighted to see individuals that would like to lead or participate in projects, and we would also welcome small groups to focus on specific projects. Please note that activities will be accordance with COVID-19 safety practices. If you are interested in starting or joining a group, please let us know at

Here are our current projects:

– Turtle conservation- basking turtle counts, egg gathering, (this is separate from research being done by the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Wildlife Federation).

– Wildflower garden- preparing, planting, weeding, signage, gathering specimens (we would love to restart our Plant Group)

– Dogwood Maze/Fairy Garden- expand and add twig fences to protect the dogwood underpass

– Trail/Nature Centre amenities- benches, driftwood sculptures, sign painting, picnic table staining

– Art display- a semi permanent display of local artwork/artists

– Invasive species monitoring and removal

– Beaver monitoring- ideally a volunteer with a water craft to monitor numbers and locations and activity

– Tree inventory on west end of island and surrounding islands, ID special trees

– Tree wrapping

– Biodiversity plan- to be scoped

– Newspaper articles for Orleans Star- Petrie Island through the eyes of a child, an artist, a naturalist

– Events- clean up (Rotary Club is hosting on in June, date TBD), Turtle Day (date TBD, hopefully June)

– Leave no trace – handout and video on rules at Petrie

– Grant applications- funding for pavilion

– Shoreline- protecting shoreline/ erosion control with RVCA

If any of these speak to you, please let us know what you are interests are.

Of course, our members are always welcome to help out at Wednesday Workdays, and for now, people will be given independent activities until COVID protocols are relaxed. We will be hosting a Members Open House where we will discuss and demonstrate our projects, and a Members’

Guided Tour, both planned for June. Please watch your email, the website, or social media for specifics. We also welcome your comments and suggestions.

Hope to see you at the Island!

Atirah Ally (13 September 2020)

Petrie Island: Then vs Now

Article by Atirah Ally, FOPI summer employee 2020

Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been quarantined since April and only now have been allowed to properly resume everyday activities with proper precautions. However, it is often overlooked as to how our environment has reacted to the decreased presence of the public during the quarantine in comparison to the effects before the stay at home order. In this article, we will compare the effects on the community and the environment before and after the quarantine period. This will include the foot traffic in the island throughout the months, car presence, engagement, and the overall effects on the nature of Petrie Island.

To begin, it is common knowledge to our community that Petrie Island floods every year. It is the reason why the island is classified as a Class 1 wetland and an important area that houses various species of rare plants. This year, the flooding reached a peak of 43.28 m and ceased mid-April, much earlier than last year. In fact, last year’s flooding had a record-breaking height of 45.17 m, and only started ceasing mid-June. Moreover, the summer staff remained operating out of the Queenswood Heights Community Centre until conditions improved, almost until the end of June. The road itself was closed for 57 days and the trails at 73 days. With the large flood, it greatly disrupted the ecosystem that encompassed the area. For example, the turtle nesting period was pushed back, there was a significant amount of beaver damage due to the flooding rising above the protected nets for trees, and smaller turtle basking counts during the nesting season compared to previous years. However, with the flooding ceasing earlier, it would mean that the staff could operate on the island earlier and it allowed for the environment to re-establish better and reintroduce the natural patterns of many species. As a result, the nesting period for turtles became more normalized with the nesting period beginning in May and peaking in June. There remained some beaver damage along the shoreline, chewing on the unprotected dogwood especially. There also seemed to be a larger presence/activity of animals in the area. Which include more groundhog, beaver, and turtle sightings.

Figure 1. Ottawa River water levels above sea level in metres per year. Data represents the peak level between the months of March-May (flooding season). (Ottawa River Regulation Board)

Petrie Island was closed to the public by the City of Ottawa during April 2020 as part of the pandemic shutdown. However, the park was opened to the public since May 7, 2020. FOPI started operating on the island on May 20, 2020. As soon as the island opened, the number of visitors has spiked. Based on FOPI data from 2020, it was clear that even with the quarantine in effect (April) and mandatory social distancing, there was a large number of individuals on the island. From May-July, it has been the highest attendance numbers ever seen. They abided by social distancing rules and most were wearing masks. There were even inquiries about the status of island, programming, and rentals. However, most kept to themselves walking the various trails on the island, especially the Bill Holland Trail. Even in sub-par weather, we would see families walking in the park area and on our trails. It was clear that emerging from quarantine, the public desperately wanted to be outdoors and to be within nature.

Figure 2.  Comparison of the number of attendees per month (May – July) from 2015 to 2020.

Due to most of the community working from home, schools were closed, and rules starting to ease, by the end of May through early June the population coming to Petrie Island has spiked. During nice summer days, there were many gatherings some abiding by the group restriction and others not. With most individuals working from home, there were more and more families coming down to Petrie Island. Social distancing became harder to achieve the busier the days became. Most picnic tables were occupied, luckily, the area does provide adequate social distancing space. If no picnic tables were available or to decrease contact with COVID-19, many have brought their own chairs. In terms of the business, July 1, 2020 was one of those days. Canada Day was the busiest day on Petrie Island for this year. In previous years, Petrie Island hosted a major Canada Day event, with fireworks and entertainment. In 2020, there was no official event in place; nevertheless, many individuals came down to celebrate with their families. The parking lot was full, with many illegally parked. There was also barely any rotation between the families that have come down to the park with many staying until 9:00 PM. It should also be noted that there were more families in the Al Tweddle Picnic Area this year compared to last year.

Many people came here for the first time and enjoyed their experience. We have had many families and individuals come up to the FOPI staff to ask about the trails here on the island and what sort of facilities there are here. With those discovering the island for the first time, there are also more regulars coming to visit the island. We have seen many couples coming down to enjoy the scenery and relax within nature.

                In terms of the difference with FOPI and the island. The staff were less involved in tour and naturalist programs, allowing more projects to be taken up among all our staff and volunteers. Meaning, the staff has had more time to focus on displays and various other maintenance tasks such as trail maintenance. There were also more projects taken on this year. For example, the tree inventory, a turtle study, a wildflower garden, re-vamping the fairy house, updating flower charts, and a trial program called Guided Meditation. In terms of Naturalist and our rentals, we have seen a decrease in those that have booked or attended for this year. This was predicted to happen due to health and safety concerns. The Naturalist program focused on individual families or groups all limited to 10 individuals, in order to keep the social bubble the same. Thus far, the Naturalist program has been very successful. We had many book tours throughout the summer, and they all had very positive feedback. The most popular tour was of course, turtles.  The picnic area rentals were occurring at a steady pace generating some revenue for the Friends of Petrie Island. The number of rentals was lower this year most likely due to concerns of COVID-19. Another significant difference was the maxed-out parking on weekends. This happened on occasion last year; however, this year the parking lot was always full on the weekends with many being illegally parked. There was also a larger presence of By-law officers frequenting the island for infractions, the majority of looking for parking infractions. Furthermore, the Oziles’ Marina has been seeing more kayaks and paddleboats being rented for the season. In fact, a category of inquiries that we frequently see are that of boat rentals, with which we redirect them to Oziles’.  Even with the increased foot traffic on Petrie Island, engagement between FOPI and the community has been lower than usual. Last year, the community engagement mostly stemmed from our Naturalist program and school/camp tours. With groups sizes restricted for our programming, there was less Naturalist engagement. However, in terms of promotions for the Friends of Petrie Island, it seems more promotions were done this year. We were more active on our social media outlets such as Instagram (@dailypetrie) and Facebook (PetrieIsland). Online promotions were better helped by the creation of a FOPI PayPal account. We have had many of our memberships and donations from online. Thus, there was more outreach this year online compared to the previous year. More word was getting out for Petrie Island.

                Overall, these are the general trends that have been seen throughout the summer as a result of the pandemic. Despite quarantine and group size restrictions, the public still found a way to get outside and enjoy nature. There was more interest in exploring their community and finding new, undiscovered areas such as Petrie Island.

FOPI Dispatch #3 (August 1, 2020)

July is nearing its end and our last summer month, August, is finally here! We have been seeing the attendance on the island steadily increasing due to the warm weather, with the number of individuals peaking in July. The majority of our summer staff will be here until the end of August; therefore, all programs will continue running until August 30, 2020. In this update we will cover new policies, events, and how all our programs are running despite the pandemic.

To begin, it was brought to our attention that many of those that visit Petrie Island have been confused about the barbecue policy installed by the By-law versus that of the Friends of Petrie Island. In order to clear the confusion, By-law and FOPI have agreed that FOPI may grant a permit to allow gas barbecues and not charcoal. However, FOPI will require a picnic table rental in the Al Tweddle Picnic Area to obtain a barbeque permit. The rental is only valid within our picnic area and nowhere else throughout the park. If you would like a barbecue in the Stuemer Park area, you must contact the City of Ottawa for a permit. This policy has been in effect since July 10, 2020.

Our new Family and Friends Naturalist program has been going swimmingly! Thus far, we had several inquiries about the program and many tours. The themes remain turtles, insects, and amphibians. However, we may add another theme, such as fossils and dinosaurs, as a “summer special” based on the interest of the public. In terms of social distancing, since it is families and close groups there has not been a problem. Many take precautions in distancing, such as the use of masks. However, we do want to emphasize that parents urge their kids to social distance for their own safety and that of the staff.

Rentals have been occurring at a steady pace. There have been less inquiries about rentals since last year; however, as the count for individuals in a public or enclosed space increases, we can increase our ability to rent picnic areas. Based on the statement released by the Government of Ontario, public gatherings have increased to 50 individuals in an indoor setting; while, public gatherings have increased to 100 individuals in an outdoor setting. Of course, both will still require social distancing. Presently, we have changed our rental fees to include both the new rental fees made this year and the original from last year. Now, the tent rental will revert to last year’s fee which is $100.00 for a half-day (less than 5 hours) and $125.00 for a full day (more than 5 hours). The Area 2 and 3 rentals will remain $10.00 per picnic table.

Our display area has been in progress throughout the summer. As of right now, we have finished the layout of our display area, grouping all our boards into specific topics and regions. These regions include mammals, general information, history, children’s programming, and amphibians and reptiles. We also have live animals on display which are rotated every 2-3 days. The animals reside in filtered tanks or in regulated environments in which the bedding can be easily replaced. It should also be known that the shelter that houses the animals and other displays can only hold three individuals or a singular family at a time to maintain social distancing. Other boards that will be up soon are themed salamanders and snakes, biodiversity, and a history board that encompasses the history of Petrie Island and the history of FOPI in time for our 25 anniversary. We also have flower boards up on our information board next to the Wildflower Garden which shows the different plant species that can be found on Petrie Island. It includes medicinal and ecological purposes for each.

In other news, our Ecology Ottawa tour on July 18, 2020 went great! We did a basic tour of Petrie Island that included our Interpretation Centre, the Turtle Trail, and the Bill Holland trail. We included a bit about our Turtle Study, the history of Petrie Island, and facts about various plants and wildlife. The response has been positive, and it was a wonderful experience. We would like to thank all of those who tuned in to Facebook Live and watched the tour!

The pilot for the FOPI Guided Meditation on July 25, 2020, ran by our fellow staff member Bree, went very well! We have had many inquiries about registering for the session, even on the day it was first announced. Though the day of the event was on the warmer side, there was still a great turn-out and it had a very positive feedback. The Guided Meditation theme for that day was focused on surrendering yourself to nature. The class was entirely non-denominational, meaning no religious aspects were covered. If you are interested in this program, please contact

FOPI is holding its annual Art Showcase from July 31, 2020 to August 3, 2020. The event will occur during this time period from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM at our Event Tent in the Al Tweddle Picnic Area. We will have artists displaying various art mediums and some will be selling their artwork.  The event will be socially distanced, meaning only 10 individuals at a time, including the artists. We will have a staff member onsite to ensure this rule is being followed for the safety of the artists and the visitors. Moreover, we have a new way to donate and to help support the Friends of Petrie Island debuting at the showcase: A Turtle Sponsorship! It will be $2.00 per turtle egg (from the eggs that have been protected by the Friends of Petrie Island this year) and all the sponsorship proceeds will help the Friends of Petrie Island continue their conservation and educational efforts. If you would like to know more information, please visit us at our Interpretation Centre in the Al Tweddle Picnic area or send an E-mail to

To close, we would like to thank our devoted fellow FOPI staff member Kyra for all her time and dedication spent working with the Friends of Petrie Island and on our Tree Inventory. It was a pleasure to have her work with us throughout the summer, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!

As a reminder, social distancing between different groups must still be implemented for your own protection. It is always highly recommended to bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you when visiting public areas.  

Thank you for reading! You can stay up to date by following the Friends of Petrie Island on Facebook and Instagram and joining our Facebook group where participation is encouraged.  If you have not purchased your 2020 membership, please stop by the office at our Interpretation Centre in the Al Tweddle Picnic Area.

FOPI Staff

Norman Hooper (5 July 2020)

Paddle before the heat of the day…….While putting my canoe atop my car and tying down the last strap at 5:30 am, I became drenched with a sudden cloud burst of rain that didn’t last long. This didn’t stop me in my quest to go for a leisurely paddle around Petrie Island though.

I left the dock at Crappie Bay at 6 am with dark clouds blocking the rising sun and a cool chill was in the air. By the time I reached Muskrat Bay, the sun was beckoning its appearance within a blue sky. It was going to be a beautiful morning as I continued my paddle.

At Muskrat Bay, I noticed a huge white fish fly right out of the water and fall forward at a slant with a splash in the water. Putting my canoe in glide mode, I waited and soon saw swirls of water upon the water’s surface going in a loop pattern……and then it happened again. The third and fourth times, the fish was now in the middle of Muskrat Bay. And then it stopped…..this fish put on a spectacular show for me as it went “fly fishing” in its own way.

Rounding the westerly tip of the island, I was gliding about 10 feet from shore when I suddenly came upon a pair of geese with 5 goslings resting in the grassy sand. I was more startled than they. They must be used to canoeists and kayakers passing by constantly every day.

Between this point and the beaches, a lone sailboat, the Caroline, was anchored in the river’s current. People on board were still asleep, but I hope they had their boat lights on during the night.With little effort, a sculler passed by for his morning workout.

Passing the beach, crews could be seen emptying the garbage bins and readying the place for the hordes of people soon to arrive for the day.

Passing through the culvert and back into Crappie Bay, it was time to get off the water as an increase in temperature and humidity could be felt. Although, I didn’t see much wildlife, I sure heard them…….and that made for a great outing…..

Norman Hooper at Petrie Island 2020/07/05

FOPI Dispatch #2 (1 July 2020)

As the summer goes forward, many new developments have been made. Provincial laws have now allowed groups to maintain a limit of 10 individuals. With this in mind, FOPI has decided to re-open the Picnic Area Rentals and modify the Children’s Naturalist Program. The Picnic Area Rentals will include the Event Tent, Picnic Area 2a/b, and Picnic Area 3a/b. The rentals will consist of renting a specific number of picnic tables in a certain picnic area at a cost of $10.00 per table; however, if you are a member, picnic tables will cost $5.00 per table. In terms of the new Naturalist Program, we are now targeting individual families for a Family and Friends Naturalist Program. A family or group can book a tour that consists of an information session on a Naturalist subject such as turtles or insects, followed by a small guided tour. Crafts and games will be omitted this year due to concerns of COVID-19. The tour will also be socially distant and follow provincial guidelines in terms of group etiquette (i.e. masks, if social distancing is not available). It will be $15.00 for groups of less than 5 individuals, $20.00 for groups of more than 5 individuals, and $10.00 for members for either 5 or more individuals. Please check the website or visit our Nature Centre for bookings or more information.

On June 17, 2020, we had a great turnout for the Wednesday Workday! On this workday, we were able to put up the main tent and hold an executive meeting to discuss future projects. It was discussed that FOPI would officially hire five students for the summer, as such, we have recently closed our Park Monitor job application for the summer. We would like to introduce our new summer staff! We have Atirah, a returning summer student who is our new Staff, Membership, and Volunteer Coordinator. She will also be focusing on completing a Turtle Report which compiles turtle basking and nesting data from 2006-2020. Another returning student is Laura. She is our new Children and Family Program Manager who will be focusing on wildflowers’ and other plant species’ data collection. Our new additions to our summer staff are Kyra, Bree, and Cassara. Kyra is a recent graduate from Trent University, she earned a BSc in Environmental Resource Science. Due to her experience in an arboretum, she will be completing a report on the Tree Inventory from 2019. Bree is a senior high school student at St. Peters High School. She has experience as a landscaper, and she has a devout passion for the environment and conservation. Her goal is to become a park ranger in the future and to study archeology due to her fascination with history. Lastly, Cassara is currently enrolled at Carleton University studying for a BSc in Environmental Science. She is interested in biodiversity and sustainable architecture. She is very passionate about the environment and conservation and would like to pursue a career in those fields.

There have been many inquiries about the status of the beach and park, this mainly includes the rules and regulations. To begin, the lifeguards will begin their operations on the East Beach, Stuemer Park, and in the Picnic Area on June 27th, 2020. Buoys have already been set in place and as of now, swimming is at your own risk. E-coli counts are still being maintained. The flag on the Main Beach will indicate the swimming conditions. If the flag is red, the E-coli count is too high and swimming is not permitted; whereas, if the flag is green the river conditions are favourable, and swimming is permitted. In either case, lifeguards will be on duty from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM everyday of the week starting on June 27th, 2020.  

Finally, despite the pandemic there is still a public event in the works for FOPI. FOPI and Ecology Ottawa have decided to host a virtual tour of the island on July 18, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. The platform will be Facebook Live and will be run from the Ecology Ottawa Facebook page. Be sure to register for the event on Ecology Ottawa’s webpage! We will see you then!

In other news, we received our container and office on June 23, 2020. We are officially operating in our Nature Centre area.Come by and inquire about our programs and rentals!  If you have not renewed your membership for this year there will be a staff member present at the Nature Centre between the hours of 10:00 AM-7:00 PM, Mon-Sun.

FInally, public gatherings are still limited to 10 individuals and social distancing between different groups must still be implemented for your own protection. It is always highly recommended to bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you when visiting public areas. 

Thank you for reading!

FOPI Staff

Émie Gaboury 2019/07/28

Thank you everyone for another month of support! This month the Friends of Petrie Island staff, along with the help of our Wednesday workday volunteers, have accomplished multiple tasks that have contributed to creating a more welcoming and informative area for all of Petrie’s Islands visitors. The construction and painting of our new display structure, a new table for our container, the ongoing creation and upkeep of our new wildflower garden are just a few examples of the many tasks that have been completed throughout this past month! This upcoming month of August boasts exciting opportunities that we would like to share with you, our dedicated members!

In partnership with the Ottawa Stewardship Council (OSC) and the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club (OFNC), Friends of Petrie Island will be conducting a tree inventory on Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th from 8:45am to 3:00pm, and we are looking for volunteers! Volunteers would help to measure and record information about the trees on Petrie Island. No previous experience is needed and tree experts will be on site to instruct volunteers on how to take measurements and help with tree identification. This is a great opportunity to learn about the trees and the natural history of Petrie Island! Please visit our webpage,, for more details about the event.  If this is of interest to you, we ask that you please register ahead of time at, with the subject line ‘Attention Sherry – Tree inventory Volunteer’. We are looking for approximately 20 volunteers, so do not hesitate to share this information with your friends and family! 

In other news, our children naturalist program is still accepting registrations for our Pre-school, Junior and Youth naturalist sessions. Children learn about a variety of different topics such as turtles, invasive species, fossils and dinosaurs and many more exciting subject matter! The staff is having a great time running the program and getting to interact with the youth about the wildlife and biodiversity at Petrie Island. If you or someone you know may be interested in joining us, you can email us at and we will answer all your questions!

Are you looking to host the perfect picnic, family gatherings or work event in one of Ottawa’s most beautiful locations? Petrie Island’s various picnic areas offers multiple options that will fit  your every need. For smaller groups, up to 25 people, picnic area 2 and 3 offers 4 picnic tables with shade, that can be rented for 20$ and can be yours for the day. For bigger gatherings, the event tent can accommodate up to 100 people and can be rented for 100$ for half the day or 125$ for the full day. There are a lot of dates available for the rental of the picnic areas in August. As always, inquire at to reserve your picnic today.

In relation to the area rentals available at Petrie, FOPI staff are also available to host birthday parties as well as tours for any age group. This past month we have hosted successful kids and adult tours! If you are apart of or know any club or group that might be interested do not hesitate to contact us at our inquiries email for more information!

Finally, we wanted to emphasize that we are in the process of rebuilding multiple structures after the impact of this years flood. Each Wednesday dedicated volunteers arrive for our Wednesday work days that are especially busy with building and repairing displays and other areas that need reconstruction. This includes manual and carpenting work. If you would like to participate in our rebuilding efforts, you are welcome to join us on Wednesday mornings. We ask that you please notify us in advance which date you would like to come out and help. 

As always, thank you for supporting Friends of Petrie Island, and we hope to see you soon at the island!

Émie Gaboury 2019/07/07

We would like to thank you for all of your support in 2018! With your help, we were able to work on many projects last year, such as launching our Naturalist programs and building our display area. We also received much support during our Wednesday Workdays. Let us all work together, new members and old, and make 2019 an extraordinary year for Friends of Petrie Island! 

Petrie Island is officially open after much reconstruction courtesy of the City of Ottawa. As you may know, this year the flooding at Petrie Island was the longest to recede even compared to 2017. It delayed our reopening for a couple of months. The water was almost a meter above the ground, and the water line can be seen among the trees and buildings in the area. In the meantime, we were working out of Queenswood Heights Community Centre getting things ready for our grand return. Of course, when we were able to safely enter the Island, there was much work to be done. Displays were faded and covered with mud, the tool shed and craft shed were still flooded inside, and almost all of our benches were displaced or lost. With the help of our staff on Wednesday Workdays, much of our benches and our displays were recovered. At the moment, most things are done and we are able to operate our programs; however, there is still more to do. Our staff is still hard at work getting things back to the way they were. We are rebuilding our lost display area and doing our best to clean up our picnic area. Luckily, we do have our picnic rentals up and running and our container and office have been delivered. Overall, we are excited to say that the Nature Center is open and we have staff on duty daily. Feel free to ask them about our programs and memberships for the summer!

In terms of programs and events, we recently held our annual Turtle Day on June 23, 2019. It was a great turnout! We had the Canadian Wildlife Federation come in and do a presentation on turtles in Ontario, and we had various games and activities for kids. Moreover, our Children’s Naturalist Program officially started on July 2, 2019. This year we have preschool (ages 2-5), junior (ages 6-8), and youth (ages 9-12) naturalist groups. Preschool and junior being every Tuesday and Thursday, and youth every Wednesday and Thursday.  Our themes this week were turtles and fossils. Both the younger and older groups have a variation in teaching and activities by increasing or decreasing the complexity of the subject. For example, the youth group focused on turtle nesting on Petrie Island; whereas our junior groups focused on the identification of turtles on Petrie Island. Finally, the Plant Group has returned! They will have their sessions on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  

The trails around Petrie Island are starting to dry. Bill Holland and the Turtle trail are not flooded; yet, the Basswood, Muskrat, and Sunrise trails are still partially flooded. Given the warm weather ahead, the trails should clear soon! Our staff has been going down the Bill Holland trail everyday to look for signs of turtle activity. We have recovered six nests consisting of snapping, painted, and map turtle eggs which are protected on our Turtle Trail. 

Last, but not least, we do have new additions to our student summer staff! Teyana, Laura, and Atirah are our new Park Monitors this summer! Emma and Émie are returning for their second year as the Children’s Program Manager, and Coordinator of Staff, Volunteers, and Memberships respectively. Let us all wish our team good luck for the summer!

We do hope 2019 will be a great year for Friends of Petrie Island! There will be many new projects to work on, such as, a new turtle pond, programs, and more species conservation efforts. Without your help, none of this would have been possible. This is why we give our utmost thanks for your support. Let us help preserve Friends of Petrie Island for many generations to come!

Paul Le Fort 2018/09/05

I saw twin bolts of lightning during the first storm, obviously hitting somewhere near Jean D’Arc (North Service). It caught our little dog as he was looking out the patio door. He has been sleeping sheepishly since.

Al Tweddle just confirmed serious damage, many trees down, one hitting the Morin house, another missing the trail shed. Others fell on Turtle Trail, across the road between our location and Morin house. Al reports no other damage, unless you include the wet floor in the container, he having left the end open. So all is OK, we trust the City will clean up. The power pole to the pavilion was split by lightning, it appears, and there are trees down along the access road past the causeway. Hydro was on site, and their report on the outage app showed two sites on Petrie, undefined (when I looked it up before we lost power ourselves.)

Jim Robertson 2018/06/21

Its been a long time since we’d been down to Petrie and even longer since I sent in a “Dispatch”. We found ourselves at Petrie at 1:30pm on June 21st, not the best time to see things, but we headed out for what was a 4.5km walk to renew old acquaintances. We checked out all the trails but the Sunrise Trail.

Lots of people fishing, didn’t see anyone catching anything, but then fishing isn’t always about catching fish. There were a few heron around in the bay to the west of the access road, but no ducks.

It wasn’t the best time of the day to see turtles – too many people and sun too hot – but we did see a few good sized map turtles as well as the usual painted turtles. There were a few destroyed snapping turtle nests, but nothing like the number I used to see. Fewer turtles? Fewer predators? Better protection?

The yellow iris and blue iris (blue flag) were out in many places as well as lots of anemones and one fern still in fiddlehead stage.

Canada Geese I know have been at Petrie for a while, but they were never there when I frequented the Island 10-15 years ago. There were 6 geese in the bay by the Beaver Trail. One family with 3 goslings at “causeway” on the Bill Holland Trail and another family with 5-6 younger goslings were crossing the road at the start of the Bill Holland Trail.

A few mallards were swimming in various spots included a pair, the male of which was blue, almost purple, headed. There was no green sheen. I checked for blue/purple headed mallards on the web and it seems they are not unheard of. The reason for the odd colour is not certain, but some think it is a sign of low testosterone – either for genetic reasons, or younger duck. Given this was the first one I have noticed, I suspect the testosterone rational might be a better story.

A good number of leopard frogs were along the trails and a few bull frogs were heard and seen.

Of course beaver aren’t in evidence at that time of the day, but there were signs of beavers at work last fall and several beaver lodges, included one on top of one that was deserted many years ago.

We’ll have to make a point of coming down much earlier sometime in the future to get a feel of the “real” Petrie.

Pictures at:

City of Ottawa on the future of the nature centre 2017/11/03

From Dan Chenier, General Manager, Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services, City of Ottawa, regarding FOPI’s nature centre, or interpretation centre.  This was an old cottage built by the Grandmaitre family in the 1960’s.  It is now demolished.

The City has received the condition assessment report that was undertaken by Concentric Associates International Inc.  Their report outlines the findings of their investigation and details a significant list of deficiencies that are related to original construction issues, poor construction practices and foundation displacement and settlement issues.   Important deficiencies identified include sagging of the roof, main floor and exterior deck, the building does not appear to be mechanically connected to the foundation in a tangible way, load bearing columns that rest on plywood floors between joists with inadequate support, at some locations the existing exterior grade is higher than the floor framing,  floor beams that do not appear to be structurally adequate for the current occupancy, and more.

Based on the consultant’s review, it is their recommendation that the structure is not fit for occupancy without extensive remediation.  This would include at a minimum upgrades to the foundation system, reinforcement of existing floor beams, wood blocking within the floor system, lintel reinforcement, and modifications or replacement of the exterior canopy framing.   Given the age of the structure and the extent of work required, the consultant recommends that we demolish the building.   Preliminary cost estimates from the structural elements only (not including permits, taxes or engineering fees) is pegged at a minimum of $150,000, though it is reasonable to assume that the final cost would be more than this when restoring interior finishes, accessibility requirements and programming needs are included.

Given the above, we are recommending that the building be demolished.   As well, as an interim measure we are proposing to install a trailer that could be used by your group as a home base for your activities at the park.  The trailer is City owned and has been renovated.  I am attaching pictures to give you a better idea.  We would propose to install the required equipment so that a hydro connection can be made to the trailer and restore your access to electricity.   The trailer would be set down on a gravel bed, and we would discuss with RVCA whether it had to be removed each winter, or whether it could stay.   This is being proposed as an immediate and temporary solution to the loss of the cottage building and to allow more time to work on a more permanent solution and the funding that would be required to achieve this.

We understand the value that the cottage building brought to programming at the site, and the important role in played in the environmental activities at Petrie.  Unfortunately, the building has reached its end of life.  The Asset Management Unit will take the lead on arranging for the demolition.  Preliminary discussions indicate that it may be possible to get this completed before winter.

Al Tweddle, 2017/11/09

After a short winter period Petrie Island was flooded to the highest level in many years during April and May. Floods caused damage to the causeway, which delayed repairs to the beach and picnic area and the area was not officially opened until late June. Petrie Island and the road was closed for 60 days.

Beavers were very active during the flooding, debarking many large Cottonwood trees, many of these trees were in higher elevations where the Beavers would not normally be able to reach them. Fopi members managed to wrap about 10 large trees to save them from dying. The City came in to remove over 60 large dead Ash trees in January and planted 95 trees and shrubs in October as replacements.

FOPI received grants to hire five students from Canada Summer jobs. Unfortunately most of the school tours had to be cancelled due to the flooding. Only two of fifteen scheduled tours were held at the end of June. Our adult tours and clean ups were cancelled, however we did run our successful Naturalist programs and summer tours. Due to the flooding we were unable to use our nature centre as it was closed while being evaluated for mould and structure damage. We also lacked power and had to operate with a generator, displays and other equipment were moved to our tent area which became our operation headquarters. The City removed mould and damaged materials from the nature centre in September and we are still waiting to find out what renovations will have to take place.

We continued our Wednesday adult workdays on a variety of projects to maintain the picnic area trails and repairing and restoring picnic tables and observation benches.

The Membership program was cancelled which included three clean ups, educational tours, removal of invasive species, all due to the flooding and reconstruction of the area. We did send out regular dispatches to members starting in May. Many people offered to help with restoration work in June but were unable to help as the island was inaccessible. By the time we were able to get in we were working on our summer programs. FOPI held one clean up in late June in cooperation with the World Wildlife Federation that included a display trailer from the Vancouver aquarium. We also hosted the release of 400 young Eels into the Ottawa river in cooperation with the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Environment Ministry staff from Ontario and Quebec.

We continued to support Kayaking at Petrie Island with the Petrie Island Canoe club under Sarah Kennedy. They ran full day camps during the summer using the FOPI tent and picnic area for parts of their program. We participated in the Cross fit event and received $3200.

Despite the difficulties we completed our 20th year of operation. We would like to thank members for their support of our programs which will continue in 2018. We plan to have some celebrations next year to mark our 20th.

FOPI Staff 2017/08/31

As we now find ourselves at the end of August, the season is starting to wind down. The city will finally be coming in soon to remove the mold and debris from the nature centre. This will include removing the tile flooring and the insulation from the walls. When this is done, they will do a final evaluation of the building and decide what improvements need to be made to restore it. Although we lost many school tours during the spring flooding, we did have several summer tours for camps and home school groups. The naturalist programs were successful as usual and were well attended. A good portion of the summer workdays were spent restoring benches, picnic tables, and observation platforms.  The Wednesday workdays will continue into the fall and the educational displays and signs will be out through September. Most of the protected turtle nests are still intact and we are waiting for the hatchlings to emerge. The executive would like to thank the summer students Shannon, Diana, Robert, Emily, and Sarah for their work on the island this season, and wish them all well in their studies. We would also like to thank all of our members and volunteers for their support. It was a difficult year but we still continued to strive towards our goals of protecting the wildlife and educating the public.

FOPI Staff 2017/07/17

Last week Friends of Petrie Island hosted an Eel Release Day in partnership with the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Canadian Wildlife Service, and Ministry of Natural Resources. Four hundred eels were tagged and released into the Ottawa River at Petrie Island. The event brought out many volunteers and spectators, and we would like to thank everyone who stopped by! For more information on why the eels were released, see the following news article:

Elsewhere on Petrie Island, many wildflowers, trees, and shrubs have begun to bloom! We are identifying as many as we can with informational signs along the trails and in the wildflower garden. Unfortunately, many of our reference books that we often use for plant identification were damaged or lost in the flood along with many other items. If any of our members have any plant or animal reference books we would welcome any donations! If you have no books and still wish to help, we are still accepting monetary donations and new/renewed memberships.

FOPI Staff 2017/07/06

Our picnic area, trails, and beaches have been mostly cleaned of the flooding debris and damages. The nature centre is still closed, however, and we currently have displays under the white tent for the public to browse. We are looking into getting a trailer to store our equipment and displays while the centre is closed. The power has not yet been restored to our buildings, so we have been using a generator in the meantime.

We had a very successful cleanup with WWF two weeks ago, thank you to everyone who came out. Our Wednesday Workdays are still ongoing, executives and other volunteers meet at 9am every Wednesday, everyone is welcome to drop by and help out. For those who cannot make it on Wednesdays, please feel free to stop by the island any day between 10am and 8pm, we can always use extra help!

Now that July has finally arrived, our FOPI events will be in full swing! The junior and youth naturalist programs started this week and will be running every Tuesday and Thursday. Next week on July 12th  (weather dependent), we are planning an Eel Day with the Ottawa Riverkeepers/Sentinelle Outaouias. They will be releasing ~400 eels into the river and will have informational displays about their activities. We will be updating with further events as they are planned.

Finally, turtle nesting season is coming to a close, but we just wanted to remind everyone to keep their eyes out for turtles on the roads and trails, and let us know of any turtle activity you see!

FOPI Staff 2017/06/01

Just a quick update about Petrie Island. Currently, due to construction on the causeway, there is no vehicle or pedestrian access to the island. We do not have a date for when access will be restored, but we will keep you updated. Once we are able to get onto the island again we are planning a cleanup with volunteers from the community, so stay tuned for details!

FOPI Staff 2017/05/26

Water levels on the Ottawa River have now receded enough that Petrie Island is accessible by foot. The road, however, is still closed due to damages at the culvert. Some of our members and staff were able to walk in to the island this week to assess the damages and start the cleanup. While there was considerable water damage to several buildings, most of the debris has been removed and sorted through, and the floors have been cleaned of all of the mud. The picnic area is in relatively good condition, however there is still debris that needs to be moved and paths that need to be restored. Most of the trails are still under water along with part of the picnic area, but we are hoping they will be accessible soon. In the coming weeks we will be needing volunteers to help with cleanup and trail maintenance so we can start our programming as usual. If you are interested in volunteering please email for more information, or stay tuned here for more information on FOPI workdays.

FOPI members on May 23rd 2017, hard at work relocating the bridge to the picnic area

Sarah Kennedy 2017/05/09

Just came back from a little paddle around the island.  The current on the second causeway bridge was very strong- there will be a lot of erosion.

I am sorry to say, there are still at least a dozen very large beavers.  They were all huddled together, in a big furry pile.  I paddled right up to them, and they made adorable little grunting noises before evacuating the one remaining mound that’s still out of the water, near the quonset hut… One of the engineers that works with me is on the South Nations Board, and says that you can hire trappers through the conservation authority.  They’ve gotten at several big trees in that area- tons of new damage!

FOPI Staff 2017/05/02

Hello FOPI members,

We would like to thank you all for your support in the past year, and looking into 2017 it is time for membership renewals! Attached is the form for membership renewal; note that the email on the form is outdated, please use this email (, or mail directly to 1395 Sault Street, Orleans ON, K1E 1G8

We are very excited for the upcoming summer season on Petrie Island. Our summer students are currently planning events and preparing for our opening in the next few weeks. Unfortunately due to extensive flooding the island is inaccessible by car at the moment, but we are hoping to open once the flooding recedes.

On April 21st, grade 7 and 8 students from Ashbury College came to Petrie Island to help with an Earth Day Cleanup. Because the island was flooded, they ended up cleaning the shoreline across from the island, but still had a lot of fun and collected 20 bags of garbage.

In late April a few of our volunteers ventured out into the waters to check the flooding levels on the island. As you can see in the pictures below, the flooding is almost up to the floor of the Nature Centre. Although many structures have shifted, most are still in good condition. We will definitely be needing extra volunteers in the next few weeks to help clean up the damage from the flooding.

More updates to come about the programming in late May once we are open. If you have any questions feel free to use this email address. We hope to see you out on the island very soon!

Ashbury students in grades 7 and 8 helping with a shoreline cleanup across from Petrie Island on April 21st 2017

The plane from the playground next to the Nature Centre took a little trip after the flooding – it really can fly!!

Flooding near the Nature Centre in late April 2017

Paul LeFort 2017/05/02

As of 0800 today, the water at North Service barricade is about a meter closer to the bottom of the slope than it was at the highest water two weeks ago. That means no access is practical, not even to Yves’ marina, and there are no serious options for using our boat or canoe. There is no convenient way to reach the outer areas, as water is now three feet deep in the picnic area, on the access road past the culverts, and in front of the trail shed. Water will also surround the interpretive center, and be up two feet inside the work shed.

Al and I (and Steve, if he feels safe in an inflatable) may paddle out as the weather clears to inspect for lost items. In the longer term, if access to the marina area returns, I might go in and bring the jonboat and engine back to the marina so that some of us can go in and clean the mess in the immediate area of the interpretive center.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board’s last press release is clear, and is even more true today: reservoirs are full, and at this point, the water is expected to rise further, regardless of weather conditions, as the spring freshet has begun.

OTTAWA/GATINEAU, Friday April 28, 2017 –The Ottawa River Regulating Committee cautions that water levels and flows along the main stem of the Ottawa River between Mattawa and the Montreal region will remain high for a sustained period of time. Well above normal April precipitation combined with snowmelt runoff have resulted in recent peak levels not seen in the last 20 years in many locations. Current meteorological forecasts are calling for additional rainfall of 30-60 mm over much of the Ottawa River basin. This additional precipitation is expected to once again increase levels that had been in decline.

Current weather forecasts predict very significant precipitation beginning Sunday, April 30th into Monday, May 1st. These weather conditions could cause rapid increases in levels and flows between Mattawa and the Montreal region. The increase in levels and extent of possible flooding will depend on the amount of precipitation received, the tracking of the storm as well as the amount of snowmelt in the north.

With current forecasts, northern snowmelt runoff combined with precipitation is expected to fill most northern reservoirs in the next few days. As a result, the capacity to retain additional runoff from the headwater areas in the north will be diminished.  

Paul LeFort 2017/04/28

Greetings from P3. Al and I performed a circumnavigation (walk is the wrong word here).

One can drive carefully (washouts) up to the culverts. Water is two feet deep past the culverts, so Al got in over his boots, being a little crazy, and  I used waders, being prepared. Same problem for access to the picnic area from the parking lot.

Damage assessment:

  1. The water came up and touched the cottage floor, but did not go over the floor. We may assume it will dry nicely, but should test under linoleum anyway. Front verandah is intact. Lost: one rain barrel.
  2. Both the airplane and Thomas the Tank engine are gone, and did not land on any downstream beaches. Ditto most of the “fence logs”.
  3. The big bridge on Muskrat is hanging by sheer luck.
  4. The old crib that was beside Muskrat is now in front of the turtle blind.
  5. Turtle blind needs complete rebuild.
  6. Water rearranged content of work shed, flooding over the chain saw on the bottom shelf. I started it on the third pull.
  7. No water damage in schoolhouse, but it was wet at some point.
  8. Trail shed lost its steps, all six bags of concrete are set, and the water reached over the lawnmower engine. Like the chain saw, it will start first pull. Mud everywhere in there.
  9. Platform at Holland will need repositioning.
  10. All bench platforms are secure but floating around on their anchors.
  11. There are now only two planting boxes, both moved about 30 feet into the landscape. The bug hotel is gone as well. Won’t miss it…
  1. Sarah’s boat is safe, as noted before.
  2. No damage was noted from loose tree trunks, although the piles were reorganized and some floated away. The river was kind enough to completely level out the north branch of the trail to the western area.
  3. Wildlife report: not that many birds, too many geese, one garter snake with a woolen hat wearing a lifevest.

If the weather holds out (unlikely), we will be able to walk in with boots next Wednesday. The Regulation Board says the reservoirs are full, and expects the river will go up again as snowmelt and the coming rain do their thing.

Paul LeFort 2017/04/24

No change in the last two days. The water has dropped, but not visibly.

Dozens of the curious and loyal continue to visit the Trim Road barricade daily, many of them people who visit the island almost daily under normal circumstances.  They bring cameras and binoculars and enjoy the large number of birds present, along with a few muskrats and beavers. A captive audience for a membership drive…

Owner Yves and staffer John boated into the marina again today and are performing some duties. It seems that a few of the stored ice huts are flooded.

When waters recede, the City will have to clear and repair the access road before barricades are removed for the general public. By then I’m sure some os us will have gone out to inspect, either by human-powered boat or by human-powered boot (Steve: pun intended).

Waters are being held back in the upstream reservoirs (kilowatts will be distributed to taxpayers over time). If we do not have the kind of rain in Mat that April showered us with, things should be “normal”, meaning the regular spring freshet situation: no land access to Muskrat and Holland trails.

I don’t think any of the power outlets inside or outside the two buildings are low enough to have shorted out the power and popped the breakers.


Paul Lefort 2017/04/21

River continues to rise to unprecedented levels. Gained a few feet longitudinally on the access road.

I had an exchange of emails with Yves Grandmaître, who has known the island since childhood and remembers floods in years long past. He was unequivocal: there will be a few inches of water over the floor of the Interpretive Center. Assume a nice clean ground surface in our work shed, and some swollen plywood flooring at the Petrie Island Trailmaster Lodge & Resort. Also assume that some of the ash trunks left by Forestry will be wandering. Hopefully some of the branches will travel to the nether reaches of the Ottawa. Steve and I will be taking bets on where the wrecked timber crib off Muskrat will end up after Noah decommisions the ark.

(Ozile’s runaway canoe was retrieved, in case anyone noticed it east of the barricade)

The photo here was taken May 1, 2013, when water was under 43.5 m ASL. We are now over 44 m. I trust we chained the bench platform.

I was unable to inspect any distant locations from North Service due to thick fog. I have no intention of trying to take the kayak out to the cottage until the current slows down or the water allows us to reach beyond the causeway.   – updates around 1400 hrs daily.