Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If you haven't been outside for any extended period of time today...do it! It is so sunny and warm. That's just what I needed. I love winter and all the great stuff that comes with it, but this one seemed longer then normal. In fact, I can't remember EVER being this happy to see the white stuff go.
That and my evil side LOVES the fact that all those folks looking to escape winter for March break may have just wasted a boat load of money!
Ahhhh.....that sun feels so good!!! Here's hoping you too will have a chance to enjoy it.
Posted by Jim at 4:38 PM
Friday, March 13, 2009
While checking out Mungo Says Bah this afternoon I found (as always) some very interesting posts. I am VERY happy with my Hennessey Hammock, but should a planned "Ultra lite" backpacking trip take place this summer this would be perfect.
Check out this link and the video below.
How to make a Tarp Shelter.
Posted by Jim at 2:30 PM
A 2004 decision by the Ministry of Natural Resources to create a permanent ban on harvesting wolves in 40 townships around Algonquin Park is having serious repercussions, according to Huntsville resident Gerald Borley.
Borley believes wolf populations are approaching “epidemic proportions” in central Ontario — specifically in the Muskoka and Haliburton areas. He has written a letter to Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield explaining his position on the need to reinstate the harvesting of wolves.
The ban was first announced in 2001, but it was implemented for only 30 months, so in 2004 the ministry put a permanent ban in place.
An avid hunter and naturalist, Borley states that over the last five years, he has witnessed an “exploding wolf population” in the area.
“As the years have passed the wolf numbers have grown dramatically and their numbers are such now that they are decimating our deer and moose populations at a staggering rate,” said Borley. “Prior to the ministry’s decision to implement the no-wolf (harvesting) zones, local hunters were allowed to trap wolves up to the Algonquin Park boundary, which in itself helped keep the wolf population under control.”
Borley said that as a hunter who has hunted the same 1,000 acres in Lake of Bays for 25 years, he has noticed a dramatic decline in the amount of game on the property. He has also observed moose cows without calves, does without fawns and an abundance of wolf tracks with scat containing hair.
“There’s wolves all over and the MNR is closing their eyes to it,” he said. “We know our bush well and this is what has stood out to us over the past few years.”
Borley is concerned for a number of reasons. He says sightings of wolves in the Muskoka area were considered rare up until about six years ago and wolves are now becoming bold enough to enter rural areas. A big part of the reason for that, he said, is that deer have moved into more populated areas due to fear of the wolves.
“I live in a small subdivision just outside of town and had a wolf walk through my backyard, and my neighbour across the road saw one walk right down the road between our houses,” said Borley. “One of my hunting partners woke up early one morning to an awful bunch of growling and barking only to find that two wolves were standing at the pen where he keeps his dog. As he opened his side door the wolves left. Had the dog been in a kennel, it likely would have been killed.”
Borley has heard many recent stories about wolves entering rural areas. For example, he said in Dwight a group of children were playing in their driveway when suddenly three wolves appeared. Fortunately, the family dog was in the vicinity and it ran out to challenge the wolves. Although it was not killed, the dog was nearly mangled to death.
“When the ministry opened up the no-harvesting zone around the park, it provided more room to breed, and our wildlife in the last few years has died right down,” said Borley. “Our game is disappearing.”
Barry Radford, senior communications adviser for the MNR, stated he would not comment on whether the MNR has received an increase in reports of wolf sightings because he does not field those calls. He did say, however, that there is an increase in predators in general entering rural areas across the province, and these high populations tend to follow behind the growth of prey, which in the case of the wolf is deer.
“Wolves do what they do,” he said. “They venture out of the park, often pursuing deer. Once these predators have adapted to human habitation and sources of food, trying to relocate them is not an option. Predator populations are high because there’s an abundance of food.”
Radford said the reason the MNR put a prohibition in the 40 townships around Algonquin Park was to help preserve the park’s existing wolf population, which is a unique subspecies.
When asked if the MNR would ever consider reinstating wolf harvesting zones, he replied, “It would be a matter of what the circumstances are at that time.”
Rick Stronks, Algonquin Park’s chief naturalist, confirmed that in 2000 an advisory group put together a report on the need to protect the park’s rare wolf subspecies, known as the eastern wolf. The wolf is closely related to the red wolf that exists in the United States. He said one of the main reasons behind the research was to determine the exact species of the wolf and if this is an animal at risk of extinction.
“We do believe it is a different species than the grey wolf, and we know the population seems to be stable as opposed to going down,” said Stronks, adding that research has also shown the wolf population extends outside the park. “Leading up to the ban, there was a question about what species of wolves we have. If unique, we need to protect it, not just in the park but in surrounding areas. Wolves live in territories and they don’t know what their boundaries are. To be on the conservative side, the minister said ‘let’s protect the wolves and research this animal.’”
Lake of Bays resident/photographer Peter Glen, who has lived in the area since 2000, indicated that over the years he has noticed an increase in wolf populations. Glen has been able to capture some close-ups with his camera of wolves feasting on a dead deer about 200 feet from his kitchen window. He said when he made a sudden noise, the wolves “stood and stared at me and weren’t too keen on seeing any faces.”
“I did see evidence of them before, but it was mostly scat and dead deer that had been killed on the ice or in the bush,” he said. “I feed the deer sometimes during the winter and they do accumulate here. When I went in (to the township office) to pay my tax bill, I found out that the whole area around where I live is considered a doe yard.”
An excerpt featured in the February edition of Ontario Out of Doors stated that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs paid $1,038,618 in compensation for wolf/coyote predation on livestock and poultry in 2007/2008. Over the past few years, there has generally been an increase in compensation across the province and in areas around the Grey-Bruce region (Owen Sound) and northern and eastern parts of the province have been making more claims.
In 2008, the Town of Huntsville received five claims for killed livestock, totalling $1,628.15, and in 2007 received three claims totalling $753.75. The Township of Lake of Bays received one claim in 2008, which totalled $297 and three in 2007 totalling $802.24.
Posted by Jim at 1:40 PM
A while back I posted about a new Algonquin map being made available for free by Jeffrey M. Jeffrey, a popular poster on the Algonquin Adventures message board, has taken it upon himself to compile information from, maps, satellite images, trip logs and MANY other sources to create what has quickly become the "must have" map for the Park.
The map has so many features it's easy to forget to list them all, but the ones that stand out for me are:
-Accurate mapping of all water bodies ( even some lakes are missing on other maps)
-Old and new Lake names (great for history buffs)
-All roads old and new
-Old and current portage routes
-Old and current campsites
-Common fish for most lakes
-Points of interest from some of the most experienced people to ever walk a portage
-Difficult or Impassable portages
....and the list goes on and on. Simply put this is hands down the best map Algonquin has ever had and now it can be yours.
Jeffrey has always made the map available for free from his website Free Algonquin Park Map, but with version 2.0 set to be released this weekend, Jeffrey has announced that we will also have a printed full sized map or book version available for purchase. Both versions will of course still be available for FREE download, but if like me, you prefer a physical map and don't have a printer capable of recreating it in all it's glory then this should interest you.
In yet another classy move, Jeffrey is selling the book and full map versions near cost and what little money is made he is donating to Algonquin related charities.
Just to sum this up....
Jeffrey takes YEARS to create the best map ever, then makes it available for free and when he does sell it....oh he gives all the profits to charity. How cool is that people?
I asked Jeff the following questions and below are his responses:
Will the pages be laminated or waterproof?
"Nope, it won't be waterproof or laminated. I'm just going with a print-on-demand company (And ordering in small quantities to save folks the $15US shipping charge that would apply if one were only purchasing a single copy.) That means that options are limited gif" width="14" height="14">. The good thing is that the pages are printed by a laser printer, meaning that if you bring a page or two (Or the entire book,) and it gets wet, the ink won't bleed, the paper will only get soggy (Again, it'd be nice if I could find a way to get it printed on a waterproof substrate but such is life.)"
Size and weight?
"Size in pages is... 84. I don't have my proof yet, so I can't tell you weight. The dimensions are 8"x10" with .5" margins on all sides except the centre which has a .75" margin (Which makes each map 6.75"x9" or 9"x6.75")"
What format? I imagine the full map in the front cut in to 70+ sections, each pointing to the appropriate page number. Am I close?
"You're exactly right. There's a table of contents and an index map pointing to 72 different submaps. Each submap was custom made (As opposed to being extracted from the big jpg) so that nothing gets cut off. The scale varies between pages, but is 1:80 000 for the most part with a few 1:60 000 sections and two 1:100 000 sections (The 1:100 000 sections cover places that wouldn't be of as much interest to those who paddle Algonquin; for instance, Lake of Bays is covered by on of those two maps.) When I release the new map and make copies of the book available for sale, the PDF of the book will be available online for download."
When do you expect it to be available?
"My timetable is like this... receive proof, approve proof, release map for download online, order 50 or so books and shipping supplies. Hopefully I'll receive the book proof this week.... that means that I'd post the map this week and order the 50 or so books this week as well. Obviously there's places that delays could happen in this timeline, but that's my hope."
I am very excited about the book version and have already reserved 2 copies. To get your name on the list or if you just want more information visit the links below and be sure to let Jeffrey know that you read about it here!
Go HERE to reserve your copy or to ask Jeffrey questions about the book for full sized map.
Official Free Algonquin Map website.
Posted by Jim at 8:34 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Sorry folks for being away for so long. The kids sports and my own training take up almost all of my free time these days, but I had to share this with you.
Below is an article that appeared in our local paper recently about my son Jacob's Hockey team. We are into the playoffs now and have a good chance of making it to the "A" final. I will let you know how it goes. Until then, enjoy the article.
Click HERE to see the article on the Newspapers website or you can read it below.
Eight is enough for Cavers
MVP scores eight goals in Newcastle tyke team win
Mar 10, 2009 - 08:44 AM
CLARINGTON -- Newcastle Minor Tyke team #2 took home top honours from a tournament in Norwood, winning the A championship game 4-2 over Peterborough, after victories against Norwood and Millbrook earlier in the day.
Newcastle goal scorers for the tournament included Jacob Cavers with eight, Eric Bargent with seven, Keith Warne with six, Madison Hannon and Carson Parish with three each, Kyle Murphy with two, Karmen Penney, Jacob Robinson, Shawn Imlach, Cooper Stone, Cole Cottam and Alexander Lebel.
In net, Ashley Imlach recorded two shutouts. The MVP trophy was awarded to Jacob Cavers.
Posted by Jim at 12:11 PM