Invitation to contribute to the local Community Forest

(This was originally posted on the Champlain Park website on January 13, 2016)

The Champlain Park Community Association (CPCA) and the National Capital Commission (NCC) have entered into an agreement to cooperate in the management of the forested area on NCC land between Northwestern Avenue and Island Park Drive north of Premier Avenue. This agreement enables the CPCA to promote and facilitate community projects aimed at improving the forest area. Following is a statement of the goals and objectives of the programme and guidelines for individuals and groups that wish to contribute ideas, time and resources.

The NCC forest bordering our community is an integral part of the community experience. Transformed from its natural state by cottage development in the 1900s and severely damaged by the 1998 ice storm, it currently serves as an area for walking, a home for wildlife and a buffer between the community and traffic on the Ottawa River Parkway.

The overall goal of the Community Forest Management Programme is to bring improvements to the forest consistent with the following objectives:

  • A gradual succession of the flora and fauna towards a mature forest comprised of native species of trees, shrubs and ground cover;
  • Removal of and strict avoidance of plant species known to be invasive or inappropriate to a native forest;
  • Maintaining a safe, accessible and litter-free environment for people of all ages;
  • Supporting opportunities for educational and recreational experiences in the forest and;
  • Enhancing pathways and connections between Champlain Park, the Ottawa River and the broader community

An informal Committee has been established to promote and facilitate community projects consistent with the overall goals and specific objectives of the programme.

A bur oak named "Canada Day 2015"
A bur oak named “Canada Day 2015”

The first action under the agreement with the NCC was the planting on Canada Day (2015) of a local bur oak sapling 10 metres to the west of the Carleton entrance to the forest. It is protected by a small fence, and watered by nature and dog walkers.
The Committee plans to develop a list of about 10 projects to be submitted in late February to the NCC as an initial set for their approval. Other projects will be added periodically. Projects discussed so far include:

  1. An inventory and mapping of current forest cover (trees, shrubs and ground cover, distinguishing between native, invasive and inappropriate species);
  2. Safe removal in selected areas of invasive and harmful plant species including Poison Ivy, Garlic mustard, Honey suckle, Japanese knot weed, and Dog strangling vine;
  3. Collection of deadwood from selected areas for chipping by the NCC and redistribution of wood chips to improve existing pathways;
  4. Planting in selected areas seed or cuttings of native species, with particular attention to shrubs (for example, xxx) and ground cover (trillium, xxx);
  5. Placement by the NCC of a garbage can at the Patricia Avenue entrance to the forest;
  6. Interpretive signs in a few locations describing some of the natural and cultural features of the forest;
  7. Naming the forest in a way recognizes the human and natural heritage of the area

You are invited to contribute project ideas or give time and resources to bring about improvements to the forest. You can do so by contacting members of the programme committee listed below.

If you have a specific project to suggest,

  • Outline in writing what it is you wish to do and indicate where in the forest it would happen (we will have a map with grid sections available shortly, for easy reference);
  • State how the project fits into the overall goal and specific objectives of the programme.
  • Indicate who will be involved, and how you intend to safely mobilize the people and other resources needed.

Approved projects will operate under the general protection of the CPCA liability insurance policy.

Discuss your ideas with any of the following committee members: Adrian Bradley (chair), Daniel Buckles, Eloise Holland, Roland Dorsay, John Arnason, Dennis Vanstaalduinen, Nick Xenos, Jen Neate and Allan Ramunas.