The Friends of Gatineau Park team delivered a host of successful activities this winter. Our interpreters and volunteers continue to show their passions for the Park. They have helped to orient and prepare visitors so that they have a rich and safe experience in the great outdoors.
Winter 2017 in summary
Snowshoe under the stars
One of our most popular winter activities, Snowshoe under the Stars, saw over 200 guests participating. We were challenged this year by ice and deteriorating trail conditions and, for safety reasons, had to cancel 3 evenings. Despite this, we offered Friday night walks on seven evenings this year, with 2 interpreters providing both English and French interpretation with the help of 2 to 5 volunteers for each outing.
Outdoor wilderness education series
In partnership with Sauvetage Bénébole Outaouais – Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue, we offered an introduction to map and compass orientation as part of our Outdoor Wilderness Skills workshop series. This series provides participants with the basic knowledge and understanding they need when out in nature and promotes recreational practices that are safe and respectful of the natural heritage of Gatineau Park.
Partnership with Nordik Spa-Nature
We have a great partnership with the Spa. The combination of an hour of interpretive snowshoeing followed by the marvelous relaxation and pampering of the baths, sauna, steam room… A wonderful relaxing experience, in the winter, under the stars, after an interpretive snowshoe hike. Relaxation guaranteed!
The Friends participated in two major events this winter in the National Capital Region, the Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall and the Gatineau Loppet.
The Right Honourable Governor General David Johnston invited the Friends to set up an interpretive kiosk at the Winter Celebration and we had 1,036 guests visit our tent (including the Governor General). During the Loppet, for the kids race, which is the Mini 2km, we set up our kiosk and had around 350 guests visit our tent.
The Friends provided interpretive tours for school groups, employee groups, and community agencies. Through our programs, these groups have learned more about the Park’s unique ecology and rich cultural history. In total we had over 225 guests for snowshoe interpretive tours in the park.
Programming with the NCC
Much of the Friends of Gatineau Park’s interpretation work is offered through our collaboration with the NCC. Friends of Gatineau Park interpreters provide many of the programs developed and managed by the Commission.
* January 2017 – 800 New Canadians participated in snowshoe hikes.
* January to March 2017 – We offered 42 snowshoe outings for the general public.
* February to March 2017 – We offered 45 snowshoe outings for regional school groups.
* March and April 2017 – We offered a new program to teach about the canines present in the Park, their role and their protection. There were 23 schools that participated, which included 67 classes and 1,600 students.
* March 11 and 12 2017 – 6 interpreters and 15 volunteers participated in the success of this epic activity. The carnival was offered as part of the Canada 150 celebrations and its goal was to encourage new Canadians to go outside and experience the joys of winter and the Park. Many new Canadian citizens braved the cold on Saturday, while others had a rather balmy Sunday, but all enjoyed sliding, parking lot hockey, interpretive tents, and so much more.
Many thanks to our professional group of interpreters who go out every time, in good and not so good weather, to welcome visitors to the Park and accompany them in the development of a relationship with nature. We value your knowledge and experience. We are greatly encouraged by the work you do on behalf of the Friends. Because of your work with our programming we can offer activities of the highest excellence, to encourage visitors to appreciate and enjoy the Park, to leave no trace, and to understand both the natural and cultural value of the Park.
A big thank you to all the volunteers whose enthusiasm and involvement make it possible for the Friends to carry out our mission of education and outreach in the park. Know that your participation makes a difference.
Thank you to the team at the NCC, most notably: Francois Leduc, Rachel Paquette, Laura Marks, Dominque Turcotte, and Gregory Shaw.
Thank you as well to the CLD des collines for loaning us tents to use for our events!