Well, it seems we went from summer to practically winter in just a day right before Thanksgiving, which unfortunately made for quite a bit of time spent indoors on what is traditionally such a beautiful weekend at the lake. But who’s to complain after the wonderful September we had, as captured in André Isabelle’s photo above. The peace and quiet of autumn at the lake after the busyness of summer provides an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Pemichangan and how we can help to ensure the lake’s continued health. As such, this edition contains excerpts from Ottawa native Ty Fischer’s reflections on the topic of people’s relationship with lakes after his summer spent assessing lake shorelines. See how much of what Ty writes resonates with you. And, of course, take this time to read about what has been keeping the FLP Board busy over the last months.
Loving the Lake
Ty Fischer and a co-worker spent the summer on Ontario lakes working as a Riparian Habitat Restoration Interns for the Watersheds Canada and Canadian Wildlife Federation shoreline assessment program. In an article he wrote, Ty describes the many types of ways he saw people loving lakes: “the love between shoreline owners and their lakes, the love between members of the community, and the love for our organization and the work [we] were doing.” His insights will surely resonate with most of us and perhaps encourage more owners to join the FLP, OUR organization.
“By the end of our time spent at each lake, writes TY, the connection we felt to these bodies of water extended beyond simply aesthetics and verged into a sort of emotional tether to the whole of the lake, its ecosystems, and its community. I would venture to say that anyone who has spent any time up at a lake might understand what I am referring to. […] I have discovered that the deep connection people forge with lakes is extremely quick to form, is strong in nature, and is often slow (or impossible) to fade away. Like a friendship with the grandest and most complicated friend you have ever had, the longer you spend in and around a lake, the deeper and stronger this tie becomes.
One by-product of this connection which became very clear to me this summer is the sense of community between shoreline owners on lakes. The shared responsibility they have for their lake and their selfless devotion to maintaining its health and to the other members of the lake association was clear to me from the beginning, and this was the source of countless heartwarming moments that repeatedly reinforced my faith in humanity throughout the summer.
As an environmentalist, it was also a metaphor for a larger picture – that enough humans caring about something and collaborating with each other can enact changes that will make our future better. The changes may be gradual, operating on a scale of years and not hours and therefore perhaps difficult to notice in the moment, but the progress that is been made becomes clear when looking back in time. […] As word spreads and our collective knowledge base grows, we begin to set a standard for shoreline owners so that these lakes can be more responsibly enjoyed in the future.” Thank you to Watersheds Canada and Ty Fischer for the use of this excerpt.
The 2023 AGM was held on July 15 at the Gatineau Fish and Game Club. The Board covered updates on membership, lake health, and camping and went through the details of the proposed bylaw changes that will allow the Board to operate more efficiently. That was followed by a summary of the proposed budget for the next year and the election of the new directors. We had great engagement at the meeting and it was obvious that the members who were present all share a passion for Pemichangan. The most significant feedback heard at the meeting was the frustration with the lack of transparency and information on development around the lake. The Board has spent considerable time since then discussing how to improve this, has created a committee to tackle the issue and will provide an update once a plan is in place. Thank you to everyone who voiced ideas and concerns and who offered help.
Claire Poitras (South end) has joined the Board. In addition to ensuring that there is a continued French presence on the Board, Claire contributes her perspective as a Quebec resident. Marie-Pierre Diotte (South end) and Cameron Jackson (North end) have left the Board. The FLP thanks them both for their contributions!
Association pour la protection du lac des 31-milles
At the invitation of Hugues Raymond, president of the Association pour la protection du lac des 31-milles, Pat Zakaib, Marianne Kennedy-Beaulne and Jeff Stanier drove to Bouchette on August 26 to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing our neighbouring lake association to the North.
Marlène Thonnard, Interim Head of the Corporation du Parc régional du lac des 31-milles, gave an excellent presentation, taking us through the long-term vision for the park. One important aspect of that vision is to develop and promote solidarity between residents, cottagers, and visitors.
The President’s report was focussed on membership, outreach, milfoil, and the regional park. The Association’s board is communicating to all parties to not use fireworks on the lake and are asking the MRC to adopt a ban throughout the Gatineau Valley. Another interesting fact learned at the meeting was that there are about 340 properties on 31 Mile Lake, roughly the same as the number on Lac Pemichangan. The agenda items were presented with simultaneous translation by Jim Mitchell. It was felt by all of us who attended the meeting that we should consider the same for our next AGM. For more information, see Corporation du Parc régional du lac des 31 milles.
In 2022, the FLP joined the Fédération québécoise de défense des lacs et cours d’eau (FQDLC). Nearly 100 associations for the protection of lakes and municipalities belong to this group. The FQDLC’s mission is to protect the health of Quebec’s lakes and waterways by promoting national action to prevent and control aquatic invasive alien species (AIS), with a particular focus on Eurasian watermilfoil. Among other things, it aims to: act as an intermediary with governmental and regulatory bodies, and intervene to ensure that prevention, control, access to expertise and support programs for communities affected by AIS are implemented from a national perspective, with risk management analysis and recurring support. This will enable the FLP to keep abreast of the latest developments in the fight against AIS and to play an active part in it. For more details, see (in French only) FQDLC.
Short Term Rentals
Gracefield is still working on a comprehensive consolidation of its bylaws, including provisions on short term rentals, now expected for sometime in 2024. For South end owners residing in Lac-Sainte-Marie, information is available at Nouvelles et communauté/Hébergement touristique de courte durée (in French only) on the LSM Website.
Picnic and Campsite Corner
Did you know that proper disposal of human waste is a common problem in many back country camping areas, including the area of Lac Pemichangan? The most accepted form of disposing of human waste while camping is to dig a “cat-hole” – a small hole in the ground dug with a small shovel or by hand and covered up once your business is completed. LUCKILY, all of the designated camping sites on Lac Pemichangan have toilet boxes…YAY!!! Disposing of waste in toilet boxes and cat-holes is the preferred method of human waste disposal because it avoids or reduces the negative impact of visitors encountering feces or toilet paper, animal and insect transmission of pathogens, and water contamination after rainfall. Currently, over one hundred protozoans, bacteria and viruses have been identified in human waste, including the hepatitis A virus. Depending on the type of soil, bacteria may still be present up to one year later. As you might expect, tampons and bleached toilet paper are very resistant to decay. Please pack them out in a bag or container or burn your toilet paper safely at your campfire (Leave No Trace Canada). These simple measures will help ensure that the next campers will also have a wonderful camping experience on clean and beautiful Lac Pemichangan.
Disposal of Old Docks
Disposing of an old dock can be quite a job. Members of the Gatineau Fish and Game Club can contact the club to have a dock picked up for a fee. There are currently no solutions for non-members of the GFGC but the FLP is looking into the matter.
Membership Campaign Results
Many of you were invited personally this summer by Board and other members to join the FLP. The aim of the canvassing campaign was in part to learn why some people decide not to join the FLP and how to address any issues raised. Many property owners claimed they just hadn’t gotten to it. Others thought they had paid their membership or that their spouse had. Hopefully, if that is your case you have joined by now.
Interestingly, one reason mentioned was the fact that the FLP was using membership fees to offer free camping at Pemichangan instead of charging campers. The FLP does not own the land where the campsites are located and, as such, has no legal jurisdiction over it. But the FLP has installed toilets and hires Marcel Chantigny to maintain the sites in line with its mission of protecting the health of the lake and surrounding area so that Pemichangan will continue to be enjoyed by all users.
Some owners have joined as a result of this summer’s canvas. Others have said they would. If you have not yet had the time or were missed during the canvas, you can still join. Thank you to those who joined! For questions on membership, please contact Pat Zakaib.
Have a general concern? Want to help out? Please contact Jeff Stanier. The FLP wants to hear from you!
Jeff Stanier, President (613) 324-7277
Rick Robertson, Past President (613) 513-7425 email@example.com
Samantha Perrin, Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Michèle Patry, Secretary and Communications email@example.com
Pat Zakaib, Membership and Outreach firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Laframboise, GFGC Boat Launch Committee email@example.com
John Hilbrich, GFGC Liaison firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Norton, Camping Culture email@example.com
Marianne Kennedy Beaulne, North End and Outreach firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Poitras, South End and Outreach email@example.com
Karen Butterfield, Camping, Watershed and Lake Health firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracey Henderson, Camping, Watershed and Lake Health email@example.com
Wanda Taylor, USA Liaison firstname.lastname@example.org