Hello everyone,

How do you know it’s spring? Apart from the Leafs being out of course… You know it’s spring when people start posting photos of wayward docks on the Friends of Lake Pemichangan (FLP) Facebook page. Not to mention shots of happy fishing enthusiasts showing off their catches since the start of fishing on April 28. For many cottage owners, the season at the lake starts in earnest during the upcoming long weekend. As usual, the FLP Board and Committees members have been busy over the winter working on ongoing and new projects aimed at protecting the lake so that everyone can continue enjoying it for years to come. Some of them will even be out there in May and June installing yellow milfoil buoys. Read on to find out what has been keeping them busy and for other news. See you at the lake!

Brent Freeman

Knight Bay’s (South end) has lost one of its icons. Brent Freeman, whose family has been in Knight’s Bay since the 1960’s, passed away this winter. In the 1970’s, Brent’s father William purchased what was then known as Knight’s farm and landing (most of the land in the area). Brent continued his father’s legacy as a gentleman (in every sense of the word) farmer, spending his days tending his land and helping and accommodating neighbours in any way he could. Thank you Brent. You were truly a great friend of Lac Pemichangan.

GFGC Boat Launch. Discussions between the Gatineau Fish and Game Club (GFGC) and the City of Gracefield have intensified in recent weeks and preparations for the new launch are moving forward. The GFGC has started work to prepare the road for the proposed site (across the bay from the current site, near the GFGC gas pump). As noted in the last newsletter, the city intends to pass a bylaw requiring mandatory washing of all boats entering lakes in the municipality, including Pemichangan. The first boat washing station is expected to be in Gracefield – exact location to be determined. The GFGC will continue working with its members and the municipality to move forward with a new boat launch on its property. The existing launch will remain open until such time as the GFGC opens its new launch. FLP Board members John Hilbrich and Nicole Laframboise remain on the GFGC Boat Launch committee. While the new launch will involve an agreement between the municipality and the GFGC, who owns the land and will construct the launch, John and Nicole continue to advocate for the interests of the FLP in this process.

2023 AGM. Save the Date! The 2023 AGM will be held on Saturday July 15, 2023 at 10 am at the Gatineau Fish and Game Club, 10 chemin de Point Comfort, Gracefield. Everyone is welcome but only FLP members can vote at the AGM. The FLP Board and Committees have been working on updating the FLP’s 2015 Articles and ByLaws to simplify processes, and amendments will be submitted to members for approval at the AGM. We would very much appreciate your attendance so that you may learn more of what the FLP does to preserve the lake. All of our Board and Committee members are volunteers. The AGM is an opportunity for you to become involved as well or simply to voice any concerns. We look forward to getting to know you better. Please reach out to any Board or Committee member at any time if you require further information. Hope to see you there!

Americans! Are you covered by health insurance when you’re in Canada? (by Wanda Taylor). Although I live in Pennsylvania, USA, I have vacationed on Lac Pemichangan my entire life. In the last 30 years, I’ve owned a cottage of my own in Knight’s Bay.  “Going to the lake’ is now a natural yearly migration, much like the loons. While I think about and plan (activities, visitors, gear, and food) for our yearly return to the lake, I never once thought about one of us sustaining a serious illness there. I attribute my oversight to the fact that the cottage is my second home – really where my heart lives all the time. However, my traverse to Canada will now have an added task – health insurance. 

Last summer, after only two weeks at the lake, my husband became gravely ill and had to be transported to the Wakefield Hospital by ambulance where he was admitted and treated. We are both senior citizens who rely on US Medicare as our primary insurer. VERY fortunately, we also carry traditional (not Advantage) supplemental health insurance. In so many ways, my husband’s illness was a learning experience.  I’m happy to say that he’s recovering and our ‘lessons learned’ will prepare us – and hopefully others – for future incidents requiring medical treatment and/or hospitalization within Canada.

I’m not an expert on health or travel insurance. My goal is to make you aware that there may be pitfalls and make some suggestions for preventing them. My lessons learned:

  • No matter who, what age, or what length of time travelling within Canada’s borders, check your foreign coverage. And I suggest you call your agent or coverer, because there may be exceptions that are not stated in coverage summaries.
  • Senior citizens – do not assume Medicare covers you, because it does NOT (except for a rare exception).
  • Check both primary and secondary insurance coverage. For instance, in our case, Medicare covered nothing, but thankfully, our supplemental insurance covered what Medicare would cover within the United States. If employed, you may be covered by two plans – make sure there are no exceptions for foreign coverage, so check all your plans.
  • You’ll have to pay UP FRONT for services, and then request reimbursement from your insurer after the fact. So be prepared for that, regardless of your coverage.
  • Traditional trip insurance, like you’d take out if taking a cruise, covers the costs of your trip, and it does include medical and transportation coverage. It is date-based and has a lot of coverage that does not pertain when we are staying at the cottage for the summer, such as Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and more. Also, most plans are invalidated if you cross back and forth to the US over the course of the summer. Yearly trip insurance is available, but there may be a limit to the length of a single trip.

Bottom line – seriously consider the consequences of not carrying health insurance that covers Canada! For more information on this or other issues of interest for US members, please contact Wanda Taylor.

Chemin du Lac Pemichangan Roadwork. The planned paving of chemin du Lac Pemichangan (South end) will not start for a few years. Gracefield and Lac-Sainte-Marie have agreed to share the costs, but the MRC has also applied for financing from the provincial government. No work will be done until such financing has been received. Until then, the road will continue to be maintained as it has in the past.

Yellow Buoys. Eurasian water milfoil continues to spread in the lake, including in some of its most cherished and busiest areas. Because milfoil spreads by fragmentation, one of the best ways to help prevent further spread is to avoid the use of any motorized watercraft within the weed-beds. To help with this, the FLP will once again be installing yellow marker buoys which act as a visual reminder to steer clear of these areas. In most cases, if you see a line of yellow buoys, you should stay on the side of the buoys furthest from shore. Occasionally, the buoys will go straight across a narrow area – this means there is no way to proceed through that area without avoiding the bed so please glide through these areas with motors off and/or lifted depending on the height of the weed. If you can help place buoys in May or June, please contact Tracey Henderson, Marianne Kennedy Beaulne or any other Board Member.

Light Pollution at the Lake. The special beauty of nighttime at the lake – an expanse of stars, haunting loon calls, the spark of fireflies, the rustle of animals –  is all at risk when too much light is added into the mix. We often think about light pollution in terms of star-gazing, and it is true that thousands more stars are visible on a moonless night at the lake than can be seen in any city…provided there is no glare from nearby lights! But nighttime lighting impacts more than our view of the sky. Birds and nocturnal animals that use stars to navigate can become dangerously disoriented by artificial light. Research has found that artificial light also influences wildlife’s stress and hormone levels, predator-prey relationships and foraging, feeding and mating behaviours. Even small water organisms, fish and wildflowers can be impacted by changing light patterns. The good news is that light pollution is easy to remedy. The FLP Code of Ethics provides a simple guide to lighting best practices: use a minimum of outdoor lighting in warm tones only when needed, shaded and directed downward. If safety is a concern, consider motion sensor lights and timers, and remember that reflective tape and markers provide non-intrusive alternatives to dock and pathway lighting. Fortunately, following these guidelines is not only good for nature and enjoying starry skies – it saves energy and money too! For more ideas, see:

Where to place outdoor cottage lighting

Picnic and Campsite Corner. Did you know that the FLP has an Adopt-a-Site program? That the Province or Municipality does not look after our picnic and campsites? Adopting a picnic or campsite is a great way to help preserve the ecology of the lake. If you have kids, it is also a wonderful way for the kids to volunteer and feel like they are part of helping to look after the lake. Once a site is adopted, we encourage individuals and families to visit the adopted site 3-4 times over the summer to see if it is in good condition (no damage to trees, abandoned garbage, fires not properly extinguished, or other items needing attention). Please take gloves and a garbage bag with you to carry out any litter you may find. If visitors are using the site, you can engage with them and ask how their visit is going and if the site was clean when they arrived. It is a great way to let people know that most of the upkeep is done by volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Todd Norton.

Did you know that garbage burned in a campfire may leave traces of heavy metals in campfire ash? Burned plastics and packaging from freeze dried foods; plastic cups, forks and spoons; and snack sized chip bags were found to leave elevated levels of lead in the ash of campfires. If the ash is scattered it can contaminate the soil, water, and wildlife…not to mention humans. Hazardous air pollutants that were measured in one study from the smoke in campfires that  contained garbage (also think plastics here) included aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, naphthalene, styrene, toluene and xylene. These are all considered carcinogenic and can be severe eye, nose, and throat irritants. (Leave No Trace Canada) Please carry out all that you carry in and dispose of it responsibly!

Membership Campaign. The total number of cottages or residences on the lake is 305.  At present, approximately 155 cottagers and campers have joined the FLP, your lake association. We are relaunching our campaign to increase membership. Each member of the elected FLP Board has been assigned approximately 20 property owners to visit to provide them with the FLP Code of Ethics, an invitation to the AGM and a one-page overview on what the FLP does for you. Joining the FLP is easier than ever and renewals are automatic. For more information, please contact Pat Zakaib.

Have a general concern? Want to help out? Please contact Jeff Stanier or Rick Robertson. The FLP wants to hear from you!

Jeff Stanier
FLP President



Jeff Stanier, President, Secretary and IT (613) 324-7277

Rick Robertson, Past President and Public Relations (613) 513-7425 richardjrobertson@gmail.com

Michèle Patry, Communications mpatry2015@gmail.com

Todd Norton, Camping Culture drtnorton1@gmail.com

Pat Zakaib, Membership pzakaib@gmail.com

Cameron Jackson, Water Testing and Social Media Calendar cameronpauljackson@gmail.com

Nicole Laframboise, GFGC Boat Launch Committee nlaframboise64@gmail.com

Wanda Taylor, USA Liaison pemichongan@comcast.net

Marianne Kennedy Beaulne, North End mkennedybeaulne@gmail.com

Karen Butterfield, Camping, Watershed and Lake Health kkhbutterfield@hotmail.com

Board Committee Members

Tracey Henderson, Camping, Watershed and Lake Health thenders@telus.net

John Hilbrich, GFGC Liaison john.hilbrich@gmail.com

Kristina Inrig, Alie Bay kristina.inrig@gmail.com

Samantha Perrin, Finance samantha.perrin@hotmail.com

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