Park Kiosk & Local Artist In partnership with Ontario Parks and the staff of Wabakimi Provincial Park, the Friends of Wabakimi have raised enough money to design and install a new park kiosk in Armstrong. The kiosk would include a park map/trip planning information, an overview of natural/cultural history and park regulations. The kiosk would be designed this year and be planned for installation in 2023 to help commemorate the 40th year of the creation of the park (1983-2023). Kevin Belmore, a local woodland artist, has agreed to develop culturally themed artwork to be a part of this kiosk. Kevin is an Ojibwe Artist from Gull Bay First Nation located in the Thunder Bay District in Northwestern Ontario. At the age of 16 Kevin found himself in a workshop led by the late influential Anishinaabe artist Roy Thomas, who in turn was inspired by Norval Morrisseau, one of the founding members of the Woodland School of Art. The Woodland Art form captures the spiritual tradition as it shines through in the everyday, exploring the relationships between people, animals, and plants.
Big River Partnership - Wabadowgang Noopming Forest
In partnership with Ontario Nature, a crew of five FOW paddlers paddled most of the Big River drainage across Crown Land in the Wabadowgang Noopming Forest north of Armstrong, Ontario from May 22 to May 29. This route is detailed in Volume 5 of the FOW map volumes.
A primary purpose of this trip was to survey birds in five remote squares that had not been surveyed previously. Ontario Nature provided Kristen Setala, an ornithologist, to document birds as part of the Atlas-3 bird survey, which runs from 2021 to 2025. Comparing this data to previous projects Atlas-1 (1981–1985) and Atlas-2 (2001–2005) can provide insight into which species may need more conservation attention and help identify important breeding locations. A trip log and summary for this paddle will be posted at a later date.
Bird Survey A preliminary total of 62 birds was identified. This total may increase after overnight recordings are analyzed. Three birds of Special Concern were discovered: Canada warbler, Common Nighthawk, Olive-sided Flycatcher. One eagle “stick nest” was observed on the south side of Shoal Lake.
"Two species identified, Brown creeper and American three-toed woodpecker,are indicators of healthy old-growth coniferous forests. They rely on this specific habitat for breeding. Alternatively, Canada warblers, a species at risk, rely on mature deciduous forests for nesting. Canada warblers were documented in several areas during the trip. This indicates that the Big River is a significant and diverse natural area that provides critical nesting habitat for a wide variety of birds.” Kristen Setala, Ontario Nature
This information will be incorporated into the FOW Stage 4 response to proposed Wabadowgang Noopming Forest Draft management plan.
The park staff and the Friends of Wabakimi are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Kevin Belmore to create an original image that captures the essences of the Wabakimi landscape and its wildlife. Hopefully, the FOW will be able to make this original art available to the membership.
Midwest Mountaineering Expo The FOW are planning to host a booth in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the annual Outdoor Adventure Expo on November 18-20, 2022. Mark your calendar and plan to join us. Hopefully, board members will be able to make presentations on what has been happening in Wabakimi and help you plan your trip for next summer!
Kristen Setala & Beth Rausch
Beth Rausch and Hank Ostwald the McKinley Bridge takeout.
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
New Board Member – Welcome! One of our new board members, Beth Rausch, of River Falls, Wisconsin paddled with Kristen Setala and helped to gather data for this bird survey!