Field naturalists pleased with ‘bog walk’

FORT FRANCES—The outgoing president of the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists said she’s pleased with the success of the Cranberry Peatlands Interpretive Trail in Alberton since its official opening back in July.
“The biggest thing this year was the bog opening,” Henriette Verhoef said in her report at the group’s annual general meeting Monday night in Fort Frances.
“And I’m happy to say there will be another 100 feet of boardwalk done this fall, which take the walk out to the bog proper,” she added.
Shortly after completing its commitments to the first phase of the project, the RRVFN was approved for a $4,000 grant from the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Community Fish and Wildlife Involvement Program.
It was noted the work to install the new cedar boardwalk will be contracted out, but that members will volunteer their time to take the boards out to the construction site.
Several members also have been spending some of their time at the trail.
“On Saturday we saw some pitcher plants,” enthused Ilka Milne, which she indicated is significant because they only grow in undisturbed bogs.
“They’re off the beaten path,” she added.
Verhoef noted pamphlets are available on-site, as well as a comment book.
“People are starting to record what they’ve seen in the book,” she remarked, adding she intends to make a copy of the comments periodically in case the book ever goes missing.
“It just goes to show people have been out there,” Verhoef enthused.
Another indication people are checking out the trail was found on—a website dedicated to worldwide treasure hunts using GPS.
“I thought we could bring some more attention to the trail by placing one at the bog walk, but I discovered there is already one there that was placed before construction,” Verhoef noted.
The cache was placed earlier this year and already more than 30 people have logged their attempts to locate the hidden container.
Verhoef suggested the group try to find it, too.
In related news, the RRVFN also made some changes Monday night to the way it functions.
For instance, members decided to down-size their executive from five members to three—president, secretary, and treasurer.
Although the change in the constitution won’t be effective until next year, the position of vice-president was left vacant and the newsletter editor no longer will be an executive position.
Milne was acclaimed as the new president, with Nell Laur as the treasurer and Jan Vassbotn the secretary.
The RRVFN also decided to do away with its planning and events committees and instead to take care of that business as a group.
Several ideas for guest speakers and events were offered, such as a visit to trails at Voyageurs National Park, the annual Christmas Bird Count, and a shared dragonfly event with the local “Get Outdoors” club.
“We should have more outdoor activities,” said Milne, suggesting the group continue to meet each month, but not necessarily for a business meeting.
“Fewer business meetings would be nice,” agreed Verhoef.
“Then let’s just get outside,” stressed Milne as the new president.
(Fort Frances Times)