Cross Country Skiing in Harper Park!

With all of the snow we have received in the last several weeks there is now a plethora of options in the Peterborough Area when it comes to cross country skiing. If you’re looking for more of a back-country experience in the city, look no further than Harper Park. On February 11th we cut a trail through the park and conditions are ripe for an excellent skiing adventure! To access the park you can leave your vehicle on the side of the road and ski in on the trail marked on this map! Be sure to share your adventure on the Harper Park facebook page or @harperparkptbo on twitter.

Happy Skiing!


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Harper Park: A Splendid Year in Review

This year has been a big one for Harper Park! There are so many wonderful events, people, and stories to share. We started the year with an incredible session hosted by the Peterborough Dialogues where the community collectively created a vision for the future of the park. So many excellent ideas and stories were shared between those who care for the park. It was clear from that point we had quite the special group of people to work with into the future. Big thanks to Kim Zippel, Peter Pula, Ben Wolfe, Cheryl Lyon, Jo Hayward-Haines, Dhoog and others for helping to organize the event. The renewed energy and spirit from that event helped spur our actions throughout the rest of the year!

Just before our summit we were pleased to find out that the wetland that dominates Harper Park was designated as provincially significant! This was all made possible by the hard working members of the Peterborough Field Naturalists. New …

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Harper Park Reveals its Autumn Colours as We Search for that 100th Species of Bird

A group of 4, Kim, Scott, Marilyn and I headed into Harper Park on a sunny, crisp Nov. 16th morning.  The eBird list for Harper Park has grown steadily as more Naturalists enjoy a walk through Harper Park identifying and reporting to eBird both resident and migrating birds.  In fact, the eBird list has reached 99 species.  We were in search of that 100th species.  Chickadees, Blue jays, Cardinal, Red-breasted nuthatches, a Golden-crowned kinglet, Downy, Hairy & Pileated woodpeckers and Crows all serenaded us that morning, but we were unsuccessful in sleuthing out that 100th species.

So, Folks!….The challenge is on for someone to report to eBird the 100th species before the end of 2017! To find the list of 99 species, Check out the website,  Scroll down to Explore Hotspots.  Type in Harper Park and ‘enter’ on Peterborough-Harper Park.  You can also print off the list of birds reported so far.

As we continued through Harper Park we …

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Holy Cross Students Profile Harper Creek Watershed

Students at Holy Cross secondary school as part of their geography class produced videos featuring the Harper Creek watershed. Students explored the many aspects of the watershed that make this place special. Featured are the fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, water, trees, people, and land that make up the watershed. They also explored many of the threats that face the waters and the local park ecosystem. The videos are an excellent introduction to the watershed and provide incredible background on the area. Watch the stories produced by students at Holy Cross and let them us know what you think! We will be posting more videos in the weeks to come, so check back soon!

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AsiOtus The Trout

Sponsored by: Dan & Nancy Mansell – AsiOtus Natural Heritage Consultants

Trout Stats: Asiotus is 165 mm (6.5 inches) in Length and currently Weighs in At 48.74 grams (1.72 ozs).

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Late Fall in Harper Park

Its cold and it’s getting dark. Daylight savings has just passed and dusk is arriving by 4:30. There is the first snow of the season in the forecast and flurries can be seen on the radar to the west. I quickly make my way into the park after leaving my vehicle on the side of the road. The public works folks have been testy with me lately about leaving my car on the side of the road, but its a public park and a public space, so they are more than welcome to leave me alone.

After passing the first thicket of White Cedars a Roughed Grouse startles me as it flutters out of the bushes next to the path. I’ve come across hundreds of Grouse in my life, but even still they always seem to elicit a shock from me. At this point in the day the casino construction is in full swing, its quite noisy to say the …

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Brook The Trout

Sponsored by: Peter Gabany, Limelight Advertising & Design

Trout Stats:  Brook is 160 mm (6.3 inches) in length and currently weighs in at 42.6 grams (1.5 ounces)

In 1972 – a long time ago my grandfather entrusted me with a then, vintage cane fly rod. This launched a fascination with fishing and in the Eastern Townships of Quebec little did I know that I would be fishing for “specs” (speckled or brook trout).

Since that time, we have had the pleasure of fishing all across the country for lake trout, grayling, cut throat, rainbows, browns and salmon. Sitting at a tying bench in the dead of winter, reminiscing with friends while tying flies, the conversation always migrates to our love of ‘brookies’.

A grass green circle with white lettering that reads Brand Limelight Design. The circle is ringed by two other circles, first white and then the same green, to finish the logo design.
Limelight Advertising & Design is in the business of developing and sharing stories for their clients.  Thus, we are so pleased that Peter Gabany consented to write his story of the connection to both brook trout and this

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Sally The Trout

Sponsored By: The Kelly/Dunlop Family

TRout Stats:  Sally is 160 mm (6.30 inches) in length & currently weighs in at 41.5 grams (1.46 ozs)

We enjoy getting out into nature year-round to experience everything it has to offer, and we always feel better for it.  There is growing scientific evidence that “contact with nature” provides tangible benefits to human health and well-being.  This is especially true in urban areas where we continue to lose our natural environments to encroaching development.

The Harper Creek Wetland and the Brook Trout population of Harper Creek are important components of Peterborough’s natural heritage.  They are rare remnants in the increasingly urbanizing landscapes of Southern Ontario.  We are pleased that we could help support this collaborative science project that will shed light on the ecology of Harper Creek.

A woman, Janet Kelly and man, Warren Dunlop, pose for a selfie in their canoe.
Janet and Warren enjoying a paddle around Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island a Kawartha Land Trust property on Pigeon Lake.

We don’t know for sure, of course, but our …

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Tessa The Trout

Sponsored By: Mark Guscott

Trout Stats: Tessa is 163 mm (6.42 inches) in length & currently weighs in at 45.3 grams (1.6 ozs).

We are Scott Blair’s parents and we could not be more proud of the work that Scott, Dr. Fox and others are doing to help preserve nature within Peterborough.  It’s fun to think that Scott knew little about fish 12 years ago, and now he is working to save the Brook Trout fish habitat.

A young man holds a new born baby. The baby is wrapped in a white blanket.
Scott Blair, lead researcher, holds his new born niece, Tessa.

We named our fish Tessa as just before Scott started tagging the trout, his big sister had her first child and named her Tessa.  We though it fitting to name our trout Tessa as it is a new life and a new beginning, maybe for the Brook Trout too.

Family Matters

The story behind fish #4, Tessa, highlights the benefits of family closeness and caring.  But unlike Scott and his niece Tessa, Tessa …

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