The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s pre-eminent, national community-based voice for public wilderness protection. The Ottawa Valley Chapter of CPAWS (CPAWS-OV) works to protect public lands in the National Capital Region and surrounding areas. Established in 1969 when a group of concerned citizens learned about major development plans for Gatineau Park, the Chapter has since become involved in many issues of wilderness protection in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.
CPAWS Ottawa Valley is your voice for wilderness in eastern Ontario and western Quebec! We seek consensus and work collaboratively with Indigenous governments, Crown governments, industry, the tourism sector and communities across the region to promote the conservation and sound management of our rich natural resources and public lands.
Our priorities are:
The establishment of new parks and other types of protected areas, supporting national and provincial commitments to set aside more areas for conservation,
To ensure that current protected areas are managed first and foremost to ensure that nature is protected and supported (ecological integrity),
To identify, characterise and ultimately protect important natural linkages that exist between parks and protected areas to support the continued movement of species, both as part of normal lifecycles, but also in response to climate change,
To connect Canadians, in particular, children and youth to nature through education and stewardship programs designed to build and foster a lifelong appreciation for the value of nature.
Our recent successes include:
-Securing a reduction of 22% to the area of Algonquin Provincial Park open to industrial logging,
-Securing a protection zone almost equal to the size of Algonquin Park, in the counties surrounding the park, where the hunting and trapping of wolves is prohibited,
-Securing interim protection for almost 1800 square kilometers of the Dumoine River watershed – the last un-dammed Quebec tributary to the Ottawa River and an area known for its abundant wildlife, mature forests and unparalleled recreational opportunities,
-Supporting the establishment of many smaller interim protected areas in western Quebec, including the Mont O’Brien, Domaine de la Vérendrye, Maganassippi and Mont-Sainte-Marie interim Biodiversity Reserves,
-Launching an ambitious campaign to secure protection for parts of the Noire and Coulonge River watersheds in western Quebec, and,
-Supporting the publication of Wildlife on Roads, a guide to road ecology data collection for citizen scientists.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Ottawa Valley Chapter (CPAWS-OV) works to protect public lands in the Ottawa River watershed and adjoining parts of eastern Ontario and western Quebec – an area twice the size of the province of New Brunswick!
This diverse region, at the confluence of the mixed forests of the south and the boreal forest of the north is home to an amazing array of plant and animal species. Some 400 animal species call this region home, including iconic wildlife species like the moose, black bear and the elusive Algonquin wolf. The region is home to rare and endangered birds like the Cerulean warbler and delicate plants like American ginseng. Great forests, large lakes and wild rivers characterize our region offering multiple conservation opportunities.
The Ottawa River (called “Kitchissippi” by the Algonquin people to mean “Great River”) is 1,271 km long and was first navigated and settled by the Huron, Algonquin, Iroquois and Outaouais people. It is the second largest in eastern Canada (with most of it located within the Canadian shield) and its volume of water is equivalent to the volume of water in all of western Europe. The source of the watershed comes from Lac des Outaouais (Québec) located 250 km north of Ottawa. Some of the major parks within the watershed include Algonquin Provincial Park, Gatineau Park, Parc national d’Opémican, Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, Fitzroy Provincial Park, Silver Lake Provincial Park, Parc national de Plaisance, and Bon Echo Provincial Park.
Its terrestrial ecozones are Boreal Shields and Mixedwood Plains. The River Valley region, while being one of the most threatened in Canada, hosts the most biologically diverse ecosystems in Québec. It is home to at least 24 provincially or nationally imperilled species such as Least Bittern, Spotted Turtle and American Ginseng. Its microclimate, sand and limestone substrate sustain rich wetland and forest habitats that support a diversity of flora and fauna (Source: Ottawa Riverkeeper).
Other species include the Great Blue Heron (seen all over the Ottawa River), Lake Sturgeon (have been important to humans in Ontario for thousands of years), Freshwater Mussels (there are more species of mussels in the Ottawa River than in all the lakes and rivers in Europe), moose, and beavers.
The white trillium, which can be found throughout the valley, is Ontario’s official floral emblem. White pine, Ontario’s provincial tree, was the most commercially important tree at the height of the logging industry in the 19 th century. Québec’s provincial tree the yellow birch grows well in our southern forests and we frequently encounter its provincial flower, the blue flag iris along the region’s many waterways.
Areas of particular interest for CPAWS-OV in terms of new parks and protected areas are the Madawaska Highlands and Temagami regions of Ontario and the Pontiac and Témiscamigue regions of Québec.
CPAWS Ottawa Valley envisages a healthy ecosphere where people experience and respect natural ecosystems. We will achieve this by:
protecting Canada’s wild ecosystems in parks, wilderness and similar natural areas, preserving the full diversity of habitats and their species;
promoting awareness and understanding of ecological principles and the inherent values of wilderness through education, appreciation and experience;
encouraging individual action to accomplish these goals;
working co-operatively with government, First Nations, business, other organizations and individuals in a consensus-seeking manner, wherever possible.
CPAWS Ottawa Valley believes that by ensuring the health of the parts, we ensure the health of the whole, which is our health too.
Canada, home to one-quarter of the world’s remaining wilderness forests, stands out as a beacon of hope for conservation in a time of enormous change. The next 10 years are a critical time for us to act, before industrial development forecloses the chance to protect some of the last great forests and fresh water and marine ecosystems on earth. We have the amazing opportunity to protect at least 50% or more of our remaining wilderness, including many critical areas here in the Ottawa Valley.
CPAWS’ vision is that Canada will lead by example through conserving large landscapes and waterscapes within our own borders and oceans. Our vision is that Canada will maintain pristine lakes, vast caribou herds and abundant wild salmon; that we will share the land with magnificent predators like grizzly bears and wolves; that we will nourish the land ethic of Canadian cultures; and that we will continue to enjoy the beauty of nearby natural landscapes in our daily lives.
We understand reconciliation is about balance and healing between Indigenous and non-
Indigenous Peoples, including non-profit organizations working to protect lands and waters across Canada. We acknowledge we work on the Anishinabe (Algonquin) and Kanienʼkehá:ka (Mohawk) nations’ territories.
CPAWS-OV recognizes that upholding the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion of Indigenous voices and perspectives is an ongoing process that requires us to be actively listening, accountable, and true partners to Indigenous Peoples.
Supporting Indigenous-led conservation is an essential part of reconciliation. Indigenous communities are at the forefront of conservation efforts across Canada and the Ottawa Valley, and have stewarded their territories since time immemorial.
We acknowledge our chapter has a responsibility to support Indigenous Peoples who wish to
safeguard the land, water, and air for future generations. Respecting the sovereignty and leadership of Indigenous nations and supporting Indigenous-led conservation will ensure a future for nature.
Many Indigenous communities are steadily moving Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Indigenous Guardian programs forward, and we support Indigenous nations and their leadership to identify, create, and manage protected areas and ecosystems.
John McDonnell, Executive Director – Ottawa Valley Chapter
Born and raised in rural west Quebec, John joined CPAWS Ottawa Valley as Executive Director in the spring of 2007. He holds a degree in forestry as well as in Canadian History and in political science from the University of Ottawa. He has a passion for the outdoors, having visited many of our national and provincial parks. In his spare time, he is restoring an 1840′s vintage log cabin located in the forests of his farm and he is developing a network of hiking and snowshoe trails on his property. Before joining CPAWS Ottawa Valley, John was Director of the Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve, a rare old-growth forest north of Buckingham, in the municipality of Mayo, Quebec. He serves on the board of several local organizations and has a passion for connecting people to nature.
You can contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina Howe, Donor Development Coordinator
Sabrina grew up in Toronto and moved to the Outaouais region to pursue her Bachelor of Science degree at Carleton University. She followed this up with a diploma in Fundraising Management from Algonquin College. Over her 20+ year career she has worked for numerous non-profits including CNIB Eastern Ontario, The Dave Smith Youth Treatment Center, the University of Ottawa and United Way Ottawa. She joined the CPAWS-OV team first as a volunteer in 2017 and then as staff in 2018.
A former varsity swimmer, she discovered the Gatineau Park training for triathlons in the 80s and is now happily raising her family in Chelsea. She is thrilled to be helping to protect the amazing wild spaces where she feels happiest for others and future generations to enjoy.
You can contact Sabrina at email@example.com
Geneviève Le Blanc, Conservation Director
Raised in St-Lazare (QC), Genevieve moved to Gatineau in 2012 to complete her studies at the University of Ottawa. First drawn to genetics and evolution, she became interested in conservation issues and obtained an MSc in environmental sustainability. Through this degree, she collaborated with the CPAWS national office to investigate the barriers to up-scaling protected areas in Canada. Furthermore, she researched the legalisation of Gatineau Park, learning about more about CPAWS-OV. Prior to her current position, she was an event project manager for Enviro Educ-Action. She particularly enjoys hiking, kayaking, cycling and camping.
You can contact Genevieve at firstname.lastname@example.org
Johanna, is our communications coordinator who is currently completing her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies Minor in Communications and Minor in Sociology. She is working to specialise herself in Public relations, Design(UX/UI) and Media, Marketing, Internal&External Communications/International Communications,Business Management, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Tourism and Hospitality, and Human relations/resources. Her goal at CPAWS-OV is to gain extensive knowledge in these interdisciplinary practices of conservation to prepare for my future endeavors as well as inspire others who wish to do the same. She holds a Public relations Diploma and a Design studies Certificate which I attained from Algonquin College.
In her various past work experiences, she has had the opportunity to be exposed to various organizations in the Greater Ottawa Metropolitan area, Frontenac Arch region and gained interest in the Interdisciplinary industries pertaining but not limited to Communications, Diversity and Inclusion, Business Management/Entrepreneurship, Sociology, Nuclear and Mining, International relations/Business, Media and Design, NGO and Health Care.
You can contact Johanna at email@example.com
|Pascal Rousseau, Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program Coordinator
Pascal holds a BSc in Geography, Analysis and Territorial Planning from the Université du Québec à Montréal and is a MA candidate whose thesis focuses on the relationship between territorial identities and the evolution of Canada’s National Park system.
As a photographer, nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, Pascal spent several years travelling through the natural landscapes of Asia, Europe and South America, while returning home convinced that any undertaking to conserve natural environments must first and foremost involve scientific dissemination and cooperation between all parties concerned. He sees the educational programs implemented by CPAWS-OV as ideal playgrounds for developing innovative methods to raise environmental awareness and engage in meaningful dialogue with the broader public about conservation issues in the Greater Ottawa Valley.
You can contact Pascal at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Julia Clarke, Noire and Coulonge River Watersheds Project Coordinator
Julia completed her undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Calgary and just completed her master’s degree at Carleton University in biology. She has always been passionate about nature and all living things and dreamed of working to protect our beautiful natural places and spaces. When an opening at CPAWS-OV opened up, Julia jumped at the opportunity and has now been working with us since September 2022. In her free time Julia loves hiking and cross country skiing in the Gatineau hills and spending time with her family.
You can contact Julia at email@example.com
|Sasha Huybregts, Madawaska Highlands Project Coordinator
Sasha grew up in Ottawa and recently moved back to the region after completing her Bachelor of Environmental Sciences from the University of Guelph. She is very passionate about ecology and conservation and is excited to be working on creating protected areas in the Madawaska Highlands. Sasha enjoys hiking, camping, or sitting down with a good book in her spare time.
You can contact Sasha at firstname.lastname@example.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Paul Lemoine, Chapter President
Paul was raised in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. He learned how to ski, skate, cycle and play hockey growing up in this beautiful region of Quebec. He also saw the terrible effects industrial pollution has on the region’s rivers, lakes and air quality.
Paul was educated in political science and public administration at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. He is currently retired after 33 years with the public service. For most of his career, he worked for the Library of Parliament’s Information and Research Service. Through numerous assignments, he had an inside look at the workings of Canada’s parliamentary system. He also became keenly aware of the importance of legal protection for Canada’s parks and natural environment.
Paul joined CPAWS OV as a volunteer in 2013. His main interest was to gain legal status and protection for Gatineau Park. He is also interested in the Algonquin to Adirondacks Program that is trying to ensure connectivity and restore biodiversity in a large area between northern New York State and eastern Ontario from Algonquin Park to the Adirondack Mountains. He was elected to the CPAWS OV Board in 2014 and, as a result, has been able to take a more active role in the chapter’s campaigns and governance.
When not at his home in Gatineau, Paul can be found at his farm close to the extreme north western boundary of Gatineau Park. With his wife Sylvie, he enjoys gardening, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and recently, snowshoeing.
|Monique Boivin, Vice President
Je suis d’abord et avant tout ornithologue amateur! Mon père m’a offert mes premières jumelles alors que j’avais 12 ans. Je pratique le loisir ornithologique dans mes moments perdus et depuis ma retraite, de façon plus intense. C’est aussi mon père qui m’a fait découvrir la pêche, le camping, la raquette, la randonnée. Je m’imaginais être la jeune autochtone Kateri Tekakwitha alors que je le suivais sur les pistes de randonnée du Parc Algonquin ou sur les terres sauvages de mes oncles dans le comté de Renfrew.
So what is a birder doing at CPAWS? You may recall the Canary in the coal mine image. Birds were then used to alert miners of the presence of toxic gases. Today, birds are again delivering an alarming message. If you have seen the 2017 documentary The Messenger, you know that the decline in bird populations is indeed alarming and often attributable to loss of habitat. CPAWS has been and will continue to be a very valuable resource in protecting habitats for birds and other species be they threatened or thriving.
J’ai exploré plusieurs parcs au fil des ans, notamment les parcs nationaux Terra-Nova, Pointe-Pelée et Mont-Revelstoke. Que ce soit le canot-camping dans le Parc provincial Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater ou la randonnée sur l’Île d’Anticosti, notre réseau de parcs recèle de nombreuses occasions de se ressourcer dans des endroits sauvages ou naturels. Il faut les protéger jalousement! Mais il y a aussi des joyaux inconnus comme le Refuge du Mont O’Brien en Outaouais qui mérite peut-être une attention particulière.
CPAWS has been a part of my cultural landscape for a number of years and I feel privileged to be offered an opportunity to contribute actively to its mandate.
|Jane Maxwell, Secretary
Jane spent much of her career life in Toronto, working in the field of international development with a number of NGOs for over 25 years. She moved into the field of fundraising in her later career, continuing her work in the field of international development and social justice. In 2005 she moved to Ottawa for work and has been enjoying the National Capital and Gatineau Park ever since. She is now retired and is an active volunteer with a number of Not For Profits.
Jane is an outdoors person, a keen paddler, cyclist, hiker and cross country skier. Gatineau Park is her ‘second home’ and she would dearly love to help CPAWS-OV achieve its goal of legislated protection for the Park. She has visited many of Canada’s national and provincial parks over her lifetime and really values CPAWS’s campaigns to protect and preserve Canada’s natural spaces and wildlands. Jane joined the CPAWS OV board in 2016 and hopes to contribute her fundraising knowledge and experience to CPAWS OV’s special event planning and public engagement activities.
|Varvara Lobonova, Treasurer
|Born and raised in Ottawa Paul joined CPAWS Ottawa Valley in the Spring of 2022. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Carleton. He loves the outdoors and knows the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park extensively. His favorite trails are Mer Bleue and Luskville Falls. Paul is a public servant and has experience working for a Member of Parliament.