News & Information

News & Updates from the park

10

Sep 2019

Chew on This!!

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Kilcona Park Dog Club and the City of Winnipeg’s Naturalist are hoping that armoring the trunks of Kilcona’s trees with stucco wire will solve a gnawing problem – protecting the park’s trees from beavers and protecting the park’s beavers from themselves!

Beavers have long made Kilcona Park their home. But in recent years, Kilcona’s resident beavers may have become a little too eager and a little too obvious. The bucktoothed creatures have been gnawing healthy poplars and aspens around the south ponds into pencil-shaped stumps.

During the spring and summer, beavers feed on non-woody plants like cattail shoots that grow along the margins of Kilcona’s waterways. The menu switches to shrubs and trees in the autumn as the animals prepare for winter.

After the ponds freeze, beavers feed on the bark of branches and twigs they’ve cached underwater near their lodges.

Their preferred tree species are alder, aspen, birch, cottonwood, poplar and willow. If the supply of their preferred trees is low, they will harvest oaks and some maples. Conifers such as spruce, pines, and hemlocks are their least favorite food.

Until now, the City’s solution to problem beavers has been to trap or shoot them. But howls of protest from Kilcona animal lovers persuaded KPDC’s board to ask the City to consider other options.

This spring KPDC member Ed Skomro noticed a number of nibbled cottonwood stumps along the ponds and decided to do something about it. He took photos and contacted KPDC’s board.

Fresh teeth marks – Photo credit: Ed Skomro

The City Naturalist responded immediately. Ten of the most vulnerable trees with stucco wire.

In June, Kilcona Park Dog Club directors Donna Henry and Christina Montsion met with Naturalist, Kristin Tuchscherer and Kilcona Park Technician, Jessica Mutimer to explore solutions that would protect the trees without sealing their furry foes’ fate.

The solution – banding more trees with stucco wire. This summer, under a partnership between the City of Winnipeg and the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg – Clean Machine, students installed wire cages on over 200 trees around the ponds, burning through sixteen 50-foot rolls of wire.

 

 

The City provided funding to hire the four-member team.

Hats off to tree banding stewards – Brett, Josh, Spencer and Skylar

The City  also reviewed its beaver management practices. As an alternative to trapping or shooting animals that fell trees and/or cause overland flooding by damming water bodies, they will rely more on natural solutions that allow trees and beavers to coexist. A promising alternative is to encourage the growth of aspens along waterways. Aspens occur naturally along Kilcona’s South Canal and Forest Trail. The species has adapted to beaver damage by suckering and re-growing quickly.

As Winnipeg faces the imminent loss of much of its urban forest to Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer, KPDC’s board has also asked the City to do more to enhance and protect Kilcona’s canopy by planting more trees, especially in the off-leash play area and at the entrance to the on-leash area where the new drinking fountain is being installed. The board requested beaver-resistant conifers to break the wind in winter, and deciduous trees for shade on hot summer days. The request is being considered.

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17

Jun 2019

A Tale of BFF’s and a Winning Dog Fest Raffle Ticket!!

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Donna Turner (left) and Shannon Druwe with Kismet and Tazer

There is nothing better than a best friend, unless it is a best friend with chocolate (or a winning raffle ticket)!

The winner of Winnipeg Dog Fest’s 50/50 raffle says she owes her jackpot – not to luck – but to a last-minute phone call from her best friend encouraging her to buy a ticket.

Long-time KPDC member, Donna Turner couldn’t take Tazer and Kismet to Dog Fest so her best friend, Shannon Druwe picked up the fur kids and drove them to the party. At the park, Shannon took a moment to call Donna with the news that there was a 50/50 raffle and ask if she wanted to buy tickets.

Donna didn’t hesitate.  A major supporter of KPDC’s ‘Make a Splash’ clean water campaign, she asked Shannon to buy $10 worth of tickets to support the project.

When we informed Donna she had the winning ticket and she’d just won $245, she was more than surprised..she was momentarily speechless. “I am shocked…I never win anything. Shannon’s a wonderful friend and I’ll be giving her half the money.”

Here’s to friendship and our wonderful besties!

Congratulations ladies!!

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02

Jun 2019

KPDC Volunteers Set A Record!

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Trail stewards heading in for Boston Pizza

It was nothing short of an outstanding effort! On Saturday Kilcona Park Dog Club trail steward volunteers – armed with wheelbarrows, wagons, shovels, rakes and 5-gallon pails – finished chipping the Hill Trail, doing it in record time and breaking all records for the length of trail that was repaired!!

Trail steward Sarah-Jane Marquez-Hicks hauling chips

Each year, trail stewards manage to rehabilitate about 400-metres of Kilcona’s trail network. But on Saturday, they widened and levelled over a KILOMETER!! of low-lying, uneven sections of the Hill Trail that turn into dog-magnet mud holes whenever it rains!

In sharp contrast to the nasty weather at May’s trail chipping event, volunteers were treated to a warm, sunny day with just enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. And at the end of the work bee, volunteers chowed down on Boston Pizza, courtesy of North Kildonan Councillor Jeff Browaty. Thanks Jeff!

A big shout out to Kilcona Park staff for breaking up the wood chip piles with a bobcat.  It really made a difference! It helped the chips dry out quickly and made hauling, shoveling and raking them much easier and that made the work go much faster.

Over 50 volunteers participated in this spring’s trail chipping work bees.  Thanks everyone! The carpet of wood chips makes the trails way more user-friendly and easier for people to navigate.

Emma Sadonick-Carriere with her daughter, KPDC’s youngest trail steward!

A special thanks to Sonny Restiaux, Chantal Demare, Larry Wozney and Jeff Henry for your efforts in supporting the trail steward volunteers!

Photos of the event are posted on KPDC’s Facebook page.

The winners of the June 1 “Eager Beaver Trail Chippers” draw are:

  • Gregg Iannaccone – Sprockett’s Doggy Day Camp gift certificate

  • Sarah-Jane Marquez-Hicks – Birchwood Ford golf umbrella and Pet Planet goody bag

  • Dave Barber – Birchwood Ford baseball cap, sunglasses, coasters and Pet Planet goody bag

  • Tony Kennett – Birchwood Ford baseball cap, coasters and Pet Planet goody bag

  • Nicole Doherty – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Emma Sadonick-Carriere – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Christine Quinlan – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Teresa Wiebe – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Diana McEachern – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Linda Stephen – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Jarrod Mikolajczyk – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Eric Friesen – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Kathy Foley – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Kristeen Carriere – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • Teresa Zadravec – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

  • JP Chomichuk – Pet Valu (Kildonan Green) gift certificate – free dog wash

Winner of ‘Little Beaver Trail Chipper’ draw

  • Benson Wonick – Cineplex Theatre package

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23

May 2019

Kilcona Park Dog Club Receives Funding for Dog Rinse Station

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KPDC NEWS RELEASE

May 23, 2019

Kilcona Park will soon have its own dog rinse station. And a round of ap-paws goes out City Councillors Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Jason Scchreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) and Shawn Nason (Transcona) for helping to make the drive home with muddy dogs a thing of the past!!

This week the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee approved KPDC’s application for an $8000 Land Dedication Reserve Fund grant, matching funds that the club has already raised.

The seasonally-operated rinse station, equipped with an on-demand water heater, will be fully-fenced and double-gated. Work on the project is expected to begin this summer.

For information contact:

Kilcona Park Dog Club Inc. Board of Directors

president@kpdc.ca

204-947-5315

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16

May 2019

KILCONA’S ENDANGERED TREES

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Our hats are off to KPDC member and former Director, Ed Skomro!!

Ed loves Kilcona Park. He appreciates its rustic, rural quality. He often walks his dog in the on-leash area, checking the ponds for resident and migrating waterfowl, listening to songbirds, and keeping an eye open for deer, hare, beaver, muskrat, and other wildlife. Ed loves Kilcona’s aspen forest and its big old cottonwood trees. So, when he noticed that a resident beaver was felling cottonwoods again, he decided to do something. He’d seen this happen before and he knew he had to act quickly to prevent the loss of any more trees.

Ed took photos of the damage and contacted Kilcona Park Dog Club.

KPDC contacted the Park Superintendent and the City Naturalist. For years, the City’s solution to problem beavers has been to trap or shoot them. But howls of protest from Kilcona animal lovers has the club and the City exploring other options.

In the past week the City responded to Ed’s alert, banding ten of the most vulnerable trees with stucco wire. KPDC and the City plan to protect many other trees the same way. And while we’ve solved the problem in the short-term, Ed’s action got us thinking about the urgent need for Kilcona’s dog park community to protect our own share of Winnipeg’s endangered forest canopy.

Winnipeggers have never been more aware of the extent to which our urban forest is threatened. Almost a quarter of a million American elms, the largest population in North America, is at risk of being completely destroyed. The invasive emerald ash borer has devastated urban tree canopies wherever it has touched down. In Winnipeg, the borer and cottony ash psyllid (jumping tree lice) threaten to wipe out 350,000 green ash in the next decade, including those at Kilcona.

Imagine what our beautiful city will look like with a half million fewer trees!!

Ash canopy in 2006 and 2009 before and after emerald ash borer

But Ed reminds us that insects and beavers are not the only threat to Kilcona’s trees. As uncomfortable as it is to think about, our beloved fur children kill trees by peeing on them. In high-use dog parks like Kilcona, trees are really in trouble.  Over the past decade, most of the trees around the parking lot have died a slow death from dog urine poisoning.

Trees in Kilcona’s parking lot and play area – 2007

Dog urine is highly acidic. When dogs pee on trees, two things happen. Their urine seeps into the soil and causes severe damage to the roots. The acid in the urine eats through the bark – the tree’s protective barrier – into the cambium and wood. Repeated hits of urine create an “open wound” on the base on the tree which never has a chance to heal. With its defense system destroyed, the tree becomes susceptible to diseases, pests, dehydration and nutrient loss, and succumbs to a premature death.

Look around the base of Kilcona’s trees. Most of the damage is in the lower two feet of the trunk. Most trees are bleached white from urine. Many have deep fissures in their bark and cracks on the trunk. And on some, the bark has peeled off just above the ground.

Of course we’re not telling you to stop your dog from peeing at the park 😊. But you can do something to help. It’s simple! Redirect your dog whenever you see it heading for a tree.

KPDC will continue to explore other options to protect trees from dog urine poisoning.

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Walden Way