Cantley 1889 Articles

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The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 25 no 6, December 2013. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

Cantley's Natural Heritage

by Margaret Phillips

The following is a summary of three of Cantley 1889's successful autumn events: an illustrated talk and 2 guided walks....

Cantley's Trees... the legacy continues...

Michael Rosen, speaker - "Cantley's Trees... the legacy continues...", at La Grange de la Gatineau, Sept. 30

Michael Rosen's passion for trees, and history, was infectious!

On September, 30, 2013, Michael (President of Tree Canada and Vice-President of Cantley 1889) cleverly presented both historical and recent slides to illustrate his talk about trees and their importance to every aspect of Cantley's life, both past and present. He told stories of Cantley's first settlers, their sawmills, the history of logging on the Gatineau River and the people and places in Cantley linked to early logging and woodworking craftsmanship. He informed us about our past and existing Cantley forests and current problems and issues related to trees. The historic log barn, La Grange de la Gatineau, created the perfect venue for the 75 people who enjoyed Michael's talk and the displays and home-made refreshments.

Michael Rosen guiding 70 participants on a "tree walk" at Nakkertok, Oct. 5

On the following Saturday, October 5th, Michael guided 70 enthusiastic walkers on a two-hour hike along the Nakkertok trail. Many varieties of trees were in full colour on this glorious sunny morning. Michael showed us everything about forest life, from how to identify trees and their health to clues about life in the forest, both past and present.

Cantley 1889 is encouraged by the high attendance, the 10 new members and the positive feedback as a result of these excellent events. Many thanks to Michael Rosen for his imaginative and informative talk and walk, to La Grange de la Gatineau for hosting the Sept. 30 talk and to Nakkertok for hosting the walk on Oct. 5.

Guided Visit to 'The Quarry' - Cantley's famous sculpted rock formations

On Saturday, October 19, over 100 people met at Hubert McClelland's pasture just off St. Andrew's Road in Cantley. Many had heard that "The Cantley Quarry" is significant and internationally famous among geologists and they came to see why.

Dr. David Sharpe, tour guide of Cantley's Quarry - "Sculpted Rock Formations", Oct. 19.

Hubert gave a brief history of his farmland and what the "quarry" once looked like (a high gravel hill and pasture for his family's cattle until 1954) as he lead us on a hike across his pasture to the summit above the quarry and a magnificent view of its unusual and amazing cliffs. Some agreed that "Cantley's Sculpted Rock Formations" is a much more appropriate name than "quarry."

Once at the site, Dr. David Sharpe, research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, was our guide. Based on his forty years of experience in conducting geological studies across Canada, he told us that this is a most significant geological site: "The sculpted rocks at Cantley provide evidence for a revolutionary idea that extensive rock erosion forms were caused by large floods during glacial times." In 1987, when 100 scientists from around the world visited this site, Dr. Sharpe was inspired to write a scientific paper on Cantley's sculpted rocks for the prestigious journal "Bulletin of the Geological Society of America" (1989) and, in 2007, a field guide for students to study the rocks here. Each year, geology professors bring their students here to study our "quarry."

Some of the 100 participants on Cantley 1889's Quarry Tour, Oct. 19. Dr. David Sharpe, tour guide of Cantley's Quarry - "Sculpted Rock Formations", Oct. 19.

As we climbed around the many unique rock formations, Dr. Sharpe pointed out clues, both large and small, which tell stories of how this area was eroded and created. He pointed out that the clay cliff bordering the sculpted rocks contains fossils and sea shells from the prehistoric Champlain Sea. He demonstrated the theory that there was tremendous turbulent, forceful flooding below the ice which sculpted these rocks into their unique features.

A sculpted cliff (Quarry Tour, Oct. 19).

Dr. Sharpe emphasized this site is not only valuable geologically, but has equally important aesthetic qualities. He invited artist Juliana McDonald, who has created paintings inspired by these rocks, to talk about the site from the artist's point of view.

Many of the attendees expressed their opinion that this site should be designated as a protected area - a geological heritage site. In the 1990's, there was a proposal made about this but, as yet, nothing protects these fragile rocks and clay banks from dumping and defacing. Several people suggested the base of the site should be cleaned of recent debris, protected, and developed as a geological park (one suggestion - with a botanical garden), a major tourist attraction.

Dr. Sharpe's fascinating and easily-understood tour of this significant place helped everyone to understand its creation and appreciate its awesome beauty! Many thanks to him for guiding us on such an important and relatively unknown part of Cantley's natural heritage.

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