CPAWS Protects the Dumoine River – via Art
Many of us know of the wild Dumoine River and how important a watershed it represents to our spectacular, sprawling Pontiac region of the Outaouais. Renowned as one of Quebec’s “Triple Play” or “Three Sisters” rivers with the Noire and Coulonge, the Dumoine is ecologically and historically significant to Canada.
CPAWS (the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) is championing the Dumoine’s protection.
On Thanksgiving weekend (October 5-8), CPAWS joins with Coronation Hall of Bristol, which itself is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, to promote conservation of the Dumoine. How? With an art show born from an artists’ retreat.
Art show, October 5-8
Vernissage October 6, 2-4:00 p.m.
This summer’s CPAWS’ second Dumoine retreat saw artists such as Tina Michaud and Kate Aley joining 18 other creators. All camped alongside the river, learning about and creating art inspired by their experiences.
On October 6, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley Chapter’s Executive Director John McDonnell explained, “CPAWS will host a vernissage with some of the artists at Coronation Hall. We’ve invited local mayors, the MP and the MNA.”
I interviewed McDonnell about the Dumoine, which is renowned among biologists, naturalists, environmentalists -- anyone passionate about true wilderness. I asked him what protection CPAWS wants. He explained, “Part of the mission of CPAWS is to ensure that parks are well managed, to put nature first or to maintain and restore ecological integrity.
“We are expecting a ‘Reserve aquatique’ level of protection for the Dumoine. This is a mid-range level of protection preventing heavy industrial activities such as logging, mining or hydro-electric development. It also places limits on things like road building. No new cottage/cabin leases will be issued, but existing cabins will remain. Hunting and fishing can continue as well as other recreational activities like canoe-camping and snowmobiling. We would also like to see the province invest in the establishment of some new trails and to promote more self-propelled recreation in the region.”
Purpose of the Art Retreat
The art retreat was born from a December 2016 conversation with keen naturalist and artist Aleta Karstad. Says McDonnell, “CPAWS is always looking for new ways to connect people to nature and to the Dumoine in particular. It is a remarkable place and we understand not everyone can make it up there. Artwork allows us to inspire others to want to protect it and at the very least learn about the area and the fragility of nature. Artists are amazing ambassadors and they can inspire others in ways that we may not be.
Coronation Hall art exhibition
What’s the correlation between art and the river’s protection, I asked? McDonnell notes, “We feel strongly about displaying the art in the Pontiac, this is a Pontiac river and it can play a big role in diversifying the local economy.
“The art will be shown from October 5 to 8 at Coronation Hall, which will have food and other good things taking place, so it is a great opportunity to come out and celebrate two great Pontiac resources.”
CPAWS Soiree and Art Auction
Ottawa Art Gallery
November 14: 7:00 p.m.
This CPAWS art show is the forerunner to a fundraising event at Ottawa Art Gallery, located at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge between the Rideau Centre and the University of Ottawa.
McDonnell explains, “We have two special guests attending, James Raffan, well known adventurer and author and Chuck Commanda, grandson of William and Mary Commanda and respected canoe builder. Tickets are $50.00 and will be available at Coronation Hall or online from our website (bit.ly/2NWJDFs).”
Proceeds to protection
Furthermore, the art will be auctioned during this November 14 event at the Ottawa Art Gallery. McDonnell noted, “All of the proceeds from these events will help support our work to protect important wild spaces in our region. We are already planning the 2019 camp.” I’m looking forward to celebrating Coronation Hall’s 10th anniversary this weekend – and also to viewing the artists on Saturday October 6 from 2-4:00… Then, off to the spectacular Ottawa Art Gallery on November 14. See you there?
Katharine Fletcher is the author of several guides to the National Capital Region, and is a visual artist (facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist). Check her books at bit.ly/2xngsSs)