Paddles & Trails | Spring 2018
News from the Friends of Killarney Park

Farewell and welcome!

At the end of March we said farewell but not goodbye to our longtime Friend and Executive Director, Kris Puhvel. Kris has moved on to a new opportunity as the Executive Director of Ontario's Lake Country, a destination marketing non-profit organization based in Orillia. Kris has been with the Friends for the past 17 years, as Executive Director since 2008 and an employee since 2001, and will be hugely missed by us all. His contributions to the Friends were tremendous and his list of accomplishments is endless. Although he has moved down the road, we look forward to seeing Kris in the Park as he continues to contribute to the Friends. 
Former Executive Director Kris Puhvel (left) and current Executive Director Dylan Hyatt (right)
We are happy to welcome our new Executive Director Dylan Hyatt. Dylan has been coming to Killarney since age 10 and has worked under the leadership and direction of Kris since 2011, most recently as the Outpost Team Leader. He has the necessary skills and experience and we are confident that Dylan will continue the excellent work that Kris has demonstrated over the years to ensure the organization's success going forward.

Below is a message from Dylan as he begins this new journey:
The moment I knew Killarney was meant to be called home for me was at the age of 10. I still remember turning down the long winding Highway 637 for the first time and feeling that instant connection with the granite rocks and pine forests that guided my family on our route. Being so young at the time, the unexpected 45-minute drive from the Highway 69 turnoff to the George Lake Gatehouse felt like an absolute eternity but after making the sharp turn near Bell Lake Road and seeing the towering summit of Silver Peak radiating in the sunlight, I was officially hooked. To this day, when I make that same turn the familiar transcendent view still sends an uplifting feeling throughout my body. 

For the next six years, Killarney became a staple in our list of camping locations, spending at least two weeks in the Park’s backcountry each summer. This continued until the summer of 2011 when I began working as a Friends of Killarney Park Outpost Team Member. I spent the next three years becoming familiar with the organization and the Park I loved so much. I even took an exhilarating four-day solo trip on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail which I will always attribute to my intense appreciation and admiration of the Killarney landscape and its rich history. I eventually moved into the position of Outpost Team Leader where I introduced an ambitious retail strategy which included expanding our inventory, creating a new layout of the Outpost Store and growing our online presence. 

And now the dreams of my youth have become a reality as I've taken on the role as Executive Director following the departure of my predecessor Kris Puhvel. I would like to formally thank Kris for all his mentorship and encouragement over the past eight years of this wonderful journey. He has left an exceptionally unforgettable legacy behind. Moving forward, I will continue to strive to achieve new goals that sustain the core values of this extraordinary organization, while building on all the great work that has already been done. I look forward to seeing you all in the Park over the coming months and thank you for your ongoing support of the Friends of Killarney Park.

Dylan Hyatt
Executive Director, Friends of Killarney Park

SAVE THE DATE! Upcoming events & programs 

Summer Concert Series
Ian Reid | July 13, 2018
Andy Lowe | August 12, 2018

Artist in Residence Program
Danielle Gardner | July 23-27, 2018
Christy A. Smith | October 8-12, 2018

Emerging Artist Mentorship Program
October 2018

Art Show & Sale
July 28-29, 2018 | Killarney Community Centre

Please visit our website and social media for more events as they are confirmed. 
Springing into the camping season

Our annual Spring Clean-up Weekend was postponed this year due to winter conditions in the Park but that didn't stop us from doing our annual work. On May 25 to 27, over 50 volunteers helped to clean and rehabilitate all the campsites on George Lake, build a deck for the new observatory scope and collect garbage along Chikanishing Creek. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers!
Calling all volunteers!

Are you interested in using your energy and passion to contribute to the important work of the Friends of Killarney Park? We are looking for volunteers to help out at our annual Art Show & Sale. Visit our website for more details. 

Ontario Parks updates

As part of its 125th anniversary, Ontario Parks is asking Ontarians to help fund one of five legacy projects across the province. Killarney Provincial Park’s legacy project is to upgrade the “The Crack” hiking trail. This is a short, day-use portion of the multi-day (80 km) La Cloche Silhouette Trail along Killarney’s white quartzite ridges. This project will help restore and reroute the trail to improve this bucket list hiking experience. To learn more, visit the Ontario Parks website.

We're also excited to share that Killarney Provincial Park is the first Ontario Park to be recognized as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. This means it has been designated as a remote dark site for observing the pristine sky. To learn more, visit the RASC website. 

Looking back on the annual Winter Weekend

Close to 100 people joined us for the 13th annual Winter Weekend on February 17 and 18. Participants took part in stargazing, a BBQ lunch and guided snowshoe hikes. This year our program also featured plein air painting and kids activities as well as a special presentation by modern day voyageur Mike Ranta. Thanks to everyone who attended and to our volunteers who helped make the weekend a huge success.

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