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About Lake Clear- in the Ottawa Valley
6000 acre, eight-kilometre long Lake Clear is one of the largest deep water lakes in Renfrew County. Lake Clear exits through Little Lake Clear to Hurds Creek and flows about 13 kilometres to the Bonnechere River at Eganville.
Four kilometres down the creek is a Renfrew Power Generation Incorporated control dam, built in 1932.Renfrew Power planned to establish a vertical storage capacity of seven feet, but the resistance of cottage owners resultedin a compromise height of 5.4 feet.
In 1968 the stretch between Lake Clear and Little Lake Clear was dredged and cleared to a width of 30 feet and a depth of five feet to improve flow from the lake. The original intent was to repeat the dredging on a regular basis, but this proved to be economically unsound.
The forces of nature have prevailed, restoring the passage
to essentially its original condition. When the wooden trestle bridge at Manning Road was replaced by two steel culverts,industrious beavers seized the opportunity to frustrate clearance of their dams by building inside the culverts. A similar situation exists at Wittke Road.
The net result in summer is often barely enough flow to trickle over the ageing hydro dam. In effect, the creek - not the dam - controls the out-flow.
Located in the Sebastopol Ward in The Township of Bonnechere Valley- the area is located in the heart of Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada.
Outdoor enthusiasts are attracted by the wealth of natural beauty and accessible wilderness. Wild game sportsmen come for quality white-tail deer hunting and excellent fishing... which is why the Native Hurons, Algonquins, Iroquois and Outaouais (the first to navigate the Ottawa River and settle in the area) were attracted to the locale.
By 1867, when Canada became a nation,the Canadian government had built the Ottawa and Opeongo Settlement Road, known locally as the Opeongo Line, to attract German, Irish and Polish immigrants to the
hinterland. These hardy pioneers harvested much of the Ottawa Valley’s white pine, struggling to establish a new life here while
shipping square timber overseas to help rebuild Europe after the
This was the dawn of the industrial era. John Cockburn designed the first pointer boat, water-powered gristmills were built at each chute
along the Bonnechere River, and Pembroke was the first Canadian community to be lit by commercial streetlights. The Ottawa Valley had come of age.
Coursing northwest from Renfrew to Barry’s Bay, the Opeongo Line is your route to time-travel into the past and experience Renfrew County much like the original Europeans.
This, truly, is a beautiful, mountainous region with many wilderness and Crown land areas, hardwood forests, and hundreds of lakes. Following the northern edge of the Madawaska Highlands is the Opeongo Line. This early settlement line is as well known for the abundance of log homesteads and outbuilding that are still in use today. Today the Opeongo Line is a favorite scenic area, particularly in the fall when the trees are changing colours.
At 1830 feet high, nearby Foymount is at the highest populated point in Ontario. At the height of the cold war and before the days of spy-in-the-sky satellites, Canada, assisted by the U.S.A., operated three lines of radar stations to detect bomber attacks approaching over the Arctic from the U.S.S.R. The DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line was the farthest north, the Pine Tree Line was the most southerly, and the Mid-Canada Line was in between.
One of the Pinetree Line stations was Foymount, an RCAF base with about 400 personnel, which operated from 1952 until 1974.
Its peaceful and scenic rolling hills overlook Lake Clear. Foymount is an excellent and rewarding get-away into the wilderness and fresh air. The combination of high altitude and extremely dark skies make this an ultimate weekend outing.
Located on the edge of the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben. The Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben is a rift valley, originally perhaps a kilometer deep, that formed during the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Rodina. It has subsequently been subjected to more than 500 million years of erosion. Now the elevation difference between the floor of the graben (the surface of Lake Clear, let's say) and the highest point at Foymount is a little less than 1000', but it remains an impressive geological feature. The graben, tens of kilometers wide, is bordered by an escarpment east of the Ottawa River and on the west by the "Opeongo Mountains".
A large part of the Ottawa Valley is underlaid by gneisses, with large bodies of granite, syenite and other igneous rocks. The age of some of the Precambrian rocks is about one billion years; some rocks of the Shield north of the Ottawa River basin have been dated at about two and a half billion years.
Fossils may be seen in the limestones in several places in the Valley, including the Eganville area and the amazing Bonnechere Caves at the Fourth Chute on the Bonnechere River.
Over the centuries, the nearby Bonnechere River (often pronounced locally as the bone-chur) has been a conduit for transportation, as an access route to the pineries, for its square timber drives and later log drives.
It spawned sawmills and grist mills, carding mills, and was a powerhouse of energy for mill wheels as well as hydro generators.It became a route along which settlements grew, and farmlands extended from its banks and tributary streams, a source of both food and recreation for residents and travellers. The productive soils and enticing landscape of the Bonnechere Valley watershed (the area of land which feeds the river) were among the first logged, settled and farmed in Renfrew County.
The Bonnechere is now a popular place for white-water rafting.
Three of Lake Clear's 12 islands were the subject of a flora and fauna survey by naturalist Chris Michener in 2000. A shallow lagoon
offering an unspoiled habitat for many plant and animal species is among the "intriguing natural features" he identified on Green Island
where the wetlands contain swamp loosestrife and a very poisonous plant, bulb-bearing water hemlock.
Eighty-six plant varieties were identified including the rare marsh bedstraw, upland white aster, false nettle, and northern willow-herb.
In one short visit he identified 28 different bird species. Biologist Dan Brunton was surprised to find the rare rocky mountain woodsia thriving on the island. It has been found elsewhere in Ontario, but only in scattered locations in Algonquin Park, on cliffs along the shores of Lake Superior, and in the extreme northwest of the province.
Herring gulls were identified on the westerly Twin Island and return each year. Visitors are warned to be careful during the nesting season, or better still, to keep clear, as the gulls are liable to attack intruders. The other Twin has witnessed the most human disturbance, but Michener was delighted to see a satyr common butterfly, a rare sight in Renfrew County.
When preparing the original survey and Plan of the Township of Sebastopol, the land surveyors identified certain islands in Lake Clear with a capital letter. There is no apparent reason why some islands were lettered and others were not. It did not depend on size as very small islands, - the Little Rock and the Twin Islands - were marked while some larger islands, - Haines' Island ( arguably the prettiest island) and Salmon Island were not.
At one time there were suspicions that someone had altered the plan filed at the Registry office by removing the letter from Haines' Island and placing it on the Little Rock. However the issued patent for Little Rock correctly shows it to be 1 acre in size. Haines' is much larger.
Island "A" - Green Island (sometimes referred to as The Burnt Island) This island is abstracted as containing 15 acres. It was patented on April 6, 1883 to one Allan Grant. There is a Quit Claim deed registered in October of 1899 from James Bell and his wife to Jeannie Grant.
There is no further registrations until 1996 when a Tax arrears Certificate is registered. A cancellation certificate is registered in 1998 and the Island is now the subject of a PIN number issued under The Land Titles Act and the owner is The Lake Clear Conservancy. This island was destroyed by fire in the 1950s and is now home to many wild flowers and unique plants as is disclosed in a study done for the Lake Clear Conservancy by Chris Michener in 2000.
Island "B". - French's Island - No patent has been issued and so there are no registrations and it remains as Crown Land. It is known as French's Island because it lies in front of lots 50 and 51 Range C North of the Opeongo.
These lots were owned and settled by T.P. French, the first land agent responsible for settlement on the Opeongo,and the island is called after him.
Island "C" - Blueberry Island. This Island is not patented, there are no registrations and it remains as Crown land.
Island "D"- Turner's Island - the largest of the Islands comprises 64 acres. It was patented on November 21, 1878 to Robert Turner. Mr. Turner was an early settler at Eganville and was responsible for clearing large tracts of land on the south side of the Bonnechere River.
He was a very important person in the growth and development of the area. He became engaged in the lumber business and after losing heavily on a bad deal, quit the business and spent much time at Lake Clear fishing, hunting and working the open mine that he had opened on the island.
He conveyed the island to his son John Turner in 1879 and John Turner sold it to Annie Bonfield in 1930. It was sold by her in 1931 to one Emerson Smith. It was later sold for taxes and split into two parts, -one part containing about 50 acres and the other containing about 14 acres.
The island has been of interest to geologists and rock hounds over the years because of the existence of the old open mine. Reportedly the largest zircon crystal ever found in Ontario was dislodged at the mine and is now on display in Toronto.
Island "E" - Muddy Island- is not patented and there are no registrations and remains as Crown land. It is a very nice island and the name historically given to it does not do it justice.
Island "F" and Island "G" - The Twin Islands" - contain 3 acres, They were patented on December 23, 1878 to John Heenan and John Childerhouse. These two gentlemen were Eganville businessmen. There were no registrations following the patent until 1996 when a Tax Arrears certificate was registered.
There was a cancellation certificate registered in 1998 and the Islands are now the subject of PIN numbers issued under the
Land Titles Act and the owner is the Lake Clear Conservancy.
Island "H" - Cherry Island - is patented as 7 acres on March 9, 1893 to Arthur Bruce. It is conveyed in 1921 by his widow and estate to Robert Bruce. Through the Bruce family it devolved to the Stafford family and was sold by them to Thomas Gillis, Arnold Donahue and Wayne Spooner in 1977.
Island "I" - The Little Rock - is a barren rock and is appropriately named. It was patented on October 21, 1880 to Donald G. Macdonell and is noted to be 1 acre in size. In 1892 there was a Tax Deed to Andrew W. Bell. It then was in the name of Michael John Stafford who sold it to Emmet James Graham in 1956. Emmet died on September 27, 1967 and his estate sold it.
There maybe another 10 crown islands, some very small. As noted Salmon Island is about 2 acres in size and Haines' Island is probably about 8 acres, and is probably called after German immigrant Robert Haines who is noted in the 1871 census as an Opeongo settler along with his wife and four young children.
Oral history is that this Island was lived on and probably cultivated to some extent. Certainly Emmet Graham used part of it to grow
potatoes, and had tales of it being used by early settlers to produce potash.
There are a number of historic landmarks, heritage centres, museums, horseback riding, canoe outfitters, berry picking sites, all sorts of natural attractions, golf courses, skiing, rafting, trails and other exciting things to do in the area....
You can see the extraordinary properties available on or near Lake Clear by visiting www.realtor.ca with these mls #s:
13.3 Acres- Lovely, well-treed, building lot with a nice creek & great views. MLS #719422 OR 473801605021710
500+ Acres with 900' frontage on Lake Clear and about 400 acres ascending MacDonald's Mountain. MLS# 719053 OR 471600021700
The waterfront portion of the above noted acreage is available separately, it consists of about 137 well-treed acres with a stream/waterfall and the 900' of shoreline- it excludes the mountain portion. MLS #733683 OR 471600001021700A
I notice that on this page you have two images posted from my now defunct 'Rural Rambles in Renfrew County' blog. (The Bonnechere River in winter, and the vintage gas pump beside the log building across from the service station in Golden Lake.) I'm glad that you like the pictures as they are two of my personal favorites of this area. However, it would have been nice to have a mention or link back, as the photos and content on the original was copyrighted.
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with your "now defunct" blog... but I'm not one to infringe... do you know if the articles are available online?