Phase one of Misery Bay shelter relocation complete

Due to the very high water levels around Misery Bay Provincial Park, a work crew had to move the Our Friends Shelter for the winter, last week.

MISERY BAY – Phase one of the work to relocate the winter home of Our Friends Shelter at Misery Bay Provincial Park has now taken place, with more work to be undertaken next spring.

“Our Friends Shelter is high and dry and tucked away safely for the season,” wrote John Diebolt of the Friends of Misery Bay, in an email he sent to the Recorder last Saturday. “Phase one of the shelter rescue happened on November 26 and 28.”

“Our team of Mike Laende, Maddie Wagar, myself and Will Kershaw, ably led and directed by George Kopylov (a licenced timber frame builder), prepped the shelter by removing the cement pads (some of which were sitting over a foot above the water), bracing it and then by jacking it up onto temporary cribs repeatedly to get it high enough.”

“We then applied skids to the bottom of the cedar posts, and then with the use of come-alongs, chains and straps slowly inched the shelter back onto a site that had been prepped,” explained Mr. Diebolt. “Come alongs were attached to a large cedar tree-that was carefully protected so we would not damage it. he said the shelter was inched back slowly and carefully.” 

“By the end of Tuesday we had moved the shelter back 30 feet and the bottom of the temporary crib; it was sitting on was 28 inches above lake level,” continued Mr. Diebolt. “On Thursday we returned and repositioned the shelter so it was sitting very squarely and safely on top of four cribs.”

Mr. Diebolt said, “as noted by Will Kershaw, the shelter sits at the lower edge of the 800-year-old post-glacial shoreline that Peter Barnett described and mapped in a report that is available in the visitor centre.”

“We were very careful in removing trees etc. to not disturb the forest floor covering, and protected it when moving the shelter (it was on skids and they sat on cedar log rollers). We then cleaned up the site,” continued Mr. Diebolt. 

As was reported in last week’s Recorder, the close to historical high water levels across the Great Lakes, and the damage it causes, hit Misery Bay Provincial Park with the Our Friends Shelter having been encroached by the high water with materials eroded under five of the eight pads; that left the shelter tilted toward the lake. Leaving it where it was could result in its destruction by next spring with the water and winds hitting it over the winter. 

“Phase two will take place next year; Ontario Parks and FOMB will have a good look at it as soon as we can in the spring. There will be some necessary consultations and all environmental concerns etc. will need to be addressed,” said Mr. Diebolt. 

He said this phase will involve the final positioning and stabilization of the shelter and the rerouting of the handicap access trail and ramp for the shelter. “The cost for this will be in the thousands of dollars. FOMB hase already started fundraising discussions and efforts to start raising this money. A big thanks to those who have already sent donations for this effort.”

“Kudos to Ontario Parks’ Erica Poupore, our acting park superintendent, Ryan Gardner and Will Kershaw. They were able to get an emergency environmental assessment done in very short order, allowing us to complete phase one,” said Mr. Diebolt.

“Another big thanks to all those who offered to come and help with phase one. Because of the nature of the job, we had to keep numbers limited, but your offers were most appreciated,” added Mr. Diebolt.