From the Editor, May 2022

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 17, Issue 5, May 2022

2022 is open for business! Unseasonably warm temperatures and returning snowbirds have resulted in an increase in boating in the Thousand Islands. As I write this, the leaves are quickly opening, and most definitely businesses on both sides of the border are ready to welcome you back to the River.

The raging fire on Murray Isle on May 7, 2022. [Photo by Glenn Sandiford ©2022]

Saturday May 7 was not a happy day, as we learned of the Murray Isle fire. By the end of a worrisome evening of checking our devices over and over, we learned that five fire departments had responded - Clayton Fire Department, Deaupville, LaFargeville, Alexandria Bay, Wellesley, and Ontario's Leeds and Thousand Islands.

Glenn Sandiford and his neighbour Brendan Wisnieski captured what it was like to respond as private citizens, in his article “500 Seconds.” He has high praise for the fire fighters and to all those who assisted in the community effort

Murray is a large island with many summer homes. We certainly wish the Murray Isle famly and their neighbours a speedy recovery – which unfortunately is easy for us to say, but harder for them in reality.

More Caution

Fire is a worry for everyone. Chimney fires are unpredictable, and even though it’s tempting to burn leaves in the spring or have a bonfire with Smores on a nice summer evening – it is not recommended! Our granite rocks are not smooth boulders, so a fire may be doused with water and seem extinguished, but it can travel underground in a granite crack, and reappear several feet away, causing damage once again.

Also, the Thousand Islands Association's Facebook page provides explanations for "River Myths" and this is an important one about about "not" feeding wildlife.

Be sure to join TIA and Save the River as both organizations not only provide good environmental information, but they keep you off the Rocks by installing Shoal Markers. 

TIA says:

Although the outdoor furry friends are extremely cute (don’t get us wrong), feeding these creatures actually causes more harm than good and here's just a few reasons why:
-They may become dependent on these artificial food sources, posing nutritional consequences,
-Discourages the animals to continue to forage or hunt for their food.
-The animals can develop food-seeking aggression, and even associate humans with food.
-When animals are more likely to approach humans for food, it can become alarming for humans, and can result in unsafe practices taken towards the animals through unsafe trapping, unsafe relocating, injuring or even killing the animals.
Although your intentions to feed animals may be good, next time think twice before leaving food out for wildlife, and find other ways to connect with nature!

Lost River Champions

Several River Champions will not be returning this summer. We learned that Heather Pelow (née Mabee) passed away peacefully at the age of 65. She is survived by husband Roger and sons Matthew and Timothy; they summered on Tremont Island, in the Admiralty Group. One of her best friends, Ginger Nugent, wrote, “My favorite Heather story was of the tent bedroom Dr Mabee built for her, all wired for reading. I’ll certainly miss exchanging books with her and paddling!” Many more will miss Heather, and we thank Ginger for sending us this tribute.

We learned of the death of Barbara Reuckert, 91, of Reston, Virginia, in March. Barbara was a volunteer for the Nature Conservancy, The thousand Islands Land Trust, and the Antique Boat Museum. Barbara spent summers on Grindstone Island.

John VanRennselaer Rawson Jr., 87, and better known as “Skip”, died peacefully at his home in Princeton, NJ. His obituary explains, “Over the course of his career, Skip had many varied interests. Formerly chairman of the Loan Committee of Montgomery National Bank, he then founded Rawson Food Services, a Wendy’s franchise company. A lover of airplanes, motorcycles, boats, and cars, Skip embraced life with great enthusiasm. A retired Major in the United States Air Force, Skip continued to be active in the aviation community, including flying in the Tora! Tora! Tora! airshow group. He was also involved in the Delaware Valley Wing of the Commemorative Airforce. Skip’s adventures also led him to the Thousand Islands where he restored Calumet Island and made it a family retreat.”

At this time, I know you join me in remembering all the happy times we had with now missing family and friends. Please enjoy summer 2022 by staying safe and well.

"She was waiting for me this morning." Yes, a perfect way to see the River. [Photo by Richard Thomas ©2022]

Event Calendars

This is the time of year that each community is publishing their summer events. Be sure to check back often to ensure you can plan your holidays.

• Kingston, ON
• Gananoque, ON
• Brockville, ON
• 1000 Islands Regional Tourism Council, US & ON
• Cape Vincent, NY
• Clayton, NY
• Alex Bay, NY

Doug Tulloch loves the St. Lawrence and jumps in at least once a day all summer. He arrived back in April and jumped right in! He shared this "the water is about 9 feet deep and 44° warm" (Seeing his photo and I think many of us are temped to jump in too.) [Photo by Doug Tulloch ©2022]


We have three new authors in May 2022. Steve Cormack, for boat building; Shelagh Baker, for sports; and Ross Holbrook, for history and archaeology - all I am sure that you’ll enjoy them all. We have 14 articles this issue. Please leave comments on articles or send them to me to post (there is a little glitch using some web browsers.)

Header Photograph

Header photograph was taken by James R. Miller on May 3, 2022 as this beautiful cruise liner, Viking Octanis, was making her way upriver.  The ship carries 378 guests with a crew of 256. She was built in 2022.  You can take a virtual tour here.

By Susan W. Smith, Editor,

And the TI Life Team:

Elspeth Naismith, "Real Editor"; Georgia Barker, Dane Zabriski, and Rick Taylor are our proofreaders. Jennifer Caddick has taken over our Social media; Beth Lavos is posting books; Marie-Anne Erki is our illustrator; and last but not least is Mike Cox, our IT Magician. Once again, thanks  to all!

Posted in: Volume 17, Issue 5, May 2022, From the editor

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