Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Press Story

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

September 21, 2010

Enjoying nature from the water during field naturalists’ September canoe/camping trip

by Janet Snyder

While the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) canoe program usually focuses on day-trips around the lakes and rivers of Lanark County, once a year the group ventures further away on an extended canoe/camping trip. This year fifteen paddlers in kayaks, and solo and double canoes participated in the September 10-12 trip to Algonquin Park. Using the group camp site at Whitefish Lake as our base we took two different paddling routes. The route for Saturday was Smoke Lake (an approximately 20 kilometre drive from the camp site) and through the channel into Tea Lake. Then on Sunday we paddled directly from the camp site along a narrow channel to Pog Lake and Lake of Two Rivers.

Canoe camp 2010

MVFN paddlers on the Madawaska River on the way to Lake of Two Rivers during the September canoe/camping trip in Algonquin Park. Photo courtesy Rob Walsworth

For some, paddling was the main purpose of the trip. For others it was the opportunity to study the birds, plants and animals of the park. The presence of Cliff Bennett, a knowledgeable birder and Cathy Keddy, a botanist, contributed greatly to everyone’s enjoyment and learning.

Mornings were cool as would be expected for the time of year but by afternoon most paddlers were in shirtsleeves. A couple of hardy folks even went for a swim. Mealtime and the evening campfires allowed time for discussions of the days’ events, story telling (including a few tall tales) and star gazing. The lakes and rivers were calm and the sky just slightly overcast providing great paddling and an opportunity to concentrate on the environment around us. Bird sightings numbered nineteen species including melodious common loons, a flotilla of common mergansers and a small flock of American pipits. Paddling close to shore we could see small collections of plants in most unusual places such as pitcher plants and wild cranberry growing alongside sphagnum moss on an old log seen floating just off shore.

While there were many things we did see, some things were remarkable by their absence. There were few bugs on the water and no fish swimming in the lakes and rivers. Paddling slowly along the shore usually provides ample opportunity to spot turtles but in the two days of paddling only one turtle was seen, a painted turtle. This prompted much discussion and encouragement to continue the study of our natural environment and work to preserve the state of nature. Everyone agreed…same time next year!

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The highlight of the year’s activity on the water was a four-day September canoe camp in Killarney Provincial Park.

A group of twenty-six canoeists/kayakers explored the upper end of Georgian Bay and also George and Freeland Lakes in the Park.

This was the first attempt to hold a canoe camp and the event was so successful that members demanded this become an annual event.

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Announcing an MVFN Killarney Canoe/Kayak Camping trip for 2008

Full Moon

To all paddling members and friends,

This year, I am planning something more adventuresome, a canoe camp at
Killarney Provincial Park. 

Dates: Friday, Sept. 12 till Monday Sept. 15 (three nights)

Before I book the sites, I will need to know within a month, how many would be interested in going.

Please reply no later than April 30, of your intentions.

To make this camp viable, I would need a minimum of six participants. You don’t have to commit to all three nights; one or two will be OK.

Participants would bring their own food and camping equipment. I would be pleased to do the usual matching up of partners/boats/car pooling. I will pre-book and pay for the sites. Cost will be shared between participants; the more that come, the cheaper it will be.

Killarney Provincial Park is a seven hour drive from here, including time out for breakfast and/or lunch plus rest breaks. For more information or to confirm, contact Cliff at 613.256.5013 or .

-Cliff Bennett

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