Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Springtown

Springtown is about halfway between Burnstown and Calabogie on highway 508. Turn west in the middle of Pakenham Village (past Scoops) onto the White Lake Road, travel north through White Lake to Burnstown and west to Springtown. Just past the village, cross over the bridge and put your canoe in on the north side of the road. There is plenty of parking space. Explore the small lake (I don’t know its name). Watch for submerged stumps. On the north shore, paddle into Holiday Creek. You can easily paddle as far as the culverts and even go through them if there is enough water. However, you can’t get much further than that. After exploring the small lake and creek, paddle throught the cement culvert under the highway and into to Madawaska River. A few dozen yards to your right is a very short dock. You can stop here and have lunch (with permisssion of property owners). A paddle around this part of the river is interesting and picturesque. A word of caution: With great regularity, excess water is released into the Madawaska from the dam at Calabogie. The extra water pours through the culvert into the small lake at a fast clip. Experienced paddlers know how to paddle through this current but, if you are not sure, wait until the current drops.

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Constance Creek Wetland

Gliding through a provincially significant class one wetland always produces a great list of wetland birds that one doesn’t see or hear in smaller marshes. The Constance Creek route within the City of Ottawa does just that.

Upon exploring this journey, we discovered a very healthy population of wee marsh wrens, a species that is disappearing from large lake fringe wetlands due to lowering of water tables.

Also found and listed were many common yellow-throated warblers, sora rails and pied-billed grebes plus the usuals of red-wings, grackles, great blue herons, alder flycatchers, tree swallows and swamp sparrows.

To find this creek and its launch area, travel to Dunrobin, turn east towards the Ottawa River and travel about one km to the bridge. There is plenty of space to park your car and canoes can be put in the water on the north-west side of the bridge. The first thing to greet you is an osprey nest on a nearby hydro pole.

Probably this creek is best travelled in the spring for the reeds will grow in during the summer as the water level drops. It depends upon how active the beavers are and how much rain has fallen. Travelling northwards (downsteam) you can paddle about one km. before you get blocked in. Under the bridge and up river is even shorter but the overall experience of gliding along the reed beds can take at least three hours of paddling. There is no place to get out and have lunch so you will have to eat in your canoe.

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