Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN 4-day Algonquin Park Canoe/Hiking Camp

September 8-11, 2017

Experience the splendor and peace of Algonquin Park in late summer!

MVFN’s Annual September 4-day Canoe Camp will take place this year at Whitefish Lake Group Campground, Algonquin Park (just off Highway 60), from Friday, Sept. 8 – Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

Even if you are not a paddler, you are welcome to participate in this 4-day canoe camp, to hike on one or more of the beautiful trails in the area, visit the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre nearby, or stay at the campground and enjoy a relaxing day by yourself. You may also wish to take part in the group pot-luck dinners and campfires.

Some people cannot attend for all four days, which is fine, too; however, the cost of $70 per person is the same, regardless of the number of days of camping. This is because many of the costs to offer the group camping program are fixed costs that are paid in advance.

Current, non-MVFN members may attend as your guest(s), but for MVFN insurance coverage reasons, they must become MVFN member/s. Individual membership is only $25 or $20 (senior rate). NOTE: Membership Forms are available here on the website at “Contact Us – Become a member”.

The number of participants is limited to 25. If you are interested in attending please reserve your space immediately by contacting Howard & Mary Robinson at:

, or 613-256-0817

Howard or Mary will send you the registration forms once you are signed up.

Looking forward to another great MVFN Canoe Camp in magical Algonquin Park!

photo B. Boyd

photo B. Boyd

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6th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Algonquin Park

6th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Algonquin Park

All current MVFN members who are canoe/kayak enthusiasts

When: Friday, September 13 to Monday, September 16, 2013

Where: Whitefish Lake Group Campsite, Algonquin Park

Cost: $30.00 per person. This amount is an estimate and should cover site registration, individual registration for three nights, parking, firewood and program planning. The estimate is based on the previous costs and number of registrants. If necessary a small additional amount may be charged at the site.

Maximum Registrants: 40

To Register: Participants must pre-register for this canoe camp. Registration is limited and is on a first come first served basis. Both a registration and waiver form must be filled out. These are not posted on-line; if you did not receive these via the MVFN e-mail network, please contact Sheldon Scrivens. To complete your registration, mail a registration form, waiver and payment to

MVFN at P.O. Box 1617 Almonte, ON K0A 1A0. Cheques may be made payable to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN).

 To register and for further information, please contact Sheldon Scrivens at 613-836-0309 or email



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A Hardy Group Survives Heavy Storm at 5th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp 2012 in Algonquin Park

A Hardy Group Survives Heavy Storm at 5th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp in Algonquin Park

by Cliff Bennett

Printable pdf with 7 photos [A hardy group survives heavy storm at annual MVFN canoe camp]

Coming through a drenching rain and high winds, which emptied most of Achray campsite in Eastern Algonquin Park, forty-one members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) actually enjoyed the challenges at their fifth annual Canoe Camp, September 7th to 10th. By pooling all picnic tables and camp stoves under a huge tarpaulin, members were able to continue cooking comfortably and taking part in activities in relative dryness. A few personal tents didn’t stand up to the continuous overnight downpour and six members packed up and went home to get dried out.










Photos by Simon Lunn (please see more photos in printable pdf; link above)

At the Friday evening opening activities, Camp Leader Cliff Bennett welcomed all and introduced the camp committee members and explained their roles. Health and Safety leader Graham Hunt talked about regulations and practices the participants would be following to keep everyone as safe as possible during the next three day’s paddling. Doug Younger-Lewis and Joyce Clinton revealed the activities and program items to choose from during the camp and the sign-up process to be used.

On Saturday, after the rain eased, the members divided into three activity groups. While one group chose to do the hike to High Falls and area, the other two decided to paddle in the rain; one travelling up Grand Lake and the other exploring around the local bays and wetlands. The Grand Lake group just got off the water in the afternoon when a real tempest stirred up the water’s surface.

Sunday saw the paddlers join into three explorations. One group paddled across Grand Lake and up to the Carcajou Bay Falls, another cruised down the east side of Stratton Lake to explore the top of High Falls while the third group took the west side of Stratton, through a series of portages and small lakes to explore the bottom of High Falls.

‘Seeing Nature from the Water’ was the theme of the camp and an impressive list of flora and fauna were seen. Thirty species of birds were listed including a barred owl, common merganser, ring-necked duck and green-winged teal, brown creeper, red-tailed hawk and great crested flycatcher. One black bear was spotted in the distance, a wolf and its juvenile appeared right behind one of the tents during the night and a painted turtle and a beaver were filmed during a canoe trip.

Dining was a great feature of the camp and members served each other a pot-luck dinner on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. A formal campfire program was conducted on Sunday evening with many skits, songs and stories creating good laughter and camaraderie.

After breaking camp on Monday, members had many choices including canoeing the famous Barron Canyon, exploring McGrath Lake or doing the hiking trail to the top of Barron Canyon. All returned home, happy and tired, without even a single scratch or upset canoe. Arne Snyder chaired the camp organizing committee, which started meeting in April to prepare all of the details, site reservations, site lay-outs and registration of participants.

The location for next year, MVFN’s 6th Annual Canoe Camp, has not yet been settled but the dates will be September 6th to 9th 2013. The MVFN canoeing program is a part of the Program Committee, chaired by Cathy Keddy. A new season of MVFN’s natural history lecture series has now begun at the Almonte United Church at 106 Elgin St. in Almonte. The next lecture will be held Thursday November 15; the presentation Earthworms: Whose Friends Are They? will be given by Paul Gray of the Science and Information Resources Division, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. For further information please visit or contact Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089


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Enjoying nature from the water during Whitefish Lake Canoe Camp 2010

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 ‘Algonquin’ in the Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Connection

Press Release

October 2, 2009

Enjoy a virtual visit to Algonquin Park at Almonte lecture by Senior Park Naturalist, Justin Peter

 Photo Howard Robinson, Algonquin Park, 2009

Photo: Howard Robinson, 2009, Algonquin Park

Lanark County functions as one of the links in a continental-scale conservation connection called Algonquin to Adirondacks, or A2A for short. It is somewhat like the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative to conserve Rocky Mountain biodiversity. A2A stretches over 300 km of the Canadian Shield from Algonquin Provincial Park, across the St. Lawrence River, to Adirondack State Park in New York.

The theme of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) 2009-2010 lecture series is Algonquin to Adirondacks: Big Picture Conservation. It encourages us to consider protecting biodiversity on a scale broader than we are accustomed to thinking about-planning on a scale bigger than landscape, larger than a national park, greater in extent than the jurisdiction of most land management units.

Algonquin Park, the northern anchor of this connection, will be featured in the second lecture of the series. Justin Peter, Senior Park Naturalist and Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Park, will tell us about managing the Park’s ecosystems in the face of real and potential threats to their ability to function. Using evidence from within the Park and beyond it, Justin will also explore the implications of landscape connectivity for conservation of Algonquin, both within the Park and down the A2A corridor.

Enjoy a virtual visit to Algonquin Park from the comfort of a warm room in Almonte and learn about its future and role in the A2A connection from Justin’s presentation, The Algonquin in the A2A Conservation Connection, 7:30 pm., Thursday, October 15, Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St. in Almonte. All are welcome ($5 fee for non-members). For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089 or visit



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