Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Saving the best for last on enjoyable MVFN Fall Colours Paddle


Trip leader Doug Younger-Lewis (left) and Neil Carleton at the beginning of a day of paddling and exploring on MVFN’s Fall Colours trip. Photo Howard Robinson 

Press Story

October 15, 2010

Saving the best for last on enjoyable MVFN Fall Colours Paddle

by Cliff Bennett

Record numbers participated in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) Annual Fall Colours canoe/kayak trip on Sunday, October 3, the last paddle of the season. Thirty enthusiast MVFN members and guests in eleven canoes and eight kayaks assembled at the north arm of Crotch Lake to launch their craft and explore along the shorelines of bays and islands. The group enjoyed the awe inspiring beauty of the colours of Laurentian Shield rock outcrops backed by magnificent multi-coloured maples, poplars, oak and sumac, shouldered by the rich greens of many pines.

The cool north winds kept the flotilla close to shore, allowing for good viewing of fall asters and goldenrod. In the small wetland bays, a few ducks, mainly female and juvenile common mergansers plus one small flock of Canada geese, took to the air as the group approached. Also noted were one woodduck and one hooded merganser. A five lined skink, Ontario’s only lizard, dashed across a rock ledge and a Northern water snake was found in the gravel by the edge. Birds listed, in addition to the ducks, were a sharp-shinned hawk, two merlins, a blue jay, a small flock of pine siskins, a pair of kingfishers, crows and ravens and a few ring-billed gulls.

Organized and led by MVFN member Doug Younger-Lewis of Almonte, the group proceeded onto the Mississippi River and settled at the King Lake dam for lunch. After the group retraced their route and packed up, they re-assembled at the Dalhousie Lake Restaurant for afternoon refreshments and farewells to another great year of seeing nature from the water’s edge.

The outing concluded the MVFN canoe/kayak outings for this year. These outings all operate as part of MVFN’s Programme Committee and the theme is always ‘Seeing Nature from the Water’s Edge.’ Sixty-six different members and invited guests took part in the outings this year, setting a record for the number of participants in the programme, best yet since it began in 2002. In addition to the Crotch Lake trip, other trips this year included Mississippi River from Dalhousie Lake; Mississippi River from Appleton to Almonte; Mississippi River from Pakenham to Blakeney and Clayton-Taylor Lake. The programme will resume next year.

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Field naturalists complete successful canoe/kayak season with Fall colours trip


Press Story

Thursday Oct. 9, 2008

Submitted by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

Field naturalists complete successful canoe/kayak season with Fall colours trip

Canoeing has become a major activity helping the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists meet their purpose of increasing understanding of and respect for our natural world. Experiencing nature from the water by scanning shorelines, bays, marshes and creeks, has brought participants in closer communion with the natural relationships occurring alongside and within our watersheds.

MVFN completed a very successful summer canoe/kayak programme this year with a trip Sunday, October 5. Twenty-four avid members and guests paddled the upper Clyde River and into Widow Lake in Lavant Ward of Lanark Highlands. The group launched their vessels above the control dam on the Clyde, above Joe’s Lake and reached the Clyde again at the north end of Widow Lake, only to be thwarted by beaver dams.

Key to this trip were the magnificent fall colours, especially as they were reflected in mirror-like water the group paddled on. Great blue herons appeared as sentinels along the route and several duck species including golden-eyes and woodducks took off from the marshy edges. A juvenile bald eagle, found perching in a tree on the French Line, set the stage for many of natures wonders discovered on the trip.

The season’s canoe/kayak programme, organized by MVFN member Cliff Bennett, began earlier in the summer with a trip to the western end of White Lake on June 15. This was followed by other explorations including Park Lake in Lanark Highlands, the Tay River into Christie Lake and Bennett Lake in Tay Valley and Bob’s Lake, just out of the County of Lanark west of Bolingbroke.

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.

In all approximately sixty different MVFN members and friends took part in the canoe/kayak programme this year. All agreed they had learned so much of nature, whether it was the wild flowers along the shores, the birds in the trees, the air and water, mushrooms, amphibians or water plants. A common expression from many stated their pleasure at being able to enjoy this great Canadian experience. For more information about MVFN’s programmes, check their website at

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Annual MVFN Fall Colours Canoe Trek 2008

MVFN Fall Colours Canoe Trek, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008

Clyde River and Widow Lake (# 10 on Guide). All MVFN members and canoeing friends are welcome!

Car Pooling (reduce your carbon footprint):
East Lanark and area: Union Hall for departure at 8:45 A.M. West Lanark and area: Hopetown General Store for departure by 9:15

Bring a lunch, camera, binoculars. Dress for weather.

If you need to be partnered up in a canoe with someone else, please call Cliff

For more information and to register, contact Cliff Bennett at 613.256.5013 or at .

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