The quest to make a stunning blueway more accessible
One of the most remarkable blueways of The Great Trail is the Lake Superior Water Trail, a 1,000-kilometre-section that traces the top of the lake’s distinctive wolf head’s shape between Gros Cap Marina Park on Whitefish Bay and Fisherman’s Park at Thunder Bay.
“That’s a place my husband Gary and I fell in love with more than 30 years ago when we first canoed this magnificent coast as part of a cross-Canada voyage,” says Joanie McGuffin. “You can’t help but be in awe of the blue water stretching to the horizon, making up the largest expanse of freshwater on the planet.”
Joanie and Gary McGuffin are lifelong outdoor enthusiasts and explorers, who turned their passion for this part of the world into action designed to conserve it – and make it more accessible. “We are proud to have formed the international Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy that partnered with Trans Canada Trail to oversee and implement the Lake Superior Water Trail,” says Joanie.
Part of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy’s mission is to provide universal access to the site with accessible infrastructure, such as docks and toilets at main access points, explains Joanie. She reports that special access docks will allow for full accessibility from the parking to the water, enabling people with mobility issues, for example, to launch their kayaks and canoes.
Joanie recommends “paddling properly outfitted sea kayaks, covered canoes or voyageur canoes as the safe way to travel on Superior.” “Enlisting skilled guides is also advisable, so you are prepared with the proper equipment, clothing and know-how for big water,” she adds.
This Trail section includes beautiful beaches at Batchawana, Pancake and Agawa Bays, passes beneath the soaring cliffs at Old Woman Bay and the Sleeping Giant, and winds through the Gargantua Islands Preserve at Nanoboozhung and the North Shore’s archipelago. “The Trail connects 16 communities, including six First Nations, and links lighthouses, national and provincial parks and great walking on the Voyageur, Casque Isles, Kwewiskaning and coastal hiking trails, to name a few,” says Joanie. “It is a great experience year-round and, quite simply, our favourite landscape on Earth.”