Water recreationists, rejoice! On June 9, CBC Superior Morning reported that a new section of the Trans Canada Trail opened – the Lake Superior Water Trail, a 1,000 km water trail along the north shore of Lake Superior.
The water trail is comprised of 16 access points from Thunder Bay’s Fisherman’s Park near the mouth of the Current River to Gros Cap Marina Park near Sault Ste. Marie. Project coordinator Joanie McGuffin told CBC that the entry points have been outfitted with composting toilets, bear-proof garbage receptacles, recycling containers, and universally accessible docks set up to accommodate paddlers transitioning from wheelchair to kayak. The entry points will be maintained by partner communities such as Rossport, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, and Marathon.
The Lake Superior Water Trail is part of the Great Trail by Trans Canada Trail, stretching 24,000 km from ocean to ocean. The LakeSuperior trail connects to a cycling route in Sudbury, giving paddlers and cyclists a chance to extend their exploration of northern Ontario. It is also connected to Trans Canada Trail designated hiking trails, including the Voyageur Trail (being developed between Thunder Bay and Manitoulin Island), Casques Isles Trail, Nipigon River Recreation Trail, and coastal trails in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park. The aim is to connect paddlers, cyclists, and hikers in their journey to enjoy Canada.
The water trail project is the result of joint collaboration between Trans Canada Trail, Trans Canada Trail Ontario, and the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy, working together with First Nations communities, coastal municipalities, Ontario Parks, and National Parks.
Residents of Superior’s coast know that a journey on the big lake is a serious undertaking, and not without safety and tourism concerns. The Lake Superior Trail’s website reports that kiosks at each entry point will display safety info, photos and maps connecting the water trail to hiking and cycling trails, parks, B&Bs, food services, cultural attractions, and other local services of note. The website also has a designated Trail Safety page, explaining required safety equipment and best practices in water safety.
The Lake Superior Water Trail is unique in that its span follows Canadian coastline, following the lead of sister trails on Superior, such as the Wisconsin Lake Superior Water Trail, Michigan Lake Superior Water Trails, Minnesota Lake Superior Water Trail.