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Superior Exploring

Gros Cap Marina Park

Portal to Big Water

The view across Whitefish Bay includes the Gros Cap Reef Light and, in the distance beyond, Iroquois Point in the USA. Just north of here, the Gros Cap headland marks where the St. Marys River and Lake Superior meet.

 

Some of the rugged shoreline’s most spectacular features include the red Jacobsville sandstone, and the craggy, pine-clad bluffs. Highlights for the spring and autumn paddler include the parade of feathered migrants including hawks by the thousands. The bay’s shallow reefs have long been productive fish spawning grounds.

 

The once-vast fishery of Whitefish Bay and the nearby rapids at Bawating attracted people to this region thousands of years ago. These traditional lands of Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways are a place of gathering, and of celebration and ceremony.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Gros Cap - Prince Township

Batchawana Bay

Voyageurs’ Rest

A bird’s eye view of Batchawana Bay reveals a terraced landscape of ancient shorelines, and a 2,000 hectare (5,000 acre) island, a haven for moose, bald eagles and great blue herons. Southeast from here, at the mouth of the Batchawana River, a small fur trading post once operated.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, canoe brigades transported trade goods and furs between Montreal and Thunder Bay in 36-foot voyageur canoes, These birch bark canoes, each carrying four tons of cargo and paddled by 8 to 12 men, found this to be an ideal place to land and camp. Voyageurs often traded with local Indigenous People for fish to supplement their rations of split peas and salt pork.

Batchawana’s name is derived from the Ojibwe word Badjiwanung meaning “water that bubbles up”. This refers to the current at Sand Point. Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is a Day Use Park. For camping, visit Pancake Bay Prov. Park --a  5 min. drive north.  

For more information, visit:

Batchawana Bay Provincial Park

Katherine's Cove

In the Wake of a Glacier

Glaciation over the last million years carved the Lake Superior basin and shaped the landscape we see today. Signatures of the massive sheets of ice that covered the land are scrawled up and down the coastline of Lake Superior Provincial Park. Debris caught beneath shifting ice created the scratches and gouges on the polished rock point at Robertson Cove. Massive boulders, known as “erratics”, were orphaned by the melt and distributed near Katherine Cove.  Fine sand beaches are often found near river mouths along this rocky coast.  Waterways like the Sand River, located 2 km (1.25 miles) south, have transported glacial materials for thousands of years to build these beaches. The Ojibwe name for the Sand River is Pinguisibi; ‘pingui’ meaning fine white sand and ‘sibi’ meaning river.

Katherine Cove is a Day Use Area.

For camping, visit Agawa Bay Campground -- a 10 min drive south.

To learn move, visit:

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Michipicoten River

Gateway to the Wilderness

At the Michipicoten and Magpie confluence where the river widens and curves to Lake Superior, paddlers experience the world’s longest stretch of undeveloped freshwater coastline. For thousands of years, these lands and waters have sustained continuous occupation of people hunting caribou, moose and small game. The salmon, trout and sturgeon that spawn here attract eagles to gather come autumn. To the west lies Ontario’s largest national park, Pukaskwa. To the south, one of the province’s largest provincial parks.  But the journey upstream and northeast to the saltwater of James Bay via the Missinaibi and Moose rivers makes this a very significant historic connection to the ancient trade routes.  Just downstream, the vestiges of the Michipicoten Post are what remain of one of the longest running trading posts on the Great Lakes.

For more information, visit:

Municipality of Wawa

Hattie Cove

Pukaskwa National Park

Pukaskwa, Ontario’s largest national park, is a very special part of this 1000 km section of The Great Trail. It features the longest stretch of untouched wilderness coastline remaining on the Great Lakes. The Hattie Cove Visitor Centre is one of the main access points to this freshwater coastal trail which includes sweeping sand and cobble beaches, Precambrian headlands and a vast swath of boreal forest cut with many river valleys. Just to the north, the nearest community of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg reminds us that this landscape has been Home to people for thousands of years. Here at Pukaskwa, the Lake Superior Water Trail can be enjoyed both as a paddler and as a hiker. 

For more information, please click on link below:

Pukaskwa National Park

Heron Bay North

Biigtigong, the river that erodes

Heron Bay is an intersection of trails across Biigtigong Nishnaabeg’s traditional territory. The route south by land follows a spectacular boreal forest trail known as the Kwewiskaning, Ojibwa meaning ”where the sturgeon spawn”.

 

The route south by water sneaks in behind nearby Coal or CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) Island where steamers once off-loaded coal used to run the locomotives. It then continues on following the rocky shoreline indented with sheltered coves. The two trails meet again at Prospect Cove, Channel Island and at the dunes.

 

Here, a boardwalk paralleling the shore protects the fragile ecology. Ever changing by the forces of wind and water, the sand dunes at the mouth of the Pic River are the largest on Lake Superior’s North shore. 

 

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Gchi-Waaswaaganing

Marathon Boat Launch

Big Sky, Shining Water

The expansive skies and the ever-changing patterns of sunlight, cloud and fog over Lake Superior issued a siren’s call to landscape painter Lawren Harris, a member of Canada’s iconic Group of Seven. Hiking and sketching in this area in the 1920s, Harris was entranced by the scenes he professed, “existed nowhere else in Canada”. He returned year after year, inspired and rejuvenated by a “sense of oneness with the “spirit of the land”.

The hills and islands surrounding Peninsula Harbour appear in numerous Harris sketches.  Hawkins Island, Blondin Island, Peninsula Bay, and in the distance, Pic Island, off the coast of Neys Provincial Park. Pic Island is the subject of one of his most famous and impressive canvases that hangs today at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Marathon Boat Launch, Marathon, Ontario

Carden Cove

A Painter’s Canvas Shaped by Time

Eons of glacial scouring wore away soft volcanic gabbros and levelled harder underlying bedrock creating the smooth topography of Lake Superior’s North Shore.

These sensuous curves of the coastline from Pukaskwa National Park to Rossport were alluring subjects for Canada’s celebrated Group of Seven.

From 1921 to 1928, Lawren Harris, in the company of one or more fellow landscape painters A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson, made sketching trips to this area.  They camped, hiked and boated around Neys Peninsula, Port Coldwell, Sturdee Cove and the Slate Islands enduring the rugged autumn weather.

The paradise of secluded beaches and polished granite points are marked with evidence of Peninsula Harbour’s more recent industrial past.  For decades, rafts of pulpwood dominated the view, the booms held fast by rings drilled into bedrock on either side of Carden Cove.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Carden Cove, Marathon, Ontario

Terrace Bay Beach

A Meteoric Rise

Terrace Bay is named for the ancient shorelines rising from the beach to the town and beyond. The Casque Isles Trail follows the Aguasabon upstream to a spectacular gorge overlooking the mouth of the river, one of the lake’s greatest tributaries.

 

Apart from the expansive beach, the most prominent feature of Terrace Bay is the enchanted archipelago of over twenty islands that lie just 11 km (7 miles) offshore. 

The Slate Islands’ many superlative features include a lighthouse perched high on outer Patterson Island; an isolated home for endangered woodland caribou; and the world’s largest known shatter cone, a rare geological phenomena created by the immense force of a meteorite impact long ago.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Terrace Bay Beach, Terrace Bay, Ontario

Schreiber Beach

Glimpses of Past Life

​When the wind comes up, strong undertows and dumping waves develop along the steep cobble beach making it a place for only the most experienced paddlers. However the trails by land in either direction lead to similar destinations providing a safe option for wind-bound adventurers.

Four kilometres (2.5 miles) west in Schreiber Channel Nature Preserve, concentric rings on smooth shoreline rocks are visible from water and land.  Dating back nearly two billion years, stromatolites are fossils of the earliest oxygen-producing life on Earth. The Schreiber fossils are among the world’s best, and bear a striking resemblance to living stromatolites found in Australia and Florida.

Ten kilometres to the east the rocky wave-swept shore leads to the pictographs at Worthington Bay.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Schreiber Beach, Schreiber, Ontario

Rossport Wardrope Park

Every Island Tells a Story

The archipelago of the Rossport Islands provides one of the most varied of wilderness paddling experiences on all of Lake Superior. Among the First Peoples that fished, lived and travelled through here, the Blackduck culture was known for their distinctive decorated pottery formed from local clays. Today the names of offshore islands hint at more recent human activities. The sandstone bluffs of Quarry Island were extracted and used by Fort William for construction projects, railroad workers cached illegal whiskey on Whiskey Island, and the Powder Islands were used to store blasting powder. Salter Island’s name reveals Rossport’s fishing tradition. After one particularly successful day, fishermen asked their captain what to do with the excess catch. “Salt’er” was the captain’s reply.

To learn more, click on the following link: Rossport

Nipigon Marina

The Mighty River

​The Nipigon River flowing from Lake Nipigon is Lake Superior’s largest tributary. The area’s important wildlife habitats include one of the few provincially significant wetlands on Lake Superior, and spawning grounds for the renowned coasters. “The little salmon of the springs”, unlike other brook trout, live part of their lives in the Great Lakes. 

 

Long before the North Shore’s first permanent European settlement was established here, this place was a crossroads for travel and trade for Indigenous peoples.

Thousands of years ago early metal workers heated, hammered and fashioned Lake Superior copper into spear points, fish hooks and jewelry which were traded as far west as the Rocky Mountains, as far north as the Arctic Coast and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

To learn more, click on the following link: Nipigon

Red Rock Marina

Spirits on Stone

Red Rock is situated where the Nipigon River meets Nipigon Bay. The view includes St. Ignace Island, second only in size to Isle Royale, and is also the 12th largest lake island in the world. The town’s name describes the local landscape’s most characteristic feature – the red rock cuesta.  Eagles and hawks soar on thermal updrafts along the steep escarpment, and in the bay, flocks of white pelicans gather to herd fish. 

 

Across the Nipigon where steep cliffs meet the river, pictographs were painted with red ochre on the canvas of rock. It is a place of spiritual significance to honour and respect the Lake with tobacco offerings. The small hairy, half-human, half-water tricksters known as the Maymaygwashi make their presence known here from time to time.

To learn more, click on the following link:

Township of Red Rock

Porphyry Island

Keepers of the Light

Situated at the entrance to Black Bay, Porphyry Point is wide-open to the lake’s weather systems. Hazardous rip currents can be present in this exposed location.

The Island’s beaches are full of polka-dot porphyry, a black volcanic rock embedded with light-coloured quartz and feldspar crystals. Andrew Dick kept the Porphyry Point lighthouse from shortly after it was constructed in 1873 until 1912, when he retired at age 82. He, a widower, and his ten children lived here in harsh isolation year-round. While he tended the whale-oil lamp and kept a meticulous log book, the light keeper especially required full-time domestic help from his second-oldest daughter. Emily hauled firewood, cleaned the henhouse, baked bread, and concocted elaborate Christmas dinners of rabbit, chicken, caribou, beef, and raisin and apple pies.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Number Ten Light House

Island in the Stream

The island chain south of the Black Bay Peninsula is a paddler’s paradise of sheltered water and intriguing passages. For skippers and captains of larger vessels, this idyllic scene can be a perilous labyrinth of islets and shoals. The light station was erected in 1912 to serve the myriad of mariners who piloted fishing and logging tugs through this area in the first half of the 20th century. It is often known as the Shaganash Light in reference to the large nearby island of this name.

Scattered amongst the island’s gravel beaches are agates – the glassy semiprecious gemstones created when quartz crystallized within voids in volcanic rock. Lake Superior’s agates are unique for their banded rich colours of red, yellow and orange ranging from their common pea-size to a rare bowling ball size.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Lorne Allard Fisherman's Park

Fire, Rock and Flat-topped Hills

Some of the Great Lakes most astonishing natural features surround the lake’s largest city, Thunder Bay. Fort William First Nation regard Thunder Mountain, or Mount McKay, with spiritual and ceremonial significance. The distinctive flat-topped mesa of Pie Island and the prone figure of the Sleeping Giant are storied places whose volcanic rift valley origins are explained by the exploits of Nanabijou. The soaring cliffs of Caribou Island and Thunder Cape provide ideal nesting places for peregrine falcons. 

Fisherman’s Park is a junction of natural and manmade features: the Current River and the grain elevators.  From here, the land trail connects with Fort William Historical Park on the Kaministiquia River. Alternatively, the water route south passes Marina Park and Mission Marsh.

To learn more, click on the following link:
 

Thunder Bay Tourism

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Contact

(705) 946-0044

LSWC (Canada)

LSWC Inc. (USA)

285 Wilson Street

Sault Ste. Marie,

Ontario

P6B 2K6

c/o EUPRPC 

1118 E. Easterday Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

49783

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©2020 by Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy