The Lake Superior Water Trail
The Lake Superior Water Trail encircles the greatest expanse of freshwater on Earth. Part of this ancient water route extends 1000 km (600 miles) along the Canadian coastline of Lake Superior between Gros Cap Marina Park on Whitefish Bay and Fisherman's Park on Thunder Bay. The water trail is a significant link in the Trans Canada Trail, a 24 000 km (15 000 mile) trail system from ocean to ocean to ocean.
A number of the Lake Superior Water Trail access points are connected to TCT designated hiking trails such as the Voyageur Trail, Casque Isles Trail, Nipigon River Recreation Trail and the Coastal trails in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park.
For thousands of years, people have been traversing these waters engaged in everything from local fishing and travel to continental trade and exploration. The lake’s colour varies from Caribbean turquoise to deep-ocean blue. Terraced cobble beaches, brooding headlands, sweeping sand beaches and steep cliffs are all part of the Superior experience. The bond that today’s recreational paddlers have with all those that have come before is that this vast lake requires humble respect. Cold waters and wind fetch across this great expanse creates conditions demanding adequate skills and proper outfitting.
Building the Trail, A Collaborative Effort
Working with Trans Canada Trail and Trans Canada Trail Ontario, the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy brought together coastal municipalities, First Nation communities, Ontario Parks and National Parks across the vast geographic region of the Lake Superior North Shore to work collaboratively on this segment of the Trans Canada Trail.
The official celebration of the opening of the Trans Canada Trail took place in 2017, Canada's Sesquicentennial (150th). LSWC participated in this national achievement by opening this water segment through the summer of 2017.
LSWC will continue to implement the connection of the many wonderful water trails on Lake Superior to create an international Lake Superior Water Trail circumnavigating the entire lake.
Water Trail Access Features include:
Universal Access site plans designed by Cynthia Burkhour of Access Recreation Group for 15 priority Lake Superior Water Trail access locations with the goal being each site will be compliant under the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities) Act by July 1, 2022.
High-quality Water Trail Access Point amenities include universal access EZ Docks, Clivus Multrum composting toilets, bear-proof garbage and recycling containers, universal access picnic tables, and dog waste disposal stations.
Additional Land Trail connections to Aguasabon Gorge, Red Rock Mountain and the Nipigon River Overlooks enhance the Lake Superior water trail user's experience.
Kiosks at each access point display safety information, photos and maps connecting the Lake Superior Water Trail to local hiking trails, parks, B&Bs, food services, and local cultural attractions and other services in nearby communities and businesses.
The Lake Superior Water Trail Access Point User Survey Analysis
Report Prepared by Professor Emeritus Allen MacPherson, Trent University – Trails Studies Unit, October 2018
In July and August 2018 visitors to 14 Lake Superior Water Trail access points were surveyed by a summer student hired by LSWC under a grant from the Canada Summer Jobs program to learn more about who is using the access points, their awareness of the LSWC, water trail and what other amenities could add to their enjoyment of the Lake Superior shoreline.