The Canoe the Heart Expedition will commemorate the centennial of Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada and the centennial of the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, USA. It also exemplifies and highlights the ongoing collaboration promoted by the Heart of the Continent Partnership that is part of the heritage of the “Border Lakes Region”.
Participants in the expedition will crew a 24-foot voyageur canoe along a +350 – mile (+563 – kilometer) route that begins in Atikokan, Ontario and continues on to Fort Frances then follows the border through Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota into Superior National Forest at Crane Lake, through Ely, and onwards to Grand Marais, then along the Lake Superior shore to Grand Portage, ending at Fort Williams in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Unlike the early voyageurs, participants will not have to carry 100-pound stacks of furs, but they will carry educational messages regarding Leave No Trace principles and non- native invasive species to deliver to those they meet along the way.
The expedition is being sponsored by the Heart of the Continent Partnership – a Canadian/ American coalition of land managers and local stakeholders working together on cross-border projects that promote the economic, cultural and natural health of the lakes, forests and communities in the Ontario/Minnesota border region.
It is the expectation of the Partnership that this centennial voyage will bring together new and existing partners in such a way as to expand and deepen relations to benefit public lands. To further this end, public events are being planned in local communities at points along the route, including Atikokan, International Falls, Crane Lake, Ely, Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, Grand Portage, Fort Williams, and Thunder Bay.
Participating agencies include:
- Superior National Forest
- Quetico Provincial Park
- Voyageurs National Park
- Grand Portage National Monument
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Friends of Quetico
- Quetico Foundation
- Voyageurs National Park Association
- Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
- Lakehead University
- And more!
Check back soon for information about events to greet the paddlers and celebrate the expedition in the many communities along the route.