| Aug 13, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - August 13, 2009 Cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoonby Marilyn Barnett

…or in the morning! On Sunday, August 23, you are invited to join local field naturalists on a guided eco tour of an ecologically interesting stretch of the Mississippi River. There will be several optional modes of travel: you can purchase a ticket for the Voyageur Canoes to see the river as the first settlers may have done; join Tom Stephenson on his pointer boat to experience how the log drivers maneuvered down the river (but without the need to herd any logs!); by pontoon boat to relax comfortably or join in with your own canoe or kayak.

These eco river tours, part of the Mississippi River Heritage Festival in McDonalds Corners on August 22 and 23, focus on the rich natural heritage of the river.

The Province of Ontario has given the Mississippi River a high heritage ranking for good reason - its rich abundance and wide variety of plant and animal life. According to plant specialist David White, one section that stands out from a diversity perspective is the swamp and marsh-lined portions of the river downstream from Dalhousie Lake. The Algonquin understood the many values of the plant and animal life and some of this traditional knowledge will be shared as you explore the natural wonders of the river’s shorelines. Observe the bugs, birds and butterflies. Learn about the ferns, fish and fireflies. Wonder at the beaver houses, bulrushes and bitterns, and the eagles soaring overhead. Gain an appreciation of the marshes, weeds and the “ribbon of life”. Better understand the interrelationships of the whole ecosystem as you pass by.

There will be three scheduled tours, at 8:30AM, 10:30AM and 1PM, departing from Sylvania Lodge dock at the base of Dalhousie Lake for the 90-minute return trip down the Mississippi towards Sheridan Rapids. The Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County, sponsor of this event, will also be providing informative brochures to enhance this wonderful experience.

Limited advance tickets for the Voyageur Canoes are available at the Nature Lover's Bookshop in Lanark Village. There will be no charge for the pontoon and pointer boat tours, and people are welcome to take their own canoe or kayak down the river. Visit www.mississippireiverheritagefestival.ca for further information regarding these outings and the Mississippi River Heritage Festival, or call 613-259-5654.

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