Family Canoe Trip Tips

Family Canoe Trip Tips

The BWCA and Quetico Park offer a vast variety of camping and canoeing opportunities for all ages and skill levels. Family canoe trips are a fantastic way to introduce youth to nature. You need to keep in mind during the initial stages of planning the ages and abilities of your youth. This will help maximize the ejoyment of your BWCA or Quetico Park canoe trip.

Gear the trip around the youth. Choose routes that include waterfalls, pictographs, streams, small rapids and/or hiking trails. Offering a variety of activities will keep boredom from setting in. Also, as you begin to plan out the meals for the trip, allow the youth to choose meals that they would like to prepare out on the trail. Watch their faces light up as they become camp chefs (with some adult assistance if necessary). Allowing the youth to participate in all aspects of the trip (from cooking to assisting in setting up camp) will make for a very exciting and memorable camping experience.

With young children, consider traveling no more than 5 to 7 miles per day. Basecamp trips may be an excellent choice if you plan to travel with children under 7 years old. Basecamping allows you to set-up one camp and work out of that camp taking day trips into surrounding areas - without having to breakdown camp each day.

Take time to explore the streams and portage trails you travel over. Crayfish, minnows, frogs and numerous other aquatic "critters" inhabit the shoreline and shallows of lakes. Ruffed grouse, pine squirrels and chipmunks frequent portage trails and camp sites. Imagine the excitement as a gray jay lands on the log and takes a piece of bread from your child's hand.

If you aren't familiar with many of the common plants, wildlife and birds of our area (or if it has been a while!) bring along some field guides to use as references to the new wonders you will discover.

Fire-up your child's enthusiasm by allowing them to carry their very own pack filled with clothing, personal items and sleeping bag. A separate smaller pack can hold your field guides, playing cards, traveling games and books during the trip. These activities come in handy during inclimate weather or in the evening before bed.

The most exciting part of any family trip is marking out your route each night on large scale maps. Noting the exciting places you explored and the new things you learned are bound to make for magical memories. The map also makes a wonderful poster after the trip!

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