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2020 Mattawa River Canoe Race cancelled due to COVID-19

(North Bay, Ontario, May 1, 2020)   The 2020 Mattawa River Canoe Race set for July 25 has been cancelled for due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It takes a great deal of time and effort to make the arrangements for a successful event and the lead time we need has been dwindling away with the restrictions everyone is facing. This coupled with the need to follow provincial direction regarding physical distancing and restricting large gatherings made the decision obvious,” said Brian Tayler, NBMCA CAO.

“We’re also sensitive to the financial situation some of our race sponsors and businesses who donate prizes are facing.  Other considerations included giving paddlers and their families advance notice for planning.  We’ll be back as good as or better than ever for our 45th year in 2021,” he added.

The Mattawa River Canoe Race is a 64 km paddling marathon which starts at Olmsted Beach on Trout Lake and ends at the Mattawa Island Conservation Area.   There is also a 13 km race which starts at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park for youth and families, that also ends at Mattawa Island.

In 2019, 110 paddlers from across Canada paddled in 69 canoes, kayaks and paddleboards in 12 pro and recreational categories.  The race follows the historic canoe route followed by First Nations and later the European explorers and fur traders.  

The next Race is scheduled to be held on July 24, 2021. For more information about the Mattawa River Canoe Race,  visit www.mattawarivercanoerace.ca

The Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area hike which is normally scheduled for the day before the race has been postponed until the fall, depending on a change in provincial restrictions regarding physical distancing and public gatherings.  If the restrictions are not lifted by the fall, the 2021 hike will be held Friday, July 23.

The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) was founded in 1972 by the Province of Ontario and the NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities. A non-profit organization, the NBMCA works closely with the public to balance human needs with the environmental needs of the region’s watershed. The NBMCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities who are members of Conservation Ontario.


NBMCA Opens Conservation Areas for Long Weekend

(North Bay, Ontario, May 15, 2020)   All but one of North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority’s conservation areas will be officially opened Saturday for passive use while a few amenities, such as washrooms, will remain closed.

While most conservation areas remain accessible year round, a few are gated and closed for the winter season. NBMCA typically opens those prior to the Victoria Day long weekend.  This year, in light of COVID-19, NBMCA took into consideration provincial restrictions and today’s announcement from the Province allowing the next steps in reopening.

“NBMCA has been following the recommendations of our local public health experts, keeping our trails open to promote health and wellness, while encouraging the public to respect physical distancing for our community’s safety.  Opening up the conservation areas which were closed for the winter gives people more opportunity to get out in nature in the spirit of the province’s reopening framework,” said NBMCA Chair Dave Mendicino.

“All of our conservation areas with the exception of Mattawa Island, will be open for passive trail use Saturday.  Boat launches will be opened, the Papineau Lake dock will be installed in the near future while washrooms and beaches will remain closed for now,” said Troy Storms, Manager of Lands and Stewardship.

Mattawa Island remains closed to limit access to the basketball court, beach and other amenities in that particular conservation area.

NBMCA has seen continued use of its trails over the last few months.  The use has been increasing with the warmer weather, including at Laurier Woods Conservation Area in North Bay.

“The trails at Laurier Woods are being well used,” said Fred Pinto, Chair of Friends of Laurier Woods which co-owns Laurier Woods with NBMCA.

“While people are enjoying the trails, we would like to remind them to maintain physical distancing, keep their dogs on leash, stay on the trails, and leave nature in its place by not picking and removing natural items such as tree bark and wild flowers,” said Pinto.

NBMCA will continue to monitor the provincial phasing approach to opening up activities in the province and will consider opening washrooms and beaches in accordance with public health recommendations and provincial direction.

The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) was founded in 1972 by the Province of Ontario and the NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities. A non-profit organization, the NBMCA works closely with the public to balance human needs with the environmental needs of the region’s watershed. The NBMCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities who are members of Conservation Ontario.


Beaches at Elks Beach and Eva Wardlaw Conservation Areas Open

(North Bay, May 29, 2020)  Beaches at Elks Beach Conservation Area on Trout Lake, off Hwy 17 and Eva Wardlaw Conservation Areas, on Lake Nipissing off Lakeshore Dr. North Bay, are now open effective May 29, 2020.

The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) adds that there are two restrictions in place: any persons using the beach must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (six feet) from other people on the beach, other than those with whom they live. Social gatherings of more than five people on the beaches and in the conservation areas remain prohibited due to Provincial COVID-19 Restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The opening of beaches aligns with the province's gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions on outdoor recreation amenities. However NBMCA will monitor beach use and if public gatherings or physical distancing are an issue, NBMCA may consider reclosing the beaches.

If you arrive at a beach that is too busy or crowded, NBMCA asks beach goers to wait or return another time when there enough space to properly practice physical distancing.  

All NBMCA conservation areas and trails, except for Mattawa Island Conservation Area, are now open to the public for passive use.   Mattawa Island remains closed at this time.

The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) was founded in 1972 by the Province of Ontario and the NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities. A non-profit organization, the NBMCA works closely with the public to balance human needs with the environmental needs of the region’s watershed. The NBMCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities who are members of Conservation Ontario.