Kayaking Georgian Bay Islands
©Outdoor Adventure Canada
journey to Beausoleil Island by kayak begins at Honey Harbour. Due to
the substantial boat traffic and unpredictable storms, only experienced
kayakers should make the trip. Beausoleil Island is the largest of fifty
nine islands that make up Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The National
Park was created in 1929 to protect this unique maritime environment.
When you approach the island you are first met by desolate
outer islands that have little or no vegetation. The sparse plant populations
range from sedges and grasses to dwarf white pine. Bleak as the existence
of these islands are; they provide a location for huge seagull and tern
colonies and stopovers for migratory birds. Beausoleil Island has a
dual personality because of its geology. The north end is barren Canadian
Shield. The flora here consist of lichens, grasses; hardy flowering
plants such as red nodding columbine that are then interspersed with
scrub red oak and red juniper and finally punctuated with wind-swept
white pine. These same weathered sentinels inspired the Group of Seven.
The north end has a stark but delicate beauty.
The southern end of Beausoleil is opposite with its lush
vegetation. This area would have had the shared the same environment
as the north if it had not been for the layers of till deposited here
by the Glaciers. These deposits provided a rich soil necessary for the
mixed hardwood forest of sugar maple, beech and oak that support wildlife
in the southern portion of the island. In addition to depositing till,
the glaciers gouged out depressions that over time have become the variety
of wetlands that dot the island. The perimeter of the island is predominantly
rocky coastline with the exception of a few sandy beaches on the eastern
shore and a beach of round stones on the western side.
The contrasting environments provide habitat for a diversity
of wildlife species. There are 33 amphibian and reptile species, more
than any other place in the country. The most noteworthy of these is
the protected Eastern Massassaga rattlesnake, the only venomous in eastern
Canada. This heavy bodied snake has a triangular head and is tan and
brown color. You can read more about this snake in our Eastern
Massassauga Rattlesnake article.
Island offers you varied camping experiences from primitive to semi-serviced
sites. Cedar Spring campground has the most amenities and has excellent
swimming. There are 87 sites and the campground has showers, flush toilets,
fire pits, stone stoves and boat docking facilities. Tonch Point campground
is next in line in the way of comforts with vault toilets and, like
the Cedar Spring campground, has stone stoves, fire pits, and docking
facilities. The point leads from the centre of the island and then protrudes
toward the east side of the Bay. Honeymoon Bay is located on the North
of the Island and is the final campground, consisting of only two sites
at either side of the Bay. This location allows campers to view the
awe inspiring big storms of the bay as they blow in. This campground
is also in close proximity to the Fairy Trail. Each campground has its
own unique view and the three are linked together by the Huron Trail.
With plentiful coves and inlets to explore, kayaking
to and around Beausoleil Island provides a memorable paddling experience
in a Canadian paradise.
For additional information please visit the Georgian
Bay Islands National Park website.
Related Forum Posts:
Beausoleil Island (backpacking)
Written by Laurie March
Photo of smooth rock shoreline ©Parks Canada/W. Waterton/Collection
Bottom Photo ©Parks Canada