It’s that time of year again. Lake ice is melting, birds are singing and social media is alive with a frenzy of cool outdoor contests for us to enter.


Quetico Foundation Portage Challenge

The newest contest, and a very unique one at that, comes from the Quetico Foundation. It just launched the Queitco Portage Challenge. Paddlers are encouraged to "Portage, Snap and Share" to raise awareness and funding for Quetico, the iconic wilderness class park. The Foundation has been around for 67 years, dedicated to the protection of wilderness, with a particular focus on Quetico Wilderness Provincial Park.

Starting March 23, 2021, amid the ongoing global pandemic, Quetico Foundation is encouraging all paddlers and nature enthusiasts to participate in the first annual #QueticoPortageChallenge in support of ongoing stewardship.

To participate in the challenge, choose a Quetico portage route and complete that same distance closer to home. Snap a photo or record a video and share it through social media using #QueticoPortageChallenge with a challenge to others to show their support.

There are 587 portages in Quetico Provincial Park. Half of the portages are longer than 254 metres and half are shorter. There are only two portages over 2.1 kilometres.

Need help find a portage? Click here.

A solid list of sponsors have thrown in their hat to lend a hand and give away some cool prizes for:

Longest Portage, Silliest Portage, Most Honest Portage, People’s Choice Portage

Everyone who made a donation will be entered in a draw to win a Special Edition Happy Camper Paddle by Badger Paddles.

“This ongoing pandemic reminds us of the human need to connect with wilderness,” said Chris Dobson, Executive Chair. “This challenge is an opportunity to take action and protect the solitude of Quetico’s undisturbed natural setting.”

Quetico Provincial Park was created in 1913 through passage of the Provincial Parks Act. Quetico Provincial Park is a large wilderness park in Northwestern Ontario, at nearly 5000 square kilometres. Quetico includes around 1400 kilometres of canoe routes, 587 portages, 2000 campsites and over 500 lakes. A protected wilderness area of this size is both extraordinary and rare.

This challenge empowers everyone to make an impact and support Quetico Foundation in their mission to protect Quetico’s wilderness. Donations will help with continued research in the park, biology internship program, Shan Walshe Memorial Bursary and John B. Ridley Research Library.


Paddle In The Park Contest

I've been helping out with this one since its inception in 2013. I just love the concept. A bunch of paddlers—including myself—are chosen to hide paddles (organized by and paddles donated by in the interior of some of Ontario’s provincial parks. The first year, I hid two in the wilds of Algonquin Park. The second season, I hid one in Algonquin and another in Killarney Provincial Park. This list goes on…

I thought my hiding spots were challenging and fulfilled the purpose of the project—to get more people out paddling in the interior of provincial parks. But this year I’m going to hide my paddles even deeper in the woods. So, be warned!

This year, the idea is the same. If you’re the first to find a hidden paddle. you get to keep it—and you win a bunch of other prizes as well. The contest also has placed more emphasis on the holistic rewards as well. This is the main reason I get involved every year. Sure, the paddle and prizes are the carrot on the stick to get more people outdoors—but it’s the end result that makes it all worthwhile.

Check out the YouTube video.



Algonquin Outfitters Paddle Art Contest

This is the third time for this incredibly successful contest. The first one raised over $20,000 and the second raised over $30,000 for local charities.

To get involved you simply registrar ($29.98 +tax), which includes a paddle “blank” that you can use for creating your artistic masterpiece. You can register/purchase a paddle blank at one of the Algonquin Outfitter stores listed on their site. 

You don’t have to use the paddle blanks Algonquin Outfitters provide. You can use your own. Just drop off or ship your finished art paddle(s) at a participating Algonquin Outfitters store, along with completed registration forms. And you’re welcome to enter as many art paddles as you want, as long as you pay the registration fee and submit a completed form with each one.

During the creation of your paddle, you may use any style of art you wish; painting, burning, carving, sculpture, etc.  The use of extra material to create your finished paddle art is also allowed, as long as some part of it is still a paddle. The only limitation is your imagination!

You can still see paddles from our 2019 auction for inspiration. The contest deadline is August 31, 2021.