THUNDER BAY - The sun was shining, the water was calm, and it was a perfect day to showcase the natural beauty of the region while also teaching important lessons about conservation.
On Sunday, the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority hosted Family Fun Days at the Hazelwood Conservation Area.
“Hazelwood Lake Conservation Areas is one of our crown jewel spots,” said Ryan Mackett, community stewardship and public relations officer with the LRCA. “It’s a great recreational area. We encourage people to come and enjoy nature and enjoy the outdoors.”
The day included presentations and activities from a variety of community partners, including Wilderness Supply Company who were giving kayak, canoe, and paddleboard demonstrations, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry K9 Unit, Skyline Falconry, MNRF Fire Prevention, EcoSuperior, and Ontario Nature.
“By hosting an event like this, where we have interactive activities for kids and the community, they can come out, enjoy nature, learn a little bit, have some fun and hopefully come back and enjoy it on their own,” Mackett said.
While only in its second year, Mackett expects several hundred people to visit the site and enjoy the activities.
For Andrea Santos and Erin Pearson, the day provided a perfect opportunity to spend some time with the family and try out kayaking for the first time.
“It’s gorgeous out there,” Pearson said after getting back to shore. “The water is calm and it was easy to get out and back. It was a great experience.”
This was Pearson’s first time on a kayak and she said she was thankful she had her friend along for the ride.
“It takes a bit of skill I think,” she said. “More than a canoe, but we worked together.”
Santos said she is from out of town and the Hazelwood Family Fun Day is a great opportunity to see what Thunder Bay has to offer.
“It’s a safe environment where I can get out and try something new,” she said. “And it’s beautiful and it’s really what you think of when you think of Thunder Bay.”
“We wanted to showcase what Thunder Bay has to offer and it’s also a good family event and we both have kids so it was a great opportunity to be outside together,” Pearson added.
Mackett said the LRCA wants the people of Thunder Bay and beyond to recognize the beauty of the surrounding area, in the hopes that they will not only come out and enjoy it, but help conserve it as well.
“Thunder Bay and the surrounding area has pristine nature all around us,” he said. “If we can encourage people to come out and enjoy these spaces, and foster sound conservation practices and make sure people respect the environment and pick up after themselves and just get out and enjoy nature.”