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Learn more about the Amazing Places you can find on this trail
Points of Interest
A boat launch ramp, floating docks, and beach site offer plenty of easy access to the river. Ample overnight parking is available on-site. Picnic tables and shelters, changehouses, and washroom amenities are available. The large sandy beach, and grassy grounds shaded by huge willows invite you to spend a while. A gift shop, interpretive exhibit and theatre are housed in the visitor’s centre. Helpful park attendants will answer any inquiries. No camping is permitted.
The HMS Radcliff, a gunboat built in a Kingston shipyard in 1817, was the last ship on the shipyard inventory before the signing of the Rush-Bagot Treaty that limited the number of armed ships in the British and American fleets. As it was not needed for combat, the ship was transformed to a working vessel. In 1969 it was recovered from the river, and is now displayed in the St. Lawrence Islands National Park boathouse at Mallorytown Landing.
A large colony of common terns has recently returned to Ice Island following an active management program of St. Lawrence Islands National Park . In the early nineties, the St. Lawrence River common tern population was seriously threatened by a quick expansion in the number of gulls in the region. Ring-billed and herring gulls compete with terns for food and, most importantly, suitable nest sites. Working in partnership with the landowner, national park staff installed an elaborate netting across the rocky island to prevent gulls from landing on the site. The netting allowed the smaller terns to land and the birds quickly established a successful colony. The common tern population in the Thousand Islands has significantly recovered and today terns are again common, gracefully flying overhead or stealthily diving head-first into the water to spear a fish.
A dark legend surrounds this lonely island. In early pioneer days on the river it was home to a French guide and his new bride. The hardworking guide took up company with an aboriginal guide, and the two got on splendidly. So well in fact, that the native guide was invited to stay the winter in the cabin with the couple. Later that year, neighbours found the smouldering ashes of the cabin, the husband murdered by axe, and the wife no where to be found. The chimney of the burned out cabin was all that remained. The chimney that stands today is a replica of the original masonry for which the island is renowned.
Brown’s Bay is a Parks of the St. Lawrence day use facility. The wave-washed sand beaches and shaded lawns beckon you to pull in for a swim or a picnic. Purchase ice, enjoy the changehouse and showers, or meet other paddlers at this convenient site. No camping is permitted. More information about Brown’s Bay Park is available at www.stlawrenceparks.com.
Whitney Point Bay
Be on the watch for mallards, geese, herons or the elusive least bittern in the river wetlands such as the marsh at Whitney Point Bay.
Jones Creek was at one time known as Toniata River, in reference to a large and somewhat mysterious First Nations village that once existed nearby. Toniata appears on many early maps of the region, but no archaeological evidence has confirmed the location of the settlement. Paddlers who venture into Jones Creek will find a relaxing paddle among river marshes bustling with shorebirds. It holds some favored fishing spots for anglers, so don’t be surprised if you share the scenery with others on the water.
Butternut Bay Village
In 1875, the St. Lawrence Central Campground was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church at Butternut Bay. Worshippers often arrived at the summer retreat by steamship to enjoy tranquil summer days. Visitors stayed in the boarding house or one of 30 cottages on the grounds. Paddle past Butternut Bay to marvel at the historic architecture reminiscent of days past.
A secure, full service launch facility at St. Lawrence Islands National Park Mallorytown Landing Beach is the best access point for this route.
Trip Length / Distance
A half- to full-day of paddling is required to explore the shores of the northern mainland, before reaching the western side of the Brock Isles.
Stovin Island lies 18km downriver from the launch at Mallorytown Landing. A wide, 3 km open-water crossing from Mallorytown Landing leads south to Adelaide Island, and the Grenadier Island route. The village of Rockport is a 10km paddle upriver along the marsh shorelines and through the Tar Island Narrows.
Notes and Cautions
Very few islands are found along this route, and shelter from wind and waves is limited. Be prepared for some rough water, and tiring paddling if the winds are up out of the east or west.
The river begins to narrow, east of Grenadier Island, slowly funneling river travelers towards the Brock Narrows. On its way east, the waters pass the ominous form of Jorstadt castle on Dark Island, a busy bird colony at Ice Island, the serenity of Jones Creek and sandstone bluffs along the northern riverbank. Take some time to visit the sites along the way to enjoy this part of the water trail.