Monday, July 05, 2010

Poisson Blanc Regional Park

Located less than 2 hours north-east of Ottawa/Gatineau, the Poisson Blanc reservoir has long been a popular camping destination for canoeist, kayakers, fishermen and boaters.

In May 2009, a regional park was inaugurated to preserve and enhance this natural habitat and turn it into a first-class destination for outdoor activities.

Starting with a professionally designed web site (available mostly in french and partially in english at the moment), an overview of the park, the main activities, the camping and contact information is provided. If you don't understand french but would like more details than what is provided on the english pages, you can try Google Translate's version here, particularly the camping details for full descriptions with pictures of 10 of the reservable camping sites.

Probably the best way to get good overview of what the park has to offer with it's 20+ mile length and 80+ islands is by looking at the detailed map available on their web site. You will see there are four types of campsites:
  • Reservable (for a fee): 13 sites
  • 1 to 2 tents, Unrestricted Access (free): 13 sites (plus one more as we later found out)
  • 3+ tents, Unrestricted Access (free): 7 sites
  • External to the park: 16 sites on the reservoir and another 21 sites if portaging is an option
While there are numerous put-in options on the reservoir, some public and many private, you might find it worthwhile to drive up to the park's own parking & launch site just off the road leading to the Notre-Dame du Laus village. Directions from Ottawa are available from Google here. As you arrive, you will see a generous parking lot to your left and and what appears to be an overflow area to your right

You will be greeted by friendly and informative park employees near the equipment shelter at the back of the parking lot, next to the rack of rental canoes and kayaks.

With our camping site reservation, we were provided a full color map, a blue recycling bag and and a matchbook. A large back containing enough firewood for two nights was also delivered to our site in the afternoon, by two other park employees doing the rounds and making sure everything was to our liking when we got to our campsite. They dropped by again the second day to see if we needed anything else such as extra firewood and to ask again if everything was to our liking. For those trusting their luck to find room on one of the free campsites, you can purchase the bag of wood for $8 or have it delivered to your site for $10.

The main launch area consists of a dock at the end of a trail near the back of the main parking lot. While this options may be quite suitable for canoes, it's not ideal for kayaks due to the slightly rugged shoreline.

Across the road the smaller parking lot was closed due to construction activities. We did get a special permission to launch our kayaks from the sandy beach accessible on this side (sorry no pictures to share).

The reservoir offers plenty of destination options, with tons of bays, islands, cliffs and lookouts to explore.

Given the size of the reservoir, large waves can easily develop when the wind picks up. Luckily, the numerous islands can give you some relief from the wind in certain areas.

As with any great outdoor destination, word quickly gets around and what was once a secret gem has now become a very popular destination. That means that boating & fishing activities can seem a bit overwhelming during weekends. For that reason, I would aim to go back on weekdays next time if possible. Regardless of when you go, it's still a great destination.

In my next post, I'll provide more details on our campsite and the areas we visited during this 3-day and 2-night trip.


Blogger Lee said...

beautiful spot....looks like a great fall destination for me!

9:58 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Hey marc
did you happen to notice if you had cell reception up there?

3:47 PM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

I would say partial coverage for Bell Mobility, can't say for others...Where we were camping there was no coverage, but a short paddle away and we could see a cell phone tower to the south-west providing good coverage.

8:40 PM  

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