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
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.
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.