Class Descriptions

Paddling Birch Bark and Dugout Canoes - Project Lakewell


Explore Drummond Island the same way it was done 200 years ago; in traditional hand crafted birch bark and dugout canoes. Experienced and knowledgeable, the Project Lakewell crew will lead half day expeditions in the waters surrounding the island. If paddling alone is your preference, selected dugout and bark canoes are also available for free checkout. If you are a canoe enthusiast, a history buff, an adventurer, or just want to experience the magic of paddling birch bark canoes and dugout canoes, this is truly a rare opportunity you won’t want to miss. Also be sure to go along on the voyageur canoe journey to Harbor island Nature Preserve on the outings page.

Old Time Sailing in a New Haven Sharpie - Hugh Covert


Experience traditional sailing on the Great Lakes as it was done long ago with an expert Great Lakes ecologist and passionate maritime arts master. The Gypsy M. (pictured at right) is a 1870 era replica 40 foot gaff-rigged New Haven Sharpie built by Hugh himself using 25 species of midwestern trees that he cut and sawed. Hugh is offering 2-hour guided outings aboard the Gypsy M. that will immerse (not a pun...) you in northern Lake Huron limnology, geography, wooden ship lore, and old time close-to-the-water sailing.

This is an Outing that requires pre-registration and pre-payment of the $30 fee before the event registration deadline. Since the Gypsy M. will accommodate only 6 people per outing, space is limited... so register early

Building the White Pine Dugout Canoe - Multiple Instructors


Building a boat is a truly magical and rewarding experience, and continuing the GLTAG tradition that began with the spruce bark canoe in 2013, a moose skin canoe in 2014, and a birch bark canoe in 2015, for this year we will be replicating a historic Pottawatomi dugout canoe in the collection of the Jijak Foundation. We will have the original on-site, and will be following its lines to make this historic craft live again. Guiding this project will be a team that includes the expert tool and woodworking skills of Larry Horrigan - combined with historical presentation and guidance by event hosts Kevin Finney and Erik Vosteen - who all combined have researched and built tens of dugout and bark canoes. The dugout is a very durable and practical boat that has a history spanning tens of thousands of years, and most of the globe... Come help us make another beautiful boat come alive on Warners Cove...

Canoe Poling - Roger LaBine


Warners Cove is the perfect location for learning and practicing the art of poling a canoe. Poling, or pushing the canoe with a long pole while standing in the canoe, is a technique that is used when paddling can not supply enough power to keep the boat moving. Poling enables movement in the heavy vegetation of the rice beds for harvesting manoomin, and is also often used when traveling upstream in faster rivers and streams -  poling upstream is often called “setting” in historic accounts. Roger will show how to make the push-pole and how to use it effectively in many situations.

Voyageur Canoe Expedition to Harbor Island - Project Lakewell

From the late 1600s well into the 19th Century, the waters around Drummond Island served as a busy highway of the fur trade. Hundreds of large birch bark canoes laden with goods bound for remote posts west and north of Lake Superior passed the island annually traveling up the St. Mary’s River. In recognition of this rich historical legacy, we are proud to offer an expedition in an authentic 24’ birch bark “Canot du Nord” to the Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge. The island, shaped like a giant horseshoe, is a pristine virgin wilderness which has has never been timbered or dredged. The main bay is over ½ mile wide. Harbor Island is both zoologically and botanically rich as home to coopers hawks, osprey, northern harriers, loons, bald eagles, rare orchids, gentians, and lobelias.