A great way to appreciate the natural beauty of Lake Simcoe is to get out on the water. Canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding are activities that leave no trace in the natural environment, and allow you to explore parts of the lake that may otherwise be difficult to reach.
AdventureSmart, Paddle Canada and Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Organization-certified instructors Mike and Ann Valin provide stand up paddle board, kayak and canoe rentals, lessons and tours from Centennial Beach in Barrie. While these activities themselves offer a low-impact way to enjoy Lake Simcoe and Centennial Beach in Barrie, environmental stewardship efforts of the business owners extend beyond simply providing adventures, lessons and rentals.
When you book with Happy Paddling, you can be rest assured that the staff have spent the first part of their day cleaning up the beach and removing waste that others have neglected to place in the nearby receptacles.
Working daily on and around the lake, Happy Paddling is ideally suited to model respect for the natural environment and the local community to customers, and they have capitalized on this opportunity. Once signed up for a tour or rental, customers are encouraged to use reusable water bottles and deal responsibly with recycling and waste materials. Of course, boats are cleaned with water and inspected before being moved to other water bodies to avoid the transfer of any invasive species. While out on the lake, opportunities to discuss ways to protect the lake, and to share knowledge about local wildlife and fish frequently arise. Tourists have often commented on the beauty of Lake Simcoe and how fortunate we are to have this resource!
Purchases are made in line with the company vision, and the boards used by Happy Paddling are made by a company that respects both the natural environment and the health of the people who manufacture them. Other products used are locally-sourced and well-researched.
Community support is another important piece of the sustainable tourism puzzle. Happy Paddling is involved in community initiatives through the provision of free paddling-safety workshops and supporting materials for children’s groups, and the donation of paddling experiences to community charities.
Since Happy Paddling runs out of Centennial Beach, many restaurants and businesses of interest to tourists are located within walking distance. Bike racks are also available nearby. Happy Paddling capitalizes on this by recommending these local businesses while giving tourists a way to extend the “low impact” portion of their holiday. Ann Valin says “support for the community and a clean and healthy watershed is important to Happy Paddling because it promotes environmental sustainability, safe and fun active living for all of us.”
As you embark upon a day trip or longer vacation, remember to vote with your wallet. The choices you make and the businesses you support will have an impact. Selecting businesses in the Lake Simcoe watershed that take steps to protect the natural environment benefit us all and help ensure we can enjoy the beauty of the area for years to come.