view of Georgian Bay from Franklin Island

may long weekend on franklin island

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This is a GLSKA trip. You must be a GLSKA member to go on this trip. Membership is only $35.

Franklin Island Little Lake

Franklin Island, looking east from Little Lake

Meet at Snug Harbour and paddle to a campsite. Over the weekend we can do a circumnavigation of the Island (+/- 18 km), visit the Red Rock Lighthouse (5 km crossing), or weather permitting, paddle from Winkler to Green Island and the Northern Minks (+/- 7km). If the weather is too rough to attempt any major crossings, we’ll explore the interior of Franklin and the Shebeshekong Channel.

history of franklin island

Franklin Island is named after Sir John Franklin, the arctic explorer who died on the Erebus in 1847 while attempting to find the Northwest Passage. He passed by the island on his way north for his second expedition in 1828.


The rocks that we’ll be camping on are part of the Canadian Shield, that was formed about a billion years ago when sedimentary rock was melted and twisted into the contorted shaped we can see now. This is igneous (volcanic) rock.


The soil is very thin here, or non-existent in many places, as a result of the glaciers that were here in the last ice age, 10.000 years ago, which left the great lakes.


Trees on Franklin are mostly White Pine, Red Oak, Jack Pine, some Red Maple, White Birch, Alder. Look for  Sweet Gale, a traditional insect repellent and cure for stomach aches,  Cottongrass (Eriophorum), Lily of the valley (poisonous!), and Pickerel weed (Pontederia). Reindeer Lichen, Haircap Moss grows on the rocks and Peat Moss (Sphagnum) in wet areas.


Massasauga Rattlesnake

Massasauga Rattlesnake

There are poisonous snakes on the island. I was lucky enough to see a Massasauga Rattlesnake in 2014. They’re beautiful, very shy and nice enough to warn you when you get too close. The Eastern Fox Snake is harmless. You might see Bald Eagles, Osprey and lots of gulls, terns and ducks.

At this time of year, the mosquitoes and black-flies are not out yet, or only just barely, and you may have a nearly bug-free experience. I’ve seen occasional clouds of midges that are so thick they look like smoke, but those don’t bite or sting.

There is a fox that visits the campsite on Regatta Bay.

Parking and launching

Snug Harbour can be busy. Please park in paid parking spots ($7.50/day) at the marina. When unloading your boat, don’t leave it on the dock, but on the side of the road, park your car, and then pack your boat. We’ll carry the loaded boats (4 people) and keep our time on the dock to an absolute minimum.


Gilly’s has a nice restaurant and store.

If you forgot, or need to replace or rent some paddling gear, the White Squall Paddling Centre is less than 30 minutes away.



White Squall does their first-timers trip on Franklin Island$545.html


Reynolds, Jonathon, and Heather Smith. Kayaking Georgian Bay. Erin, Ontario; Buffalo, N.Y.: Boston Mills Press, 1999. Print. pp. 87-93



Friday May 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST (7 months and 28 days from now)
Saturday May 23, 2015 at 4:00 PM EST
11 months 27 days 20 hours
Snug Harbour
Snug Harbour
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