“In July 1983 when we dipped our paddles for the first time into Lake Superior, we were part way into a voyage across Canada by canoe from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Beaufort Sea. We experienced Lake Superior’s watershed within the broader context of North America’s watersheds from sea to sea,” Gary and Joanie McGuffin said, in a letter explaining their involvement with the new Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council.

“When we arrived at the top of the Great Lakes watershed, it was a major milestone in our voyage, and a place that served to inspire us to circumnavigate this inland sea by canoe in 1989. We came to know Lake Superior, in its four seasons, as a magnificent entity binding nations together by way of water, geography, geology, history, people, and bird migrations.

Check out the web site for Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council.

“However despite the relatively small human population and the seemingly abundant freshwater surrounded by forested landscape with its many established national, state and provincial parks, we know the Lake Superior Watershed faces enormous challenges in the 21st century.

Read about another team circumnavigating Lake Superior right now, Lake Superior Circumnavigation.

“This watershed has long provided the minerals, trees and fish to support local communities in both Canada and the United States. This wealth has been all but exhausted. And now that freshwater, not oil, is this century’s most valuable commodity worldwide, huge pressures loom for the lake’s greatest asset, the water itself.

“Lake Superior and its watershed is our Home, and the spirit of the land is part of that Home. It is a Home we are privileged to share with wolves, caribou, moose, lynx, bears, eagles and a myriad of creatures great and small. We believe our daughter Sila, and all the children of tomorrow, have a birthright to inherit a world rich with the complex diversity of life, places where we only hear the sounds of nature, and the gift of air and water free of toxins. There is still is an opportunity to make this a reality here in the Lake Superior watershed. It can, and will be, an example for the rest of the world.”

The Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council (LSCWC) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the long- term sustainable health of the Lake Superior watershed through basin- wide communication, education, scientific study, preservation and conservation of Lake Superior and its ecosystems.

This new international conservancy will be officially launched October 11 at its new headquarters in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“The Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council brings a basin-wide perspective and mission to ensuring the long-term sustainable health of Lake Superior and its ecosystems," Gary McGuffin said in a statement October 5. He is the president and chairman of the board for the council.

“We are focused on developing and supporting basin-wide communication, education, scientific study, preservation and conservation. Our mission is broad and comprehensive. We know there are significant opportunities and challenges ahead,” McGuffin said.

“We also know that we are not alone in this work. There are a multitude of individuals, groups of volunteers, and organizations engaged in projects to protect lakes, streams, rivers, shoreline, and wetlands close to home. There are a number of provincial, state, national and international agencies and organizations engaged in specific management and research projects within the Lake Superior watershed. We have much to learn about all these initiatives and how they might be coordinated and integrated to achieve the best results,” said vice-chair, Ruth O'Gawa.

The launch and reception will be held Wednesday, October 11 at Algoma's Water Tower Inn Grand Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Invited guests are a who’s who from the environmental movement on both sides of the border, community representatives, outdoor enthusiasts, and Champions of the Great Lakes Heritage Coast.

“There is a tremendous amount of energy building focused on protecting the Great Lakes in general, and Lake Superior in particular. This is a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the future of the Greatest Freshwater Lake on Earth, for now and for future generations,” said Brian Christie, executive director.

Gary and his wife Joanie are renowned canoeists and naturalists. Through Gary’s photography and Joanie’s writing, they’ve brought the Canadian forests, lakes, and rivers to life for everyone.