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Eighteen-year-old paddler attempting solo kayak trip around Lake Winnipeg

Update: Alex successfully launched from Grand Beach on June 27 and is map tracking his progress. See where he is by clicking here.

Alex Martin, an 18-year-old kayaker from Winnipeg who is graduating from high school this June, is about to embark on an epic summer adventure.

Alex will be attempting to circumnavigate the entire shoreline of Lake Winnipeg by kayak – a 1,750 km trip that he will be attempting solo which will take approximately two months to complete.

Alex Martin (photo: Garrett Fache)

Alex is an experienced wilderness paddler who has travelled internationally to kayak. Alex has grown up paddling on Lake Winnipeg. He sees his summer 2018 adventure as a chance to share his passion with others, raise awareness about the many recreational activities this iconic body of water has to offer, draw attention to areas along Lake Winnipeg’s shoreline that are recognized for their ecological and cultural importance (for example, proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site Pimachiowin Aki), and connect with people who live in lakeside communities.

“My goal with this trip is to help promote water stewardship on Lake Winnipeg. I am incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to attempt this trip, and very grateful for the support and encouragement that I have received from my parents, the paddling and adventure community, and the organizations that I have been able to work with on this project,” he says.

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation is supporting Alex’s goal to use his trip for educational purposes. Beginning in spring 2018, LWF and Alex have been jointly presenting to Winnipeg schools, talking to students of all ages about topics including the ecological challenges currently threatening Lake Winnipeg’s health and the preparation involved in planning an outdoor adventure. These presentations will continue in fall 2018.

Safety is paramount. Despite his young age, Alex has had the opportunity to gain experience in many facets of paddling and train with professional kayakers from around the world. He has trained with wilderness medical experts and professionals in animal safety, as well as reached out to individuals and organizations from around Lake Winnipeg to gain further knowledge of the areas through which he will be paddling. He will be taking all precautions necessary to stay as safe as possible both on and off the water, including ending his journey if it is not safe to proceed.

Alex’s circumnavigation attempt is set to begin on Wednesday, June 27. Subject to change, the plan is to depart from the beach at Grand Marais Point in Grand Beach Provincial Park. (All are invited to meet at 10 a.m. on the beach in front of Parking Lot 1, just after the gate entrance while driving down Highway 12). From there, he’ll paddle to the southernmost point of the lake, continue up the west side of the south basin and make his way into the north basin, where some sections will take Alex more than 100 km from the nearest community. His adventure will continue down the east side of Lake Winnipeg; if successful, he will finish where he started sometime in late August.

Alex will be documenting his experience on the Lake Winnipeg Circumnavigation website, where a GPS map will be available for supporters interested in tracking his daily progress. He’ll also be posting updates from his journey on Facebook and Instagram. Paddlers looking to join Alex on the water for a day are encouraged to contact him online.

At LWF, we are always inspired by young lake-lovers who channel their passion into action for water stewardship. We wish Alex a safe and rewarding adventure!

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