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Boreal Community Media

The Gunflint Trail annual Canoe Races draw hundreds, raise money for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department

Jul 24, 2023 09:43AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: The crowd moved from the tented refreshment area to the lake shore to view the evening's races. All photos by Tryg Solberg

By Tryg Solberg for Boreal Community Media - July 24, 2023

Hundreds of people showed up on the evening of July 19, 2023, to participate in or spectate the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races. The races started at 6 pm with various categories including tandem and backward paddling, and a finale "gunwale pumping" race. 

The races were about a hundred yards off the shore of Gunflint Lake at Gunflint Lodge, keeping the spectators close to the action. Participants of many ages competed against each other in races of 9-12 aluminum canoes. Local outfitters and canoe camps battled over the "Trail Cup" and bragging rights over the domination of the trail. In the end, the Tuscarora & Hungry Jack Lodge duo took the victory, with Menogym as the runner-up. 

Gunflint Lodge owners John and Mindy Fredrikson were very satisfied with the turnout to the event and said that “The event will continue to occur on the third Wednesday of July”. 

While total donations were still being calculated, John said that it was a very successful night of fundraising for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. He hopes to get even more participants and spectators out in the coming years to support the good cause.

Visitors and locals from all corners of the Gunflint Trail came to join in the entertaining evening. Tents kept the event prepared for the chance of rain that was present throughout the event.

 The annual event is a fundraiser for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department

 Local community radio station WTIP interviews one of the event organizers. 

 Event participants wearing their race bibs were interviewed by local station WTIP.

 The matching aluminum canoes created an even playing field in the races.

Two volunteers pose in their booth at Gunflint Lodge. Proceeds from the races and food sales go towards supporting the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

 Action in the youth/adult mix kicked off the evening's races. The Canadian hills across Gunflint Lake appear in the background.

 The 55+ "senior race" coming into the finishing buoys. All race participants were provided life jackets, straight paddles and canoes to use.

 55+ finishers paddling to shore after their race

Teams congratulated each other after the 55+ race.

 Part of the crew from YMCA Camp Menogyn, this year's Trail Cup runner-ups.

 The racing crew from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

 The Race director gives instructions and rules to the long course participants.

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