The feasibility of maritime wilderness tourism on Lake Winnipeg

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Bachinski, Donald Barry
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World-wide, ecotourism and adventure travel represent a significant and growing sector of the travel industry. In particular, interest in the maritime tourism sector is exploding. Small cruise ships, yachts, and even sea kayaks now routinely visit the far reaches of the globe. Although known as a prairie province, Manitoba is also a maritime province, with a sailing history dating back to at least 1668, with the arrival of the Nonsuch in Hudson Bay. Lake Winnipeg, North America's fifth largest lake, has hosted numerous world class sailing events, including the Pan Am Games in 1967 and upcoming in 1999. Most of the lake is considered by many to be remote wilderness, and portions of it are being examined as a potential National Park. The objective of this study was to identify opportunities for, and constraints to, maritime based tourism on Lake Winnipeg. Preliminary work has shown the presence of numerous secluded beaches, wilderness anchorages, islands, and abundant, approachable wildlife. The central region in particular has ample opportunities for people to enjoy easily accessible, relatively safe, maritime wilderness tourism experiences. Although there are limited facilities on the lake, it is home to a small but active boating community. However, Lake Winnipeg is largely open, shallow, and subject to rapidly building seas. It has minimal services and most areas are far from aid. Despite some drawbacks, Lake Winnipeg possesses abundant natural qualities which could make it feasible as a maritime wilderness tourism destination.