There has never been a greater need for society to unplug and reconnect all at the same time. The Paddle In The Park Contest was originally created as a way to help inform and remind people of the many rewards of getting outside, from the benefits we see in our health and well being, to supporting our parks and wild places.

Thus, the Paddle in the Park campaign was conceived in 2013 by two friends as a way to raise interest in wilderness tripping and to make more people aware of all the benefits of spending time in nature. Looking to scientific journals and news reports, Preston and Fiona put together a list of nine reasons why humans need contact with the natural world, ranging from better sleep, sharper cognitive skills, disease-resistance, improved self-esteem and relationships, as well as to help protect our parks and wild places.

10 icons with a forest background illustration to depict the rewards and reasons why people should spend time in nature everyday

With the hope to encourage more people to get “Out There”, Badger Paddles and Portaguer.ca got together with a number of Ontario paddle sports industry leaders to help promote spending time in the wilderness (parks and conservation areas, as well as other remote locations) by way of an interesting campaign.

After putting together 9+1 Rewards and Reasons to spend time in nature, we then gave wilderness trippers a chance to claim a handcrafted Badger canoe paddle, hidden somewhere along the many vast water trails in Ontario. Many people were inspired by the challenge and went out into the backcountry looking for the hidden paddles. Miraculously, all were found and claimed. We continued the tradition in 2014, and in 2015, we developed an additional “Paddle Points” system so those who are unable to take part in the paddle-seeking part of this popular campaign, will still have a chance to share their love of Nature and all of her rewards, all while increasing their chance of winning some cool gear and other prizes. We did it again in 2016 and in 2017 to bring us to a full 5 years of wilderness advocacy and adventures.

And now we are back for 2019 with our much-loved paddle seeking challenge as well as our #PaddlePoints event!



“this is like an awesome version of charlie and the chocolate factory…” ~Andrew M. (by comment via Facebook)

The paddle seeking portion of the contest starts July 1st and runs until November 5th, 2019 or until all the paddles are found – which ever comes first. The PADDLE POINTS portion of the contest opens July 7th, 2019 and closes November 5th, 2019, with winners to be announced shortly there after. But be sure to read the contest rules before you enter, because it’s really important that you do!

Paddle In The Park Contest; More History & Current Times

In our first year , Hap Wilson (Environmentalist, Author, Artist, Cartographer), Kevin Callan (The Happy Camper), and Preston Ciere (Writer: Portageur.ca) hid 6 canoe paddles at different dates in undisclosed locations (along the portage trails) around 3 different canoeing areas in Ontario (Algonquin, Temagami, and Killarney) and who ever found them while on trip – got to keep them!

As an incentive for recording the found paddles with us, we also compiled a number of backend prizes that the paddle finders received once they have contacted us to let us know they have, indeed, found the paddle. Always with pictures and a good story to share with the rest of us too.

In 2014 we hid more paddles and enlisted the help of author Conor Mihell, past paddle-finder Doug Gordon, and expert guide Andrea Wilson. In 2015 we created the #PaddlePoints system and also hid 6 paddles with the help of some of our past paddle-hiders and 2016 we hid 4 more paddles, including a special PORTAGE QUEEN paddle from Algonquin Outfitters.

In 2017, we celebrated the 5th year anniversary of the Paddle in the Park Contest and paid homage to canoeing history and the Voyageurs of days past as well as the Group of Seven. More paddles were hidden and then found. More #PaddlePoints were collected and more rewards were received. We went on hiatus for the 2018 season.

A graphic depicting a mash up of the Portageur and Badger paddles logos using the number 10

This year we are back, in honour of Badger Paddles and Portageur.ca who are both coincidentally celebrating 10 year anniversaries, and to once again get more people to spend more time in nature by way of wilderness canoe tripping.

Hence, there will be 10 Badger canoe paddles in the wilds of Ontario for you to claim for a chance to also win a Nova Craft Canoe and more. Plus to help make more people aware of the rewards of getting “Out There”, we have once again compiled a bunch of prizes to give away to those who are unsuccessful in their paddle-seeking, are unable to access paddle-seeking areas, or who are too far away. Because with the #PADDLEPOINTS system, even more of you can help us raise awareness for all the rewards found in Nature and win prizes too… like a brand new Prospector from Swift Canoe & Kayak!


#FindThePaddle #KeepThePaddle #PathOfThePortageur

There are 10 (ten) Badger® Canoe Paddles that will available along the water trails of some of the more popular canoeing destinations of Ontario with a few different means by which to claim one.

  • Clues to a hidden paddle’s specific location will be offered throughout the summer, becoming increasingly specific as needed.
  • Hidden paddles are marked with a special collectors wooden tag with instructions and other information..
  • Preston and any guest Portageurs may be looking for Paddle and PaddlePoints seekers while “Out There”on trip to possibly reward with a Badger canoe paddle to claim as their own.
  • Keep your official 2019 flag paperwork visible to better help let Preston know you are “Out There” seeking our 9+[1] Rewards (prizes).
  • Any unclaimed paddle at the end of our Portageur’s trip will stay hidden, left “Out There” for you to seek and find.
  • Once you find and claim a paddle, be sure to contact us and you will receive more great prizes and be entered to win a Nova Craft canoe!

NEW for 2019: Prizes, besides the elusive canoe paddles, include maps from Unlostify and more – plus a chance to win a 16′ Prospector by Nova Craft Canoe with our first ever #PathOfThePortageur Grand (Paddle Finder) Prize for 2019!


#PaddlePoints #PaddleToHeal #RewardsAreOutThere

There are a limited number of “PADDLE POINTS” up for grabs this summer. Share your outdoor adventures with us this season for a chance to win some great gear and prizes!

  • Upload photos of you and your friends completing tasks from our official list of various outdoor related challenges in exchange for Paddle Points and a chance to win gear and prizes from our fabulous sponsors, including a new Prospector from Swift Canoe!
  • By naturally incorporating any official 2019 PITPC flag image in your photos, you will receive the full points value for each verified photo! (No digital/photo editing programs please. See contest rules for more details.)
  • By naturally incorporating the official PITPC hashtag “#RewardsAreOutThere” in your photos, or when you include a copy of one of the previous PADDLE POINTS Flag images from years past, you will receive up to 5 points for each verified photo. (No photo editing programs please! See contest rules for more details.)
  • There is a total of ten photos to submit, one for each reward category, with each photo being worth up to 10 PADDLE POINTS each – depending on what, if any, official PITPC paperwork is used.
  • Share your PADDLE POINTS photos and camping adventures with all of us this season and at the end of the contest, entrants within each title class will have a chance to win the prize pack for their coinciding title class and more!
  • You will need a total of 100 PADDLE POINTS to be considered eligible to win the Wilderness Guide Grand Prize.

PITPC prize packs include the title classes Explorer, Pathfinder, and the coveted 1st class title of Wilderness Guide

Thanks to all of our sponsors, contributors, and associates for their very supportive response. The Paddle In The Park Contest would not be the same without you! In addition, a special thanks to Preston Ciere for his tremendous passion and dedication to getting people “Out There”. Without him this contest would not be happening. And without this contest, we would not be having near as much fun this summer as we are now. Thanks also to Fiona and Mike of Badger Paddles, for inspiring so many to get “Out There”. The biggest of thanks as well to Hap Wilson and Kevin Callan for being so supportive and generous – not only with their time but also with their work. Very special gentlemen, indeed. Plus an extra big thanks to Andrea Wilson (expert guide, paddle hider, and Queen of The Dreaded Portage) for becoming our first official female paddle-hider in 2014.  And finally, a special thanks to our good friends at Nova Craft Canoe, Killarney Outfitters, Algonquin Outfitters, Swift Canoe & Kayak, and the rest of our amazing friends and sponsors for all that they do to help make the PITPC the best outdoor advocacy campaign – disguised as a contest – ever!