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Nature center gives canoe, kayak tour on Upper, Lower Lakes

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RENSSELAER FALLS — Nature enthusiasts set out on a canoe-and-kayak tour of the Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area on Saturday morning.

John T. Bursnall, president of the Indian Creek Nature Center, led the tour from 9:30 a.m. to noon. It was the center’s last of nine trips for its spring program.

Mr. Bursnall, a retired geology professor at St. Lawrence University, Canton, said being on the water lets people enjoy nature and wildlife from a different perspective.

“It gives us an opportunity of looking at a 300-plus-acre wildlife nature center,” Mr. Bursnall said. “We have trails, but this brings us further out onto the water and we can then look at the nature center from the water.”

The Indian Creek Nature Center is a nonprofit organization developed in the late 1960s to provide trips and tours that educate the public about natural and environmental history.

“We bought kayaks last year. It’s something to do. The weather is beautiful,” said Derrick D. Conway, who lives up the street from the park in Rensselaer Falls and participated in the tour.

He said he enjoys living close to nature.

“If you sit out you always see a beaver or something,” he said.

Mr. Bursnall said a reason for the tour is people are generally not allowed on the water in the management area.

“The reason for this paddle is to get a different view of this area,” he said. “Most of us don’t have a chance of getting on the water here, and we had to get a permit to do this.”

Another great aspect of the tour is seeing the many water-dependent birds that inhabit the area, Mr. Bursnall said.

“The great blue heron is one of the big ones with an enormous wingspan,” he said. “We have eagles that have nested here, and although we haven’t seen sight of the nest yet, bald eagles are around.”

Avid kayaker Susan E. Dodds brought her 9-year-old son, Daniel J. Dodds-Walters, on the tour. This wasn’t their first trip exploring nature by boat.

“We’ve taken the kayak out once before with binoculars on the Raquette River because we live really close to it in Potsdam,” she said. “We’re looking forward to experiencing a new area and seeing some of the local wildlife.”



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