Above: Mantario Wilderness Education Centre (from NM Archives)
This upcoming New Years Eve is the 50th anniversary of the transfer of the Mantario Cabin’s programming and maintenance to Nature Manitoba. Mantario continues to be a beloved destination for canoeists, skiers, snowshoers and hikers and all of its operations are handled by a group of highly motivated volunteers. But we may not be quite as intrepid as the crew that made the trek in 1973 to sign the lease!
Above: Mantario Wilderness Education Centre, as it looks today (by Donna Kurt)
The Mantario Wilderness Education Centre is located on a small remote island on Mantario Lake, near the Ontario boundary of Whiteshell Provincial Park.
On December 31, 1973, Tom Walker, then Chair of the Mantario Committee, together with Frank Braun, Darvel Lloyd, and Bob Hamlin got up at 5:30am at Walker’s family cottage at Florence Lake.
They skied 12 miles north in the frigid cold (-45°C) to the Mantario Cabin. There, they met two Conservation Officers who arrived by snowmobile, and were able to officially sign the lease. The agreement transferred the lease of the land and cabin to Nature Manitoba, but importantly, it dedicated the Mantario Wilderness Centre to non-motorized overland travel and to wilderness preservation.
Above: Mantario Wilderness Centre from a distance, 1980 (by Vera Froese)
The Mantario Committee is looking forward to celebrating the Cabin with two member-led ski trips in winter 2024, and creating new signage for the cabin.
To read more about the history of the Mantario Cabin, please check out this article.
Written by Katrina Froese, Mantario Committee Chair