People passionate about nature

Back to the Backcountry

After a two year pandemic-directed hiatus, the Mantario Summer Program resumed this past summer.

Located in Whiteshell Provincial Park in the Mantario Wilderness Zone, our cozy Mantario Cabin accommodates up to 16 people with a large common living/dining area. There is a fully-equipped kitchen with both wood and propane stoves for cooking. Solar powered lights and composting toilets add off-grid conveniences. The only cabin in the entire wilderness zone, it overlooks the southern bay of Mantario Lake, with a wood-fired sauna near the water's edge as a special highlight.

The Mantario Summer Program is organized by volunteers, and led by volunteer trip guides with experience canoeing, traveling in the Wilderness Zone, and with knowledge to share! Five trips were organized, and two of the trips had full registration. For many participants, this is their introduction to the area, and the wonders of a wilderness canoe trip. For others, it is returning to a place they want to experience as often as possible.


Mantario Through the Looking Glass July 11 - 15

Botanist Charles Burchill and photographer Brian Hydesmith led a 5-day ‘Mantario Through the Looking Glass’ trip in July, focusing on the diversity of local native plants and capturing some beautiful visual memories. Five canoes set out on a Monday morning in early July, with a stop on one of the islands on Big Whiteshell Lake to check prickly pear cactus blossoms.

Prickly Pear blossoms

The trip to the cabin creates a quick bond as a group. The canoe route consists of a chain of lakes connected by portages, and takes about 8 hours. The journey is as important as the destination. Everyone always appreciates a hot meal and a well-earned rest.

Our lunch stop on Ritchey Lake provides a nice break midway through the first day.

After completing the Up-and-Over portage from between Lakes Two and Three.

Tuesday through Thursday, the group made daily excursions by canoe and hiking to various locations in the area, with frequent stops to learn about the botanical wonders of the region.

Botanist leader Charles Burchill shares details about aquatic plants.

An excursion hiking over a large floating bog to the remnants of an old trapper’s cabin.

As always, the experiences and activities combined with enjoyment of meals and socializing the cabin make for an excellent trip. Highlights included wildlife sightings including trumpeter swans and a big snapping turtle, hiking on a floating bog to the remnants of an old trapper’s cabin, beautiful sunsets, swimming and saunas, blueberry picking and time spent getting to know one another.

Sunset Hill

The Mantario Cabin island

Peaceful early morning paddles



Mantari-Yoga: August 19 - 22

Katrina Froese and Alerry Lavitt led a 4-day Mantari-Yoga trip in August. Five canoes set out on a windy Friday morning for a long day of paddling and portaging to get to Mantario Cabin. The group gelled along the way, helping one another to shoulder packs, carry canoes, and keep pressing forward.

The group enjoyed meals and restful mornings at the cabin, and long, restorative sessions of yoga (on soft mats) led by Alerry Lavitt were a highlight. We also explored nearby trails on foot and paddled to visit tiny Hop Lake. The wood-fired sauna was a hit, as well as floating in the cool lake afterwards.




The Mantario Committee would also like to acknowledge the commitment and effort of trip leaders who were unable to lead their trips this summer due to participant cancellations  - Astronomy (Heather Matheson), Mushrooming (Donna Kurt) and Family Week (Cam Stacey and Abe Friesen).

The Mantario Program is run by committed volunteers - and we welcome anyone with an interest in the cabin and wilderness zone to get in touch with us at Share your theme ideas for the next Summer Program! Reach out if you would like to become an approved trip leader and cabin user! Volunteers interested in becoming approved cabin users are invited to join 'work party' trips to maintain the cabin and trails.

Thank you to everyone connected to the Mantario Cabin for keeping this important aspect of Nature Manitoba going strong year after year.

By Brian Hydesmith and Katrina Froese

Photos supplied by Brian Hydesmith and Katrina Froese