Éco-Odyssée concept brings beavers' world to life
In 1997, Michel Leclair had a vision to share his deep knowledge of beavers and their habitat after acquiring a vast property in Wakefield. Inspired by the beaver's network of underwater canals resembling a labyrinth, Leclair developed the concept of a water maze, allowing visitors to experience the marsh environment from a beaver's perspective. Thus, the Éco-Odyssée project was born.
At the heart of Éco-Odyssée is a sprawling water labyrinth consisting of 64 intersections, stretching over 6.4 kilometers. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the labyrinth on pedal boats, immersing themselves in the diverse flora and fauna found in the marsh. The ingenious design provides a beaver's eye view, with the boats hovering just above the water's surface, offering a unique perspective on the plants and wildlife.
The development of Éco-Odyssée began in 2002, and by 2007, after months of trial runs with the public, the project came to fruition. Since then, the venture has welcomed over 150,000 visitors and evolved to offer a variety of exciting adventures.
One of the new additions is "The Bugologue", a pedestrian path winding through the forest of white cedar, black spruce, and fir, where visitors can explore the world of insects. Another adventure called "Predator/Prey" delves into the world of predation, allowing participants to identify animal tracks and dung. For those seeking a more interactive challenge, "The Rapido" adventure involves finding numbered posts in the walking maze. Additionally, Éco-Odyssée offers scientific adventures that allow students to learn about the marsh's fauna and flora through photography.
In recent years, Éco-Odyssée has continuously expanded its offerings. The introduction of paddle boarding in the maze brought a new dimension to the experience, while the open-air multimedia projection show, "Eco-Noctura", added a touch of magic during the summer season. Winter activities, including skating in the labyrinth, became a popular option for visitors. The summer of 2022 brought yet another exciting addition with the inclusion of the Hebertism trails, providing more opportunities for adventure and exploration at the site.
As Éco-Odyssée celebrates its sixteenth year, it invites visitors to witness the breathtaking Perseids meteor shower from August 10 to 13, 2023. The Perseids event offers a unique opportunity to observe shooting stars from a boat, gliding through the heart of the marsh.
To participate, visitors can choose from various boats, including pedal boats, canoes, paddleboards (SUP), and kayaks. Equipped with an adventure map and following wooden figurines, visitors will navigate the labyrinth, guided by the wonders of the night sky. (Please note: Flashlights are mandatory for the Perseids event, and long-sleeve clothing and insect repellent are strongly recommended.)
For more information and to schedule your Éco-Odyssée adventure, please visit: https://www.eco-odyssee.ca/
Photo caption: Stargazing adventure at Éco-Odyssée: witness the Perseids Meteor Shower from the heart of the marsh, August 10-13, 2023.
Photo credit: Tashi Farmilo