The La Vase Portages Conservation Area provides an important access to the historic La Vase portage route for voyageurs travelling from the St. Lawrence to the interior of North America. The 11 km La Vase Portages are a series of three portages comprised of eight kilometres of waterway and three kilometres of pathway between Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing. The route was used thousands of years ago by First Nations and then by European explorers, soon becoming major transportation route.
NBMCA purchased the property in 1995 with the assistance of the Ontario Heritage Foundation and a local Restore the Link Committee. Friends of La Vase Portages offers an annual Canoe Day each July paddling and portaging the length of the trail. Their website boasts a generous amount of historic information, photos and maps about the Portages. The Portages have also been declared part of the Canadian Heritage River System and a commemorative brass plaque is viewable at the Elks Beach Conservation Area, on the shores of Trout Lake, the easterly point on the portage which paddlers used to navigate between Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing.
In 2017, NBMCA, in partnership with students from Widdifield, West Ferris and Chippewa Secondary Schools, constructed an artificial turtle nesting mound to provide a safe nesting site for turtles, hopefully preventing them from heading to the gravel shoulders of nearby Hwy 17 to lay their eggs. The mounds are monitored by trail cameras.
Trails identified on map.
Directions: From the HWY 11/17 junction near Seymour Street, head east on HWY 17 towards Ottawa. After about 3 km (1.9 mi), follow the La Vase Portage signage until you reach a small parking lot.