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Canada’s Wilderness Traverse coming to Parry Sound over the weekend

Some 250 racers, volunteers, and spectators will be descending upon Parry Sound this weekend for Canada’s premier overnight adventure race. 

Wilderness Traverse is a 24 to 30-hour adventure race that has been running in Cottage Country for 12 years.

According to Barb Campbell, the Assistant Race Director, Wilderness Traverse attracts people from all over Canada and parts of the U.S.

Campbell says the way it works is they have teams of three or four men and women, including some teams that are all-male, all-female, co-ed, junior members, experienced wilderness enthusiasts as well as some doing it for the very first time.

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“We now have 61 teams and what they’re going to do is Saturday morning we’re going to give them maps and instructions and they’re going to use map and compass to travel 170 km around the Parry Sound region,” she says..”And the only ways they can travel are by foot and some of that might be Trails, ATV trails, and bushwhacking through the forest. Sometimes they might swim a river, they have mountain bikes for some sections and in other sections, they’ll be on a canoe, (with) lots of portaging because it’s the Parry Sound region.”

According to Campbell, the course is not marked at all, and the racers only have their maps while having to visit a number of checkpoints around the area. She says they will be finishing at the Stockey Centre starting first thing Sunday morning right up until 4 p.m., adding the event organizers love to have local people come out and cheer. 

Photo taken by Derek Carpenter, and rights provided by Wilderness Traverse with permission.

Campbell says the racers will be carrying GPS trackers and their locations will be shared on their website so anyone can watch and keep track of participants travelling through the region.

She says the GPS trackers display their locations and routes on a map for safety purposes and for spectators but are not used for navigation. “So, you might see somebody who’s about to come and bike down your road or paddling up your river and we love it when people come out and cheer so that’s a little idea of what’s going to happen this weekend,” Campbell adds.

That means starting sometime on Saturday, Parry Sounders will start noticing small groups of muddy people running around the forest or riding their bikes wearing matching numbered race jerseys and carrying bright headlamps after dark.

“You’ll be able to go to our website and see topographic maps with the checkpoints [participants] are going to visit and the instructions. So you’ll know if they are walking there, or canoeing there,” she says. “You’ll probably be laughing at how hard some of it is going to be [on the participants] because they’re going to go right through the night.”

She says detailed information will be released on Saturday morning and local residents are invited to check the tracking map and head out to cheer on the teams. 

In addition, same as every year, Campbell says The Breakfast Club team will be raising funds for Outward Bound Canada (OBC). “Outward Bound Canada has a charitable component and they offer programs for different kinds of vulnerable youth and adults. One example is victims of domestic abuse, they will have outdoor programs for them, there are programs for urban youth and indigenous youth as well,” she says.

“So OBC’s been our partner charity for a number of years and The Breakfast Club is an all-female team that comes all the time to our race and every year they make a huge effort, they’re at over $13,000 already, and we’re just so proud of them,” Campbell adds.

She says because the race is an outdoor event and all of the participants gain so much from being outdoors themselves, Traverse Wilderness can really relate to the value that this could offer people who are dealing with certain circumstances in their lives.

To donate you can go to and you can find the live tracking map starting Saturday at

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