Allan Bickle says the “panhandle” of Algonquin Provincial Park, near his property in Harcourt, has been “like his backyard” for the past 15 years.
“I know it very well,” he says, while discussing his new business venture, Algonquin Yeti Paddling (AYP) South – Algonquin Park.
A self-proclaimed fan of the outdoors, Bickle started discovering the panhandle with his son when his sister bought a cottage in the area at the base of the park. Four years ago, he purchased 15 acres and started building his dream of a canoe guiding business.
“AYP has been in the works for a number of years, COVID hit, I had a fire in the shop which delayed my plans for two years,” he said.
However, his website is now up and running. Doors are open with a street presence, displaying his signs, paddle shack and rental canoes.
“So, it’s time to get some exposure and make it real,” he added.
AYP is just 12 kilometres from Algonquin Park’s South Gate. Bickle said AYP has 11 canoes. He added they are all 16 ft. and one 17-footer that a third seat can be added to. All canoes are Souris River which are ultralight Kevlar. They are as light as 39 lbs for portaging. AYP also offers canoe shuttles/drop-offs, outfitting and gear rentals.
However, the thing Bickle is most passionate about is guiding. He is offering guided group canoe trips; guided interior camping trips and organized local hikes and paddles. He is also getting into camping sites for those arriving late, and guided snowshoeing in winter.
“It’s the guiding side that I’m more interested in … taking people into the bush.” He wants people to leave the packing and food prep to him.
He is ORCKA certificated, as a canoe trip leader, with wilderness advanced First Aid training, and more than 30 years of tripping, camping/outdoor experience. This past winter, he did a one-week winter wilderness survival course with Lure of the North near Espanola.
“I want to take people out and let them enjoy the outdoors and teach them confidence skills, such as being bear wise, water safety, how to stabilize your canoe, proper paddling and bushcraft,” he said.
Being part of the local community is important to Bickle as well. He encouraged people to visit him at this year’s Wilberforce Fair to learn more about AYP and to get to know him.
Contact: Algonquin Yeti Paddling via 4025 Loop Rd., Harcourt, allan. firstname.lastname@example.org 905-706-3978 or aypinfo.ca