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Iris along the marsh bank (Photos:  Brian Mann)
Iris along the marsh bank (Photos: Brian Mann)

Audio Postcard: Paddling the marsh where the St. Lawrence and Richelieu meet

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The last couple of weeks, our Adirondack reporter Brian Mann has been exploring the St. Lawrence River. Yesterday, we heard his report on questions surrounding the shipment of nuclear waste through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

This morning, Brian sends an audio postcard from a different sort of trip. He explored a vast marsh in Sorel, Quebec known as the Lake St. Pierre Bisophere Reserve.

The wetland --one of the biggest heron nesting grounds in North America--is formed by the St. Lawrence and by the Richelieu River which flows north out of Lake Champlain.

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A misty wet day for a paddle

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It's a foggy, cool, gray day and I've set out in my kayak along the marsh, the really vast marsh that sits at the intersection of the St. Lawrence and the Richelieu River.

One big difference here is that it's flat country. I'm out in the river plain. I can see low hills off in the misty distance.

As I'm paddling there are just the loveliest stands of iris scattered along the shore. It's remarkable that this place is only a mile or so from the main shipping channel of the St. Lawrence. I have a pair of herons, three now that I see, that I'm flushing ahead of my boat as I paddle. They are pretty cranky with me at this point.

It's such a pleasure to be buttoned up in a kayak on a rainy day like this. I know it must seem strange to people who don't paddle but you really do have a sense of kind of being down in a little cockpit out of the wind and out of the worst of the elements, sort of passing through mostly untouched, although the brim of my hat is dripping at this point.

One of the things that I love about having spent a fair amount of time in the North Country is you slowly start to connect all the dots and figure out how things link together. Just the experience of being here, at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Richelieu and getting out on the water to see what a remarkable landscape those two rivers create. A lovely experience.

Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio, Paddling in Sorel, Quebec.


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