THUNDER BAY, ON - May 1, 2009 - On Saturday, May 2, photographer, writer and kayaking guide Bryan Hansel from Grand Marais,, Minnesota, will paddle out of the Grand Marais harbour on a 5-month, 3,800-mile solo kayak circumnavigation of all the Great Lakes – the world’s first attempt to do it by kayak. Bryan’s goals for the trip are to produce a coffee table photography book showing Great Lakes from a kayak, promote paddle sports in Mid-West and resource protection on the Great Lakes.
Bryan said, “With this trip, I plan to call attention to the increasing pressure placed on this area and highlight the world-class paddling opportunities. I believe that by increasing paddlesport participation, we will advance resource and wilderness protection.”
The Great Lakes contain roughly one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water, they’re surrounded by eight U.S. States and one Canadian province, and have over 10,000 miles of shoreline. Formed just under 10,000 years ago as the last glaciers retreated, this young drainage basin is home to over 33 million people. This unique resource is under constant pressure from pollution, invasive species, and urban sprawl.
During the trip, Bryan will update his expedition blog at http://www.aroundthegreatlakes.com with journal entries, photos, and descriptions of the areas he is paddling past. And on his Twitter site, http://twitter.com/bryanhansel, he plans to post frequent updates using his cell phone.
“With the website, I’m building a resource for paddlers who want to learn more about all the great places to paddle on the Great Lakes. I want to provide testimony that great expeditions are possible near home, and for 33 million people the Great Lakes are that home,” explained Bryan.
Along the way, Bryan will meet up with local paddlers to resupply, and for short day or overnight paddles. He believes it is important to connect with locals to discover their experiences and passion for the lake. “The more we can share our individual passions for the Great Lakes, the greater that passion will become,” he said, adding interested parties can contact him through his website.
If Bryan’s name and picture look familiar to readers, it may be that you have met him – like I did – at Minnesota’s Lutsen Resort, where he works as an outdoor activities guide (he took us on a rivering adventure on the frozen Onion River last year). Bryan also builds and sells kayaks, and operates a photography business (www.bryanhansel.com). .
Bryan estimates a finish date of September 25th. His plan is to paddle home to Grand Marais with a group of friends. After the trip, he’ll produce a photography book about exploring the Great Lakes from the viewpoint of a kayak, but he said, “More important is the experience of exploration and the people I’m hoping to meet.”.