On Monday, July 18, a severe thunderstorm front moved quickly through Algonquin Park and surrounding area. Algonquin Outfitters received a direct hit from a downburst at the Oxtongue Lake store. We estimate that over 30 trees were knocked down or snapped. These were not small trees, either. Those of you who know our store should remember the tall red pines growing in the back of our property. At least 25 of these mature trees, averaging about 10 inches diameter, fell in the area directly behind the shop. This area is used for drying tents, storing canoes and occasionally for large groups camping the night before their canoe trip. Thankfully, no one was camping and no one was hurt. We did lose six canoes, including a brand new carbon-Kevlar Bell Northwind and a classic cedar-canvas Chestnut Prospector, when a pine tree flattened a canoe rack. The roof of the shop was broken by another falling tree and our venerable GMC Jimmy got hit as well.
Staff who witnessed this event said they had never seen anything like it. Black sky in mid-afternoon, a wall of rain, trees spinning wildly then snapping like toothpicks and the sound of wind like a rushing freight train. Within minutes it was over and now, two days later, clean-up is well underway.
The worst part of the storm tracked north of Hwy 60 through the park. Camp Pathfinder, on Source Lake, suffered tree damage and Camp Ahmek, on Canoe Lake, reported that they lost their floating docks. I haven't heard any other reports of damage or injury but chances are good that there are many campsites and portages in Algonquin Park with trees down. Portaging through fallen trees is hard, time-consuming work, so anticipate that some portages will take a lot longer than anticipated