Children under 18 years of age can now fish for free at Kivi Park following the opening of the Gord Slade Memorial Fishing Outpost at Crowley Lake on Thursday.
The new fishing outpost and memorial program is a tribute to fishing enthusiast and community activist Gord Slade, who passed away in 2019.
As part of the program, Kivi Park will offer free fishing rod rentals and barbless lures to youth for catch-and-release fishing. Visitors can either fish off the dock at Crowley Lake or rent a canoe to fish out on the water.
The park has also partnered with community organizations like the YMCA and the Sudbury Police Adventure and Recreation at Kivi (SPARK) program to provide an opportunity for disadvantaged youth to learn how to fish and experience the outdoors.
“The YMCA is excited to partner with Kivi Park through the support of the Gord Slade Fishing Outpost and offer a day camp to kids who have an interest in fishing and may not have an opportunity to try if not for this camp,” said YMCA’s vice-president of health and wellness, Kendra MacIsaac.
A small opening ceremony with members of the Slade family and Kivi Park officials took place at Crowley Lake on June 24 to celebrate the launch of the fishing outpost.
Gord Slade’s son Fred had the honour of catching the first fish off the dock.
“The only thing more exciting than launching this program will be when the park calls me back to tell me that they need more fishing rods,” he said.
“My dad learned how to hunt and fish at a very young age, and he taught me and my siblings at a young age, as well. He also loved to support programs that got kids out to camp to teach them new skills and keep them off the streets and out of trouble. We are very excited to be here today and to see this project come to fruition.”
Slade’s contribution to the community is also memorialized by the Gord and Pat Slade Heritage Fund within the Sudbury Community Foundation, which supports many non-profit organizations.
“I’d like to add that both Clifford and Lily Fielding, who were themselves outdoor enthusiasts, would be so excited to know that the fishing outpost is taking Kivi Park to the next level,” said executive director Kerry Lamarche.
“We are excited to add the fishing outpost to the long list of all that Kivi Park has to offer the community.”
Youth aged 18 and younger do not have to book an appointment ahead of time to take advantage of this program, but anyone wishing to book a canoe should call Kivi Park in advance.
There are 20 rods available for rent at the fishing outpost and children do not need a fishing licence to participate.
Organizations or groups are welcome to contact Kivi Park to book fishing parties or day camps via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crowley Lake also provides access to canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and hiking. It is open Sundays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hours are weather-dependent and subject to change. The lake will be closed during storms or threats of lightning.
For more information on Kivi Park, visit www.kivipark.com.
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Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star