I am looking for wildlife viewing areas that are open to manually powered boats (i.e. Canoe) in areas within a few hours drive of Pittsburgh PA.
- Motor boats are prohibited (electric only motors, is ok)
- Manually powered boats are allowed
- Open to the public most or all of the year
- Ability to paddle to and from the launch point (There are rivers that come close to my criteria but the current makes the journey one way)
I want to be able to take a blind passenger on a canoe trip to enjoy the sounds of nature. The closest I have found are organized journeys into restricted lands, where a large group (of sighted, talkative people) join you on the journey.
Edit Clarify per request in comments Rivers don't work well, as the areas without current tend to have a high motorboat population. (fails criteria 1 & 4)
There are a few man made lakes in the area, the ones I have looked at to date are planted with fish, so there is a high population of people fishing, this negatively impacts the wildlife around the lake. (multiple options that meet criteria 1-4, but no significant wildlife)
I have been looking at wildlife refuges on the shores of the great lakes, but the few I have checked have highly restricted access (fails criteria 2 & 3) the only option is to guided tour with lots of noisy people.
I have seen some areas that meet all of criteria but, the tend to be in natural marshes and swamps, Washington, Florida, etc with large wetland preserves and/or tidal lands.
Note I have my own watercraft. I don't need a rental boat, I just need to be able to access the water with my canoe and a handicapped passenger.