Musqua Meadows - An Unknown Prairie Treasureby Clive PerryFrom going Natural - Fall 2007Manitoba always seems to be the province everybody skips over when doing coast-to-coast surveys, weather, or trends of any kind. As a result, it contains many undiscovered and underdeveloped secrets. Musqua Meadows is one.
My wife Susan and I joined the general nudist community about three years ago. We were looking for a different way to escape daily life stresses, with nudism always sitting in the back of my mind. But that’s another story. After visiting several Manitoba nudist locations over the last few years, we made an exploratory visit to Musqua Meadows this year as the weather was becoming agreeable. It’s nestled in the boreal forest at the prairies’ eastern edge. There we discovered both deciduous and coniferous trees and were treated to the vast prairie skies with their spectacular sunsets. Although we knew Musqua Meadows was large, how large did not strike us until we arrived. There are 130 hectares of large! That makes Musqua Meadows one of the largest nudist resorts in North America.
About 1% of that is developed with campsites, recreational areas, and a clubhouse. The rest is a mixture of pristine meadows and mixed evergreen and deciduous forest. The wildlife is comfortable enough to pass closely by at any time. Natural paths between the meadows and woods, along with an abandoned rail line and a disused logging trail into the adjacentSandylands forest preserve, make for an almost infinite variety of walks, secluded glens, and recreational activities. It’s a wonderful natural retreat.
Clubhouse and grounds The clubhouse and developed areas are fully serviced, well maintained, and very nicely groomed. The camping and trailer area is spacious and set roughly in a circle with more than adequate power for fully equipped RVs and trailers. Water is from a fresh well. (Many visitors find it so good they bottle it and take it home to drink.) Campers have full toilet facilities.The main clubhouse is large and sunny with enough seating and a dance floor for fairly large social functions. Included are kitchen facilities and full bathrooms. Attached, with external access, are showers: two semi-enclosed and one outdoors. A bonus feature is an actual bathtub for those who like to soak. On the south side of the clubhouse, connected by a large sunny deck, is a sizable aboveground solar-heated pool. The design allows for ample deck expansion around it. The temperature is kept just right for cooling dips. Immediately adjacent to the clubhouse is a ten-person hot tub in its own enclosure with plenty of windows. This makes a perfect venue for cooler evenings and early and late season events.All of these facilities face south overlooking a large meadow with a beautiful forest line behind it.
Running MusquaOwners Lloyd and Mary Cooley have been running Musqua for about ten years. Lloyd, now retired, lives at the resort all summer. The Cooleys have always run Musqua on co-op principles, involving members in any major decision-making—partly because of the relatively small membership (under 50), partly to keep it personal and friendly. They’d like the resort eventually to become a member-run co-op. This year, Lloyd added a unique recreational activity: pasture golf. After reading about this unusual variation of the game in the Winnipeg Free Press, he decided this was a perfect pastime for nudists. With so much land available, Lloyd was able to carve (mow) the rudimentary fairways out of some of the meadows to create a wonderful, fun (and silly) way for people to interact and to explore more of Musqua Meadows. With the right amount of goofiness, pasture golf, completely informal and totally random, makes a most enjoyable form of nude recreation.
[Two local rules: If a fox or hawk steals your golf ball, drop another with no penalty; if the neighbour’s dog steals your ball, play it from where the dog drops it — Ed.]
Location, location, membersMusqua operates almost as a charming secret. Combing a summer resort with full time jobs has limited the Cooleys’ ability, in both time and finances, to grow Musqua as much as they would like. Their desire to keep the resort a peaceful and intimate retreat has been another limiting factor. Another reason more people have not joined over the years is the resort’s perceived distance from Winnipeg, the closest large urban centre. The drive is just under two hours. However, Winnipeggers regularly spend up to two and a half hours getting to cottages every weekend in places like the Whiteshell and Kenora/Lake of the Woods areas. A real advantage of Musqua’s location is its proximity to the US border: fewer than 20 kilometres. There’s also an international airport at Piney/Pinecreek. The 915-metre paved runway actually straddles the border! US club members come from as close as Warroad, Minnesota (less than an hour away) and as far as Grand Forks, North Dakota (up to three hours). People also come from northwestern Ontario. There is a potential to attract them even from Duluth (MN) or Minneapolis-St. Paul. The popularity of retreat-like resorts has been growing, especially among baby boomers. Musqua fits that perfectly.
Winter potentialThe clubhouse is fully insulated, as are some of the permanent cabins. There’s potential for cross-country ski and winter hiking trails. For the snowmobile enthusiast, it would be easy to plug into the network of groomed trails that cover the south of the province, using Musqua as a base or rest stop. And don’t forget that hot tub!
We have found Musqua meadows to be a wonderful resort/retreat just waiting for more people to discover and enjoy its expansive natural beauty. We all would be happy to see you.
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The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) share the Canadian membership in the International Naturist Federation (INF), which has its world headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.