Originally from Detroit, Michigan, John Pearson is a professional ecologist who lived in Illinois, Wyoming, and South Dakota before moving to Iowa in 1985. Among his first paddling expeditions in the early 1970s were canoe trips in the wilderness areas of Alquonquin Provincial Park in eastern Ontario and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. John reactivated his zeal for paddling after coming to Iowa and discovering that CanoeSport Outfitters was headquartered in his new home town of Indianola.
Since then he has logged solo trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area and winter sojourns to Padre Island along the Texas Gulf Coast, the Withlacoochee River in Florida, and the Buffalo River, Bull Shoals Lake, and Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He has also kayaked in Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota), Yellowstone Lake (Wyoming), Great Salt Lake (Utah), Puget Sound and the Snake River (Washington), Everglades National Park (Florida), Lake Superior- Isle Royale (Michigan), the Slate Islands (Ontario) and Yellowstone Lake (Idaho).
John has been a long-time instructor and guide for CanoeSport Outfitters. He’s guided Lake Red Rock Eco Tours and basic tours, our Everglades Eco Tours, and Apostle Islands Adventures. He began working toward an instructor certification through the British Canoe Union while working at CanoeSport and then earned an ACA Level 2 Kayaking Instructor Certification in 2011. In 2012 he acquired a Level 3 Kayaking Instructor Certification.
For many years John has been a regular speaker at our annual Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo. Most people will also see him as a safety boater at many of our on-water events, such as Demofest every April.
John has led interpretive paddling trips to state nature preserves along several streams, including the Upper Iowa River, the Des Moines River, and the Winnebago River and has also participated in numerous Project AWARE clean-ups. In recent years he’s become interested in paddling on the Mississippi River, especially along the rugged bluffs bordering Iowa and Wisconsin.
John has recently bought a drone that he has used to take some fantastic aerial photography!