'Untouched' canoe route reopens to paddlers
Kapikotongwa River portages cleared by Greenstone community group, north of Thunder Bay
Posted: Jan 7, 2013 10:22 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 7, 2013 10:18 AM ET
Now that a community group in Greenstone has cleared the portages on a 50 kilometre-section of the Kapikotongwa River, canoeists will be able to paddle a challenging route north of Nakina that's been closed for more than a decade.
It’s great news for Rob Haslam, a teacher at Geraldton Highschool and the leader of the school's Outers Club.
An avid canoeist for about 25 years, Haslam has twice paddled the lower Kapikotongwa river before storms and forest fires destroyed essential portages. He said he's pleased to see the trails open again.
“It opens up a lot of new area for people to use, and beautiful untouched area,” Haslam said.
“No one gets down that part of the Kap. There's no way in … it's only by canoe. The fishing is spectacular. At the bottom of every rapid, it's just like a meat market.”
Dozens of inquiries
Last summer, Greenstone Wilderness Trails hired a consultant to help clear downed trees, rebuild portages and add signage to the trails.
“People are becoming more interested in coming up into our area and exploring the wild rivers,” said Edgar Lavoie, president of Greenstone Wilderness Trails.
“So we wanted to offer them the opportunity again of canoeing this historic route.”
Haslam said he already gets dozens of inquiries a year about canoe routes in the Greenstone area, even though it's not an easy paddle.
“There's about a 15-kilometre stretch of one rapid right after another and, depending on water levels, some of those rapids will be quite demanding,” he said.
“Times I've run it previously, the water's been quite high.”
The route is expected to be open this spring.
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