Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Monday, May 28, 2007

Current Events at the Kipawa

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt surround the 21st Annual Kipawa River Rally

Personally I feel it much safer to have boaters and rafters simply running the sluice as is customary and avoiding the logistics of moving people on pickup trucks without seatbelts and so on. It is also safer than having them negotiate tight trails and steep steps.

We're inquiring of the Quebec Provincial police about the legality of moving people on pickup trucks 3km ona provincial highway as announced by PWGSC.


Jim Coffey, owner and operator of Esprit Rafting in Point Davidson looks for answers on a recent site visit to Laniel Quebec where the annual Kipawa River Rally has been stimied by the actions of Public Works Goods and Services Canada.

The refurbishment of the Laniel water control dam has spelled disaster for the vintage whitewater festival and the booming commercial rafting that has evolved with it. The members of Les amis de la rivière kipawa have taken the government to court in a judicial review of the refurbishment claiming reasonable accommodation of whitewater paddling was not only possible but feasible.

Currently, access to the top third of the river has been eliminated.

Read on for details

The trail now ends in a lookout of questionable value: The public often gathered to see the rafts and kayaks run the sluice. From this lookout, they can see nothing.

What are we to think? The current bypass trail is under construction and blocked off leaving fear, uncertainty, and doubts as to access to the Kipawa.

PWGSC Denies Access to the top one third of the Kipawa River!!

PWGSC all but destroys any chance for a successful 21st Kipawa River Rally

This is a recent advertisement from the Canada Gazette by PWGSC regarding access to the Kipawa River


For shuttle information in
English press 1, 3 and then 2

Reference to QDSA and CDA guidelines flies in the face of the facts.

The construction on the new gates appears started but stalled. Security is on site. The fencing that blocked the sluice during the 2006 rally has been removed.

Both gates are open on the old dam but the current low flow makes them unnavigable at this time. The lake appears to be full of water but this is a dry year.

This is a sad day: for all of this could have been prevented with a bit of foresight, planning, an understanding of the value of whitewater recreation. Instead we see narrow minded, obstinate, parochial, mules.

For those of you that are too young or too new at the sport to remember :here is a brief description of the Kipawa River Rally.

The day would start leisurely looking at the cascading river, the towering white pines, the beautiful lake temiskaming, the wondrous log buildings. You've just had a reunion with friends the past evening, possibly a sauna and dip into the lake, possibly in the buff.

After breakfast the shuttle takes you to the municipal parking lot at Laniel, you get into your gear, shove off from the beach, cross the floating wooden warning buoys and slide down the 10 meter sluice into the "wake me up" wave.

This is just the start of a glorious day on the river.

Sometimes you might get out of your boat and rerun the sluice many times or try to surf that wave, but either way.. you feel good.

Over the next three hours you paddle and surf

Rock and Roll
Tumbling Dice
Button Hook
Huey Duey and Luey
Log Jam
Broken Bridge ( home of the infamous Vivre La Kipawa Libre)
Island Rapid
Upper and Lower Whitepine
Picnic ( now being surfed.... for fun)

You walk around the waterfall stopping to see Grand Chute and enjoy the scent of pines and cedar

Elbow gets you heart pounding, you know Hollywood is coming up
and then the spectacular ride down a solid class IV rapid into Lake Temiskaming's Calm waters, and hopefully there is a cold beer waiting for you.

Folks, what can compare to a paddling experience like that?

Public Meeting in Ville Marie, P.Q. Draws crowd of curious locals

Here Christian Belisle, president of Les Amis, indicates how the proposed Opemican national Park accommodates the Tabaret River Diversion with a notch leading to Lake Temiskaming from Lake Kipawa.

No comments:

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0