Paddlers Abusing Put-In Privileges On The Ottawa River

As always, you can expect to see line-ups in the eddies of the Rocher-Fendu section of the Ottawa River this summer. Boaters of all kinds make the journey back to the Ottawa time and time again, largely due to its high volume waves, warm water and ease of access.

            The access could become non-existent, however, if private boaters do not start doing their part to ensure that they leave the access points in good condition.

            “There is no public access to this section of the Ottawa River, which has put the rafting company’s in the position of providing paddlers with access through their private property and facilities,” explains John Mason, a member of the Whitewater Ontario Advocacy committee, “This is why OWL Rafting/MKC leased and eventually purchased property at the put-in and have provided parking and access free of charge as a responsibility they took on since the early 1970’s.”

            Access roads into McCoy’s rapid and the Lorne (owned by OWL) and Black’s Rapid (owned by Wilderness Tours), are certainly appreciated by those who wish to access their favorite play spot or take-out easily, but many are abusing the road and parking areas by ignoring requests from landowners about respecting the property.

            “The gate at Grants Settlement Road is locked through the winter until the road dries out by mid May,” says Mason, “All are welcome to park at the main road and walk in at anytime the gate is locked, but people ignore the gate and drive. This is a problem, as the road is unstable and easily damaged. Parking in the main parking lot, not at the top of the rapid, is requested as well.”

            Trying to curb the effects that driving to the top of the rapid has had on the road, Whitewater Ontario worked with OWL Rafting to create directional signage for the new access trail OWL has built at the Lorne Rapid. The signage directs paddlers to the trail, and thanks OWL on behalf of paddlers for continuing to provide access to the Ottawa. 

            “We have worked with Dirk Van Wijk, owner of OWL, to develop directional signs to get paddlers using the new Access Trail,” says Wayne Donison, Co-Chair of the Whitewater Ontario Advocacy Committee, “There have been some problems created for RiverRun Rafting and Wilderness Tours in the past because of people being disrespectful of their lunch site properties- camping in the lunch spots, leaving litter, messing up the outhouses and driving in beyond the sign at the gate.”

            Due to higher cost of maintaining the road in to the Lorne, it is more important than ever that private paddlers respect the generosity of the rafting companies.  

            “Failure to respect these simple conditions could result in closure of the road to private paddlers,” says Mason, “Make sure roads are kept clear for bus traffic, and that there is no camping, no fires, and be sure to pack out your trash.”


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