The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SPRING 2003











In this issue

Front Page


Spring Packet


From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

National Archives

Back page




Despite the absence of the HACC, there are a couple of interesting online canoe trips planned to go ahead this summer. One of the most ambitious is a group from France who are crossing North America in a large birchbark canoe. Dubbed the Boreal Confluence Expedition the group of six paddlers in a birchbark North canoe will go from the mouth of the Columbia River to Hudson Bay a journey of 3500 miles. That’s a very ambitious trip that includes the crossing of Athabasca Pass. The updates so far have been sporadic. Their Web site is

Another hardy online adventure is being planned by Heinz Götze and Jan Dettmer. Check out to find the The Ellice River 2003: By Fair Means Expedition which espouses the non-fly-in philosophy of Stewart Coffin written here in Outfit 46. (It’s reprinted on their Web site.) They are heading from the end of the road in Yellowknife to paddle the Ellice River which drains into the Arctic Ocean north of the Back River. The two-month 750 mile trip begins by heading up the Yellowknife River. In addition, there will be no food drops - they are doing it the pure way and good luck to them! One of their sponsors is the superb Walker’s shortbread. Hmm . .  now there’s an idea for the HACC to follow!

Among the more interesting non-online trips is by a veteran pairing of Dick Irwin and Carl and Margie Shepardson. Dick gave us a brief synopsis. “I am doing a 60 day trip with Carl Shepardson and family from Yellowknife to Kugluktuk (Coppermine) via the East Arm of Great Slave, Lockhart and Coppermine Rivers. Our plan to connect the Lockhart and Coppermine is to ascend the Thonokied River from the west arm of Aylmer to Thonokied Lake. From the north-west bay of this lake it's a 5-6 mile portage through a chain of lakes to the east end of Lac de Gras. At this point an Air Tindi 185 will fly in with Carl's wife, Margie and food for the Coppermine; Carl's nephew Todd will fly out.”

Another interesting trip is by Troy Gipps and party who will do the Hubbard-Wallace route of 1903. It’s a punishing route up the Susan and Beaver River enroute to the George via the tree studded and virtually unnavigable Smallwood Reservoir. The group plans to locate the spot where Hubbard died, marked by a plaque.

We’re not sure if anyone has done this trip in the last 100 years, no one springs to mind. You might recall that an young British woman and lone Innu guide tried to re-create the 1905 trip up the Naskaupi River two years ago with little success. Of course Hubbard, Wallace and Elson took the wrong turn and ended up a river with no natural or historical connections - until they arrived.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the Canada Council Art Bank decided to enhance its collection and announced last fall that it would make a special purchase of Aboriginal art. More than 400 artists from across the country sent in photos of works to be judged.

Seventy-one works by 61 First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists - with a total value of about $150,000 - were selected.

Thirty-nine of the 71 pieces came from Nunavut artists. The Council spent about $33,000 on work by artists currently living in Nunavut, and an additional $15,000 on pieces by Nunavut-born artists who live in other parts of Canada.

Twenty-eight artists from Clyde River, Kimmirut, Cape Dorset, Iqaluit, Igloolik, Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, Paginating and Qikiqtarjuaq are represented in the purchases.

The art bank was created in 1972 to support the efforts of Canadian visual artists and provide public-sector institutions with the opportunity to rent artwork for their offices. Of the 18,000-piece collection, about 6,400 pieces are out on rental to more than 200 government and corporate clients across the country.

The 2003 commercial muskox harvest in Cambridge Bay has been cancelled and the chair of the muskox harvest working group says the earliest a commercial harvest could be back up and running is the spring of 2005.

The commercial harvest differs from a domestic harvest in that meat from the commercial harvest is sold to the Kitikmeot Foods plant in Cambridge Bay, which must meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations in terms of the how the meat is slaughtered and processed.

The group determined that it would have cost about $460,000 to launch a harvest this spring. The money would have been spent to set up a temporary camp and abattoir for a month and cover the operational costs of the hunt.

But there are new food inspection regulations on the horizon which would mean another outlay of money for next spring’s hunt.The market for qiviut, the woolly under fur of the muskox, is in high demand throughout the world right now and little attention has been paid to other byproducts from the animal.

Now, hunters look at taking about 300 or 400 animals per year, which brings in about $170,000 in meat and hides. While the commercial harvest is on hold, the muskox population continues to grow out of control. The plan is for this year and next year embark on the domestic harvest and take 300 to 400 animals per year and satisfy the community in terms of meat.

Canada’s federal minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has asked for a revised description of the Bathurst Inlet Port and Road Project because its backers dropped a section of the development's original plan.

The original project involved building two sections of all-weather road that would connect a seaport on Bathurst Inlet to Izok Lake and its rich lead-zinc deposits. Accessing the Izok Lake minerals was considered the reason for the project.

The first road section would stretch 130 miles from the seaport to the eastern shore of Contwoyto Lake. The second section would measure 50 miles and run from the lake's western shore to Izok Lake.

But last fall, the mine's developers indefinitely postponed it's construction because global zinc prices have floundered. In November 2002, the Bathurst road project's backers followed suit and dropped the second road section from their plans.



 Spring 2003         Outfit 112 

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