The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SUMMER 2003











In this issue

Front Page


Summer Packet


From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Discovering Eden

Back page





Rupert R.I.P?

Part  1  2   3

OATMEAL FEAST – Oatmeal Falls marks the start of the very steep final 60-mile section of the Rupert. This view from the LG-2 road shows the breadth of the drop.    MICHAEL PEAKE

Quebec’s mighty Rupert River has lived with a big target on its back for more than three decades.

Originally the first river to be dammed by the massive and ongoing James Bay Project in 1971, the mighty stream was able to avoid attack until recently.

The plan to divert 90 per cent of its flow northward into the already dry Eastmain River and then the La Grande system is proceeding this summer. Unlike 30 years ago, the Crees of northern Quebec are in support of damming the river– their life’s blood for millennia.

There is a movement afoot to oppose the new dams but without official native support there seems little chance of success. Of course, not all the Crees of northern Quebec are in favour of the plan - but a majority is.

Rupert Reverence, a Quebec-based group trying to save the river are running a special trip down the river this summer from July 27 - August 18 with Crees and other volunteers for a run to the Bay and village of Waskaganish from the highway that crosses at Oatmeal Falls. Since that distance is only about 70 miles, it’s a slow pace and a lot of portaging as most of the river’s big drops occur after Oatmeal. Those would almost completely dry up as the diversion of the Rupert would occur upstream near the village of Nemaska.

The Eastmain-1-A project includes: the Rupert diversion, which redirects most of the water (up to 800 m3/s) from the Rupert River watershed into the Eastmain watershed; the construction of Eastmain-1-A powerhouse on Eastmain-1 reservoir; and the construction of new structures at the outlet of Opinaca reservoir. The project calls for the construction of four dams, 51 dykes, and two diversion bays flooding an area of 395 sq. km, 12000 metres of diversion canals or tunnels, and two permanent access roads. The cost of this project has been estimated at two billion dollars.

For more info see:

and the Rupert Reverence site:

Another falls in the central section of the river just below the only other bridge across the river.                             MICHAEL PEAKE







 Summer 2003         Outfit 113 

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