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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through August 23, 2007 * Water Levels < Previous Next >

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burtjames
Member

Post Number: 26
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 8:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hello all,

Just wondering where water levels were at this time of year. I'm based in Ottawa and generally the water has been pretty low, even through the spring melt because of the most peculiar "winter" that we had which resulted in nearly no groundwater. Snow melt, river up, snow gone, rivers/lakes WAY down. At the cottage the lake was a full 18-24 inches below where it would typically sit this time of year.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 143
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 9:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Good Morning Burt

See Temagami General section here.
We had a 20 posting discussion a few weeks back.

Ed/Others provided some insight, and Ed posted
a website that allows anyone to check-in on
some waterlevels.

Good job on the 7 Wonders Burt.

PS Didnt realize you were in Ottawa. I lived
Carling/Maitland for 15 years. Roula and I are
in Montreal, on the water at the junction of
the Ottawa and St Lawrence. Paddle in when you get a chance!!!

Kind regards

Sundown
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 700
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 9:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

There are lots of information links here:
http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/conditions.htm

You will find that after recent rains, water levels are higher than last year at this time.
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burtjames
Member

Post Number: 27
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 8:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks. I was just being lazy and seeing if any intrepid canoeists who have been into more remote creeks and lakes had noticed anything significant. I was actually down by the Rideau River yesterday and again water levels were noticeably lower than expected for this time of year.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 147
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hey

Just spoke to Sylvia at Ontario Parks.
The washout on Beauty Lake road between East Nontreal and Gamble remains, and has actually gotten "Much worse recently due to the high water levels in that area". They expect to be able to take some action against the washout next week.

So apparently the headwater areas seem above normal just now.

Sundown
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 701
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 5:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Why should Parks "take some action"? It is not a Parks road until it enters the park, and I presume the washout is outside the park.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 148
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 5:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian

Not completely certain. Thats what Sylvia said.
She also said they have some "Gate work" to do
up there, so I surmise the washout is either
blocking Park Work or Enforcement Access or something. In any event, i wouldnt be surprised
to hear Parks might have to ensure access in event of Search/Rescue Plan etc...

Is Parks effecting the road repair?... I dont know... it's just what she said.

My main reason for mentioning it was to advise
Burt that the headwater levels are up-over-normal.

By the way... whose responsibility is it to maintain the road?

Cheers

Sundown
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 702
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

It is a former logging road that is not maintained, so there is no requirement or responsibility to maintain it. And if no one could access it then parks staff wouldn't have a need to use it for enforcement.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 151
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hey Brian

Thanks for the info... I didnt/dont know for sure
whether any Public Entity had a statutory requirement to maintain emergency access to Public Values or Interests.

When I was with the MNR, we did... and, incidentally, many of the Roads in that area were
constructed for precisely those non-primary harvesting purposes... in "Those Days".

Nowadays, as you know, even Decommissioned Roads
often mean "Unless we change our Mind"... eg Maple Mountain and Domtar... of course.

I honestly dont know the present situation, so your point is valid. That being said, I've slogged enough of that particular area to know
that (As you know) absence of a road doesnt guarantee non-vehicular traffic in any case.
The cheaters will cheat simply because it is in their character to do so.

I personally am not "Anti-That-Particular-Road",
and I do agree with your view that Roads ought
only be permitted with overwhelming reason. The reason I am not anti-that-road, is that cheaters are, by definition, inordinately lazy... they will follow the Trail if a trail exists. The presence of that trail offers opportunity to catch the criminals. Were the road dug out... well... have you any comprehension of how many hundreds of other routes exist to access old
clearcuts in that area, and get the cheaters to their intended destination anyway? If a road exists, at least theirs only one ambush site required.

"if no one could access... Parks Staff wouldnt have a need to use it for enforcement".

Well, if no one cheated, we wouldnt need enforcement either.

I'd rather assume that cheaters will cheat, and allow their own deficiencies result in their demise, and punishment.


(Clearly, Brian, you know I comprehend your point, and I am taking poetic license to promote
an opportunity for all of us to consider this mock debate we are having. And, it is the perfect
Chicken and Egg scenario. For what its worth, I DO hear you. Cheers)

Sundown
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doug_2
Member

Post Number: 127
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 5:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Check the Wilderness parks options for access zone to the river. There is no operating plan yet, that is true. Looks like the option for access will be somewhere south of the washout though. I don;t think there is any option right now even being considered for "no" access off the Beauty Lake Road. In the future, when the operating plan is finished Ontario Parks will definately have to address public access to what ever access zone is chosen there. Realistically access could be at Gamble or it might be the river itself. My understanding is that even amongst canoeing groups there was hardly anyone suggesting no access to the headwaters. Once you get north of Weekend Lake, the portages would be quite long to start a trip. That would be one good way to limit access and motorized vehicles to a wilderness park though. I actually like the Weedend idea or something close to that because that entails a portage to get into the river. That would minimize boats trying to get in. (we all know that wilderness class parks are supposed to be motorless areas.....except in access zones and they are tiny...just to get people to the park.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 153
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 5:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Doug_2

Great points.
And they need to be read really carefully to attain full meaning. Kudos.

The greatest Value... then or now... is Human Life. MNR, though other concepts my be sacrificed, is not now/nor ever was disposed to preventing the preservation of Human Values.

A road WILL exist. Search and Rescue Ops alone do not now, nor have ever, wished the liability that arises from the loss of life lawsuit that arises from an inability to enable extraction.
Search and Rescue staff, I assure you, risk their
own lives with every next "bell" to preserve life... even at the potential expense of their own. I, for one, will not hamper their honour.

I open an argument here some may dispute, but the reality WILL win out.

And, I support it.

I could cite dozens and dozens of examples of "Extraction Routes" having enabled the preservation of Human Values. Many, I was involved in. And, not just extraction, but
emergency entrance, as well.

Values are Values folks. If you would compromise
those values (Which no reasonable person would)
then, by all means, close the road... but on your conscience.

I personally favour that road under "Severely Controlled Circumstances", for that precise reason. If others disagree, that is their right.
But, I submit, you wont see the day.

(I go on record... this is all personal opinion
based on nothing more official than years of listening. Not one Ontario Parks, or present day MNR, Staffmember contributes to my assertion, of
this day)

Sundown
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 9:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I'm familiar with the washout in question as we drove through it on May 19 to access the South Lady Evelyn River at the start of a 15-day trip. It is located within the boundaries of LESWP.
We encountered one washed-out-and-reconstructed culvert fairly high up the road, perhaps around Gooseneck or Kaa lake. Boards and rocks had been positioned to allow passage by vehicles with good ground clearance.
Farther along the road, not far above Gamble Lake, beavers have built a dam across the road, backing up water and flooding a section. ATV guys had just finished breaking out the beaver dam so we drove through over a solid road base with water around the hub level on a 4Runner.
We encountered a couple of parties of fishermen camped at the north bridge who told us the beavers have been rebuilding the dam as fast as anyone breaks it out. Unless fisherfolk or others are regularly taking out that dam, the beavers will no doubt build it high enough to cause serious problems. Throughout our trip we noticed fervent beaver activity in almost every viable location. Perhaps they are aware of something we aren't?
On another note, while restricting access is generally a positive thing, in this case I believe cutting off access much above Gamble Lake would greatly complicate access to the park from the north for much of the canoeing season (especially with all the clearcutting that's been going on during the last 10 years around the headwater lakes). Is the goal here to create a fly-in preserve accessible only to those with deep pockets?

DoubleBend
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 10:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Just to add to my previous post. Throughout our trip we encountered lower than normal water levels (based on over 20 years experience in that area) everywhere except on beaver ponds. The Sturgeon River in particular was a mere shadow of its normal spring muscle. We ended up abandoning the Yorston at Seagram's Lake because of low water, and cutting over to the Sturgeon through Yorston Lake.

BTW, the portages between Yorston Lake and the Sturgeon could use a thorough brushing out. Looks like someone made a half-hearted attempt using an axe recently but left numerous hazardous spikes lopped off about 2 1/2 or 3 feet above the ground. Better hope nobody slips and impales themselves on these man-traps!
Did notice the portage between Seagram and Yorston had recently been chain-sawed clear, perhaps by the same person(s) who has recently laid down claim stakes on both Seagram and Yorston lakes?

(Message edited by DoubleBend on June 18, 2007)
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hillbilly
Member

Post Number: 233
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 10:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I talked to Alex Mathias on Sunday. I was told the water levels on the Obabika Lake was high, May levels, Obabika Lake is not a controlled lake. Levels on Diamond and L.E. Lakes are also high.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 704
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - 9:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Doublebend, at 2-3 feet high, sounds like snowmobilers may have cleared those trails.

As for discrepancy in water levels, in mid-May water was low, but there has been a lot of rain since.
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hillbilly
Member

Post Number: 234
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - 10:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Alex M says may levels where low but due to the heavy rains in late May and early June the levels are high for this time of year.
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 7
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Brian,

One might think winter cutting due to the height, but I doubt it. There's no way anyone drove a snowmobile through the trail leaving the south end of Yorston Lake. It's still choked solid with young spruce and balsam pretty well all the way to the logging road that bisects the portage. Only random saplings have been lopped off, and a few fallen logs hacked through. The cut saplings were still holding green needles and wood chips were also still visible near the chopped logs, leading me to believe the cutting was done this spring. The manner this was done appears quite haphazard. Also encountered the same style of cutting on the more overgrown portion (eastern section) of the last portage leading down to Pilgrim Creek. On the middle portage, where new growth is not an issue, the same axe-wielder took out a number of fallen logs.

DoubleBend
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 133
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 8:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

In the fall 2004 the portage out of Yorston Lake over to the Sturgeon was so overgrown we could not find it, though we only looked from our boats.

You were right not to continue down the river. In low water it is a boulder garden for what seems like kilometers.

I have seen this type of tree lopping before on the lower Yorston and we attributed it to prospecting claims, establishing boundaries from the river to the road that parallels. Though this would not likely be the case on the Yorston Lake portage.
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 8
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 10:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

The lake end of the trail is actually one of the least overgrown parts of the portage. We found a small rocky landing marked with one of the old yellow 'P' markers on a tree. The well-worn trail runs uphill a short distance before hooking up with what appears to be a very overgrown tote road between Yorston Lake and the Sturgeon.

I think it's the same road that forms the last trail leading from a scary little piece of scumwater down to the missing bridge across Pilgrim Creek.

The middle portage, between a pretty, pine-clad lake and the scummy pond is quite a beautiful walk through nice cedars and wanders in and out of a little creek, passing a very cute little falls before eventually going on and on along the edge of a dried-up bay. (It's not really that bad , unless it happens to be real hot!)

The road sections of portages have grown in quite severely. Of course, our timing was off and we got there just as a rain shower began, so that within 30 yards of entering the 'wall of spruce' we were soaked to the skin. If anyone happens to be going through that way soon it might be worth budgeting a little extra time to do some brushing.

Yorston Lake was quite a nice surprise.

DoubleBend
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 170
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 8:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I just returned from Gowganda Lake, Stumpy Lake,
the Wapus Creek, Duncan Lake, Hangingstone Lake
in the Headwater areas of the East/West Montreal
Rivers. Looks like late May up there...

All lakes are up at least a foot over normal levels, which is great for passages in some of the tricky spots, and great for this years' spawning areas etc... but sure makes the fishing trickier.

Still, Gowganda Lake yielded a 16 pound pickerel this spring, and The Wapus a 27 lb pike. (No. Not to me. I'm afraid)

Sundown
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tess
Member

Post Number: 80
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sundown,

Would love to read your poetic prose re: trip!
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 709
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 5:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

For anyone still wondering about water levels, all the weather talk about this being a dry summer has yet to come to pass. I am sitting on the island at Keewaydin Camp, North Arm of Lake Temagami, staring at the incredibly high water lapping on the shore. Rained again yesterday and the bush is wet. Was down through Gull to Manitou and everything is high there too.
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burtjames
Member

Post Number: 31
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 8:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks Brian, I was wondering if this thread would ever get back to water levels. :P I was checking the data from the EC gauge on the Sturgeon River and levels are consistent with what they were last year.

I'm planning a trip in late July, likely moving through the Florence Lake area to Solace, across the Sturgeon and (depending on time) either up the Obabika or moving further south to come back up to Temagami through Gull Lake. The other alternative is the slog through the Misabi range(which I very much want to get to before they log it), but that is more dependent on the water levels in Ames Creek.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 466
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 4:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I think our predictions were based on what we saw in early May..... low water levels dry portage trails. Normally you don't get a lot of rain in the June to make up for the lack of snow in the winter... but this year is apparently turning out to be different....NW Ontario had tons of rain in June as did NE Ontario.I think that predicting the weather is a fools game and many of us do it, including myself and I am usually always wrong.... but it's fun....
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 710
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 10:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

More rain today. Now we've got hot AND muggy.
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burtjames
Member

Post Number: 32
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 1:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Too true Ed .... last year I took a look at the forecast for Temagami prior to my trip in, and it proved to be correct only as long as the first morning I was there. Otherwise we had rain, rain and more rain for 6 days, which brought water levels up considerably. I never trust weather reports any more, although I have found my skills of predicting the weather over the short term (ie/ 30 minutes or less) to be pretty much spot on!

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