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Canadian Canoe Routes

Paddling Routes of North-Central Saskatchewan
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Author:  chris randall [ November 14th, 2014, 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Paddling Routes of North-Central Saskatchewan

Just wondered if anyone had bought a copy of this book by Greg Marchildon. I was hoping to find more detail on the area it covers and what routes are included.


Author:  pawistik [ November 14th, 2014, 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddleing Routes of Nort-Central Sask.

Chris, I have the book and have been intending to write a detailed review. OK, you spurred me to action - here's my first draft but a version will show up on my website someday. Note that this draft was composed without having the book in front of me.

Paddling Routes of North Central Saskatchewan by Gregory Marchildon and Carl Anderson is a new book (released spring, 2014) that will be of interest to those who paddle in Saskatchewan, or enjoy reading about it. While I recommend paddlers consider getting this book, especially those like me that like to have a fairly full paddling library, I have been rather disappointed by this collection of route descriptions.

  • It pulls together 23 route descriptions from a fairly accessible region of Saskatchewan that is a great paddling destination. Along with route descriptions, planning maps are included. (Note that there is a fair bit of route overlap, part of the nature of paddling in this region - you can get from nearly anywhere to nearly anywhere else by linking routes.)

  • It adds little to the route descriptions available online and most of the route descriptions have not been updated at all since the descriptions were published by the Saskatchewan government many years ago (many from the 1970's). A few of the routes have been reviewed and updated for the book, but the updates are minor and the number few.
  • The maps are a confusing array of scales. The routes themselves are of vastly differing scope, ranging from a couple of days and tens of kilometers to numerous days and hundreds of kilometers. As a result, variation in map scale is no surprise, but I would have appreciated a little more consistency with scales being limited to just a couple of values per route. As it is, scale is all over the map, as it were, so you have to consider carefully what you are looking at on each and every map. The same goes for orientation of the map (north is not always consistent).
  • We have a lot of great scenery in the region covered by this book but you won't see it here. Although the book has numerous photos, it doesn't show Saskatchewan scenery. The photos are stock photography, chosen by someone who seemingly doesn't know paddling, nor the region. I mean, they included a picture of paddling in a mangrove swamp, for crying out loud. Last I checked, we don't have those in Saskatchewan. (Actually, this really peeves me, it would have been so easy for the publishers to contact the local paddling community and say "does anyone have some good quality photos from the region we could use?", and I guarantee they would have had plenty to choose from.)

So, in conclusion, check out for essentially the same information, but consider getting the book to have it all in one easy to read place offline, and the planning maps to go with the routes.


Author:  Barbara [ November 14th, 2014, 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddleing Routes of Nort-Central Sask.

One is posted here:

Village of Ile-a-la-Cross Churchill River-Otter Lake ... skatchewan

Author:  pawistik [ November 14th, 2014, 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddleing Routes of Nort-Central Sask.

I guess I should add that my disappointment comes from the fat that I had hoped the book would be so much more - some new information and insight into this area I love so much. As it is, it's OK, but it could have been great. Making the maps more consistent and relevant photos could have made the book good. Reviewing each individual route, correcting errors, updating portage and campsite information, would have combined to make the book fantastic. Marchildon's other book, Canoeing The Churchill is, by contrast, fantastic (and something of a tome).

Compare what is at the link Barbara shared to what is here:

After rereading Chris' original post, I realized that I didn't actually answer his question about what region is covered. For the list of routes, see Barbara's link above - the last 3 pages linked are from the book's appendix and it lists the routes and the corresponding Saskatchewan Documented Canoe Routes. It is the region centered on the Churchill River and in addition to routes in the immediate vicinity of that river it includes the Paull River, McLennnan Lake area, Nemeiben Lake area, La Loche area, Besnard Lake area.


Author:  chris randall [ November 14th, 2014, 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddleing Routes of Nort-Central Sask.


It doesn't sound like it covers the area I'm looking for and even if it did the fact that it doesn't offer new information makes it even less worthwhile. Pity.

I am contemplating the area east of Sandy Bay on the border of Manitoba for next summer and was after a little more background. We seem to have precious little info on the Manitoba side which is even more frustrating!


Author:  Ralph [ November 14th, 2014, 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddling Routes of North-Central Saskatchewan

I didn't know this book was out.
Thanks for the information and links.
FWIW, I like having the maps integrated with the trip description because I like being able to see, on a map, what the text is talking about. I would not be using those for serious planning but I agree that one would have to keep in mind that the scales are not all the same.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ November 15th, 2014, 5:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddling Routes of North-Central Saskatchewan

Glad to see the reference to Rebecca Kennel's site.
She had put a lot of work into providing background material and I was afraid that she could not maintain the site.
At one time, the SK government had made several filing errors, as described at ,
and her site was the sole source for Route 51.
As well, if I remember correctly, her site was the sole source for several Routes later deleted from the government site.
I hope that that those errors are corrected in the new material.

Author:  pawistik [ November 16th, 2014, 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paddling Routes of North-Central Saskatchewan

To me, the Rebecca Kennel site is of particular value simply because I can find it, and it doesn't change URLs. The same cannot be said of the Sk Government version of the paddling route descriptions. Be darned if I can find them from one week to the next. For instance, the site listed at the Sask resources page that you have so carefully constructed is a dead link. Thankfully, the links to the trips that you have on same page still works. Go figure. I'm sure that page is there somewhere, but I can't find it at the moment.


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