View topic - Status of the road leading to Berens Village

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PostPosted: February 13th, 2019, 10:40 pm 
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Looking to run the Pigeon River this coming summer. I was wondering if the road has progressed that far. Looks like Blue Water aviation is the best logistical option to fly in to Family Lake and a shuttle? Anymore flight out Pine Dock? Any other options

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 2:22 am 
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The road is definitely open to the Pigeon. Blue Water is the best option but I think they only carry external loads with their Otter which means it's expensive unless you have 2 or 3 boats.

Blue Water can do shuttles but Charles Simard might be a cheaper option 204-363-7355

I don't think anyone flies out of Pine Dock anymore but I'm not certain.

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 8:22 am 
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The Bluewater website notes what would seem to be a new addition to their fleet! It would definitely cut down the cost - that is, if the Cessna is allowed to carry an external load.

A 3 passenger Cessna 185 carries up to 800lbs is primarily available from Bissett but is also available out of our Silver Falls Base.

http://www.bluewateraviation.ca/air-charter/

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 2:38 pm 
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The road is done and in good shape. I drove it in summer and just drove it again last week. Like any remote gravel road it can get rough, especially after a rain. Travel speed from Loon Straits to Berens vary from 60km/hr to 100km/hr probably close to 80 most of the time. Travel in a car would have to be slower.

From PR304 to Loon Straits the original all weather road was narrow and meant for light vehicles. They are now widening it and rebuilding the base. Expect delays in the construction and possible extremely rough sections. I was sweating through the construction in my half ton.

Amik Aviation also flies to Family Lake. They also do scheduled flights in the area. Because they also fly to Berens, it's possible (though probably not likely) that they could fly you out from Berens - simplifying your shuttle. Other options would be contacting the lodges (Shining Falls at the start of Pigeon, Jackson's on Amphibian) though they may not carry canoes.

If you have a vehicle in Berens, line up a ride from the Pigeon River to Berens. Hitchhiking can be tough as there few vehicles on that road (better chance in the afternoon though) and walking is a bad idea. Friends had trouble paddling the lake this year as water was low, so they would've had to paddle quite far from shore which can be very dangerous on that lake.


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 3:21 pm 
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When I was at Blue Water in 2015 I'm pretty sure the Cessna was not licensed for external loads (but call to confirm).

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 4:35 pm 
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Cessna 185 is an excellent plane for small canoe parties. I’ve done a few trips in such elsewhere—it was on floats and I was using a Pakcanoe.

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 4:58 pm 
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It's a useful plane but if it's not licensed for external loads (costs a lot of money) it's useless unless you have a pakboat.

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 6:00 pm 
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I think Brian's trying to say he's buying us all PakBoats.


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PostPosted: February 15th, 2019, 12:00 pm 
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An email to Blue Water got the following response -

Sorry, we don't fly external loads on the 185.

Steve Gaffray
Blue Water Aviation
204-367-2762
fly@bluewateravaition.ca

The gift Pakboats that Neil mentioned sounds like the best alternative!

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2019, 12:54 pm 
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A friend called Amik yesterday. He's shipping boats to Little Grand on the winter roads so his group won't require a charter. Amik said they will be able to schedule a flight from Berens to Little Grand around their trip. Now, doing so with an external load would be a different story but you could always ask.

Their site does say they have a 185 in Little Grand so if it's licensed for external loads they could pick you up in Berens, saving money on shuttling your vehicle.


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PostPosted: February 16th, 2019, 12:19 pm 
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Thanks for all your thoughts. I did also paddle the Pigeon a few years ago, prior to road access. We flew out of Pine Dock with Wamair to Family Lake and they also picked us up at the end near the lake. We do have pack boats although i prefer hard shell. I will contact Blue Water to find out if six people with three pack canoes could fit in the Otter thus making one flight. Cost is always a concern now that i am retired.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2019, 12:58 pm 
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Getting off topic, but pakboats do open up possibilities, lower air charter costs, etc.

Nothing wrong with hard shell canoes or folding Pakcanoes. In fact, nothing wrong with having both.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2019, 4:14 pm 
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simonbee wrote:
I will contact Blue Water to find out if six people with three pack canoes could fit in the Otter thus making one flight. Cost is always a concern now that i am retired.


6 + 3 pakboats is no problem at all in a Turbo Otter, cargo capacity is about 3500lbs.

You are looking at about $450 - $500/person to Family Lake from Bissett. If you can nest 2 of the boats you could take 3 hardshells with just an additional loading cost of maybe $250 per flight.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2019, 4:39 pm 
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If you have Pak Canoes, I'd definitely contact Amik. Flying from Berens would simplify the trip as your vehicle would already be in Berens River. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone to store your vehicle and maybe even pick you up at the Pigeon River bridge.

In fact, that's what my friend did last year. I could find out who they used.


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PostPosted: February 19th, 2019, 11:22 pm 
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Thanks Niel i will contact Amik and find out about the flight with pack canoes. If ift work out i would like to know who your friend used for te shuttle. Thanks Recped as well.

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