View topic - Abitau, Whirlwind, Marten, Thoa rivers

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2009, 1:06 pm 
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Would anyone have any information on the Abitau River, which drains southwest from the NWT into Tazin Lake in northern Saskatchewan?

I’ve read Guy Blanchet’s article describing his travels up the river to the Dubawnt headwaters area (mid-1920s), but am wondering if there are any more recent reports.

Additionally, I’d welcome any information on the Whirlwind River, the Thoa River, and the Thoa’s tributary, the Marten River, which might be available.

Thanks,

jmc


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2009, 12:36 pm 
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Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
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Location: Boise, ID
I took a quick look at published sources. You probably new of these already. Thought I would pass them along regardless. Perhaps you could contact E. Evans in Ft. Smith and see what he can tell you?

Quote:
Geology, Wholdaia Lake West, District of Mackenzie, Northwest Territories. /
Frederick C Taylor
1959
English Map Map 1 map ; 44 x 44 cm., on sheet 57 x 76 cm.
Ottawa, [Ont.] : The Survey,

Studies on Lichen-dominated Systems. 19. Post-Fire Recovery Sequence of Black Spruce Lichen Woodland in Abitau Lake Region, NWT
Kershaw K. A. Maikawa
Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol 54, Issue 23, 1976, pp. 2679-2687

Hearne travelled on the Thoa River (en route to Coppermine … Gwyneth Hoyle citing Alex Hall in “Canoeing North Into the Unknown”).

From Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board Report: “BQCMB member Earl Evans of Fort Smith says the large burn areas have altered the Beverly herd’s migration patterns and more head to the Abitau River area of Saskatchewan these days. “There’s a few green areas southeast of Snowdrift (Lutselk’e) and southwest, there’s a little bit of green in there, around Gagnon Lake.” There are also some green patches around Thuben Lakes and along the Great Slave Lake but caribou have a tough time getting to those areas because of burn patches” (perhaps you could contact him in Fort Smith?)?


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2009, 1:47 pm 
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Thanks for looking, Idylwyld.

It does seem to be a rarely visited (by recreational canoeists, at least) part of the world.

I now have information on three parties that have paddled the Thoa. The Thoa, Marten, and Abitau also had (now non-operational) flow measuring stations, which give some idea of size and deasonality patterns.

Google maps / Earth is quite good on revealing the extensive burns that have afflicated this part of the "caribou range" in the last 50 years.

It looks like I may have to go up and look around myself.

Regards,

jmc


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2009, 11:08 pm 
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I know people have canoed the section from the NWT border to Tazin Lake. I have travelled on the river in the winter. It is scenic and tazin lake is a beautiful place.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2009, 12:56 pm 
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Thanks for posting, bhowell.

I did manage to locate an individual who paddled the Abitau from near its headwaters (Abitau Lake) to Tazin Lake and then on to Hill Island Lake.

Plans are still being worked on for next summer.

- jmc


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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2009, 10:57 pm 
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can you tell me where I might find the article by Guy Blanchet about his travels on the Abitau River?


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2009, 12:38 am 
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Bhowell -

It is online in the archives of the "Beaver" magazine, an article titled "Thelewey-aza-yeth". You should be able to find it here.

http://www.historysociety.ca/beaver/ind ... phyID=4732

Hope this works.

-jmc


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PostPosted: March 7th, 2009, 7:57 pm 
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Thanks, it was an interesting article. Sounds like a rough river, have you considered the east Tazin River, which starts in the Territories quite close to Abitau Lake? It would be a similar trip in length, but the Tazin is a bigger river.


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2009, 1:14 am 
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Hi Bhowell -

Glad you enjoyed the article. There is another one by him,
if you search the Beaver archives under Blanchet, about his explorations on the Taltson and Snowdrift which is also good reading.

According to some historical data that can be found here:

http://www.wsc.ec.gc.ca/staflo/index_e. ... main_e.cfm

The Abitau has quite a bit more volume than the Tazin above Tazin Lake. Do your observations suggest otherwise? Neither of these stations are still in service.

My hope is to ascend the Abitau only to the Whirlwind junction, then go up the Whirlwind a bit before portaging via some small ponds to Whirlwind Lake - then go via that lake and Wren and Escort, and some ponds, to reach the Marten River and follow it to the Thoa and so HIll Island. By map and sat photo investigation, it looks like much of the "bad" river seen by Blanchet is above where I would leave the Thoa. I hope that is true. I haven't settled on a final plan for the summer yet - if I do go there, I will post a report.

Regards,

jmc


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2009, 10:15 pm 
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I've travelled up both rivers from Tazin Lake and I do remember the Tazin as being bigger. However, it is hard to argue with the data, even though it's not current you wouldn't expect it to have changed much as there hasnt been much activity up there - no dams etc. It's been 30 years since I was there, so maybe my memories are incorrect.


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