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PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 10:35 am 
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At the Friends of Temagami's recent AGM, we decided to get back into the business of canoe route maintenance. We've always done this type of work, including a very successful program which covered hundreds of kilometres in the 1990's. Due to a number of factors, our recent efforts have been smaller scale.

I'd like to brainstorm different methods a small, volunteer-led organization could use to run a canoe route maintenance program. There are a few basic models I can think of off the top of my head:

1. Summer student model: Similar to a MNR junior ranger program, where a coordinator plus a few college-age students work for a few months in the summer.

2. Adult model: Similar to above, but hire workers who don't have to back in school in September. Could include local or First Nation workers.

3. Wabakimi Project model: Paid or volunteer coordinator leads a group of volunteer workers on shorter trips.

4. Information model: Emphasis is placed on encouraging users to do their own maintenance. Could include information online, brochures, and possibly limited material support (e.g. tools or funding).

5. Honorarium model: Canoeists plan and conduct their own maintenance trip and are provided an honorarium upon completion.

6. Advocacy model: Write letters to bureaucrats and politicians encouraging them to do more maintenance, e.g. expanding MNR's Stewardship Ranger program.

Do you know of a different model in use elsewhere?

What are the pros and cons of the various models?

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 11:23 am 
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Sounds like you have some money. Our municipality had some for a couple of years too. They just hired a local dude (me) and I would hire a couple of students to go with me, and we would clear 5 to 700 k of routes over the course of the summer.

Now it's just me and my buddy, we try to re-open a new route each summer. Our school club does maintenance work on one major route each year.

If you have the money, I would say hire someone who is "all business". One guy with a helper should be able to open up a 160 k canoe route with 10 to 20 portages in a six to seven day period.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 1:51 pm 
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Great idea.

You could try to leverage your funds by asking for matching funds from government.

Are there other community groups to help out such as a school outing club?

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 3:30 pm 
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We don't have the money. We'd be looking for funding for some of the options. As you can see, some of the options cost more than others.

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 7:48 pm 
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I've rolled this idea around for a while...it wouldn't work up here, because we have so few canoeists, but in an area where there are many canoeists, why not an "Adopt a route" plan? If a couple of people adopted a route that they were capable of maintaining every second or third year, you could get quite a few routes serviced. I'm talking about Crown Land routes, don't know anything about the Park regs. If people got tired of maintaining, they could pass it off to someone else. It's amazing what a couple of people with a chainsaw can accomplish. It would require some central planning and coordinating but it's an idea that I think could work.


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PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 8:15 pm 
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At one time or another, all of the suggestion you’ve proposed have been considered by The Wabakimi Project. We have concluded that most are limited by legal and regulatory restrictions, i.e., work visas for non-resident volunteers, funding and employment requirements for paid participants, liability insurance, and the red tape involved in applying to the MNRF for work permits.

As the founder and lead organizer of The Wabakimi Project, I have never been paid for my involvement in our canoe route conservancy initiative or for the equipment and services I provide to our volunteer participants. Mine is strictly a labour of love which most people find difficult to believe or accept.

In reponse to your request for alternate suggestions, please consider the following:

Adopt-a-Route (similar to the popular “Adopt-a-Highway” program): Post a list on your website of canoe routes identified in need of rehabilitation with a call for groups of volunteers who are prepared to mount their own self-directed, fully-outfitted canoe trips. Be prepared to provide these groups with maps, estimated trip lengths (time & distance), route descriptions, work required and improvements needed for each route, trail clearing and campsite cleaning specifications, trip-end reporting expectations and to apply on behalf of these groups for work permits required under the Public Lands Act. Ugh! More paper work!


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 9:33 am 
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Thanks Uncle Phil. At some point we should have a long chat about your experiences.

One option we discarded early on is the Youth Camp model, where we encourage summer camps to do more. Most camps that come through Temagami are able to "toss sticks off the trail" but are not able to devote the time required to do full route maintenance, e.g. cutting out deadfalls, snipping back new growth, and laying down some corduroy. They also have safety and liability concerns if they make kids do too much labour. Some have suggested having counsellors or other staff members doing a pre- or post-camp maintenance trip. There may be some opportunities here, but it's not as promising as it sounds because of tight timelines between the end of university exams and the beginning of camp.

Are there other models that you considered, even ones you discarded early on?

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 10:07 am 
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If you need to raise some money, have you thought about a Kickstarter or other crowd-funding method?
That said, I would love to help with this and really like the idea of an adopt-a-portage or honorarium. Providing a list of areas that need work and assigning sections for paddlers to help with would be cool. I'm not much for group trips, but my canoe/life partner and I fell in love with the area this year, will definitely be going back in 2016, and would love to help.

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 10:24 am 
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There is one key feature to any model that is adopted......dedicated volunteers who keep plugging away for years. People like Phil and crew. If my school club is doing a route that hasn't been done in more than four years, me and my buddy will usually give it a run the summer before and cut it out. We also buzz them out when the kids are along, but the kids are delegated to heaving and throwing, no chainsawing. If I had two more two person crews, we could probably keep around 15 160 to 200 k trips open on a permanent basis.


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 10:40 am 
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Further to Uncle Phil's suggestion, providing online information for paddlers to launch their own self-directed maintenance trips is a good idea. This can include everything from opening up overgrown ports and campsites, to hauling out trash and cleaning & rebuilding fire pits on the more popular routes. Identifying and dismantling elaborate table structures is also a priority in some of the more accessible areas of Temagami.

Using the FOT website as a hub for route updates, tips on trail and site maintenance, as well as an overview of some of the required tools would be great. Giving paddlers some recognition...ie: "route was cleared July 2015 by Ted Nugent and Richard Simmons" etc, might help encourage some participants.

Linking with CCR and possibly adding a new route maintenance section to the forums would be helpful as well.

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Last edited by canoeguitar on November 6th, 2015, 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 1:09 pm 
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I like that idea Mike....I should develop some central site for the routes in my area, right now it's scattered all over the place.


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 2:03 pm 
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Perhaps slightly off topic, but with regard to work permits from OMNRF, in my limited experience and contrary to the experience of others, they are quite easy to get.

I wrote a simple 4 page proposal for trail and campsite maintenance in Gull River Provincial Park, citing scope, schedule, costs and deliverables. I had one 20 minute meeting with the Park Superintendent, and he then had his staff complete all the paperwork based on my proposal (i.e. cut and paste into work permit and liability waivers), and they shipped back to me for sign off. They even offered to contribute funds to our activities (offer was to cover cost of food, and they also offer use of equipment).

We were unfortunately unsuccessful in completing our work program as planned and advised OMNRF of our failure. They corresponded back, sending their regrets and commented they were willing to renew the permit at a future date.

I spent maybe a total of 2 hours working alongside the Ministry. It was seamless, collegial and not at all cumbersome. In retrospect, it could have been this way because I prepared a clear scope of work, advised them how it was to be implemented, and that I wanted to share all data we collected in a format that worked best for them. It was likely beneficial that I outlined the value of the work in current dollars with a detailed budget breakdown, and was not asking anything of them. It also likely helped that the proposed work was in a non-operating park for which they had limited recent data, and at the end of the day what we were proposing to do was of great benefit to them in a number of areas (wildlife/park recreation reconnaissance etc). Finally, and in my opinion the key to it all, we were willing to use their data collection instruments so that our work was useable by OMNRF for future management and planning activities.

In my opinion, the collaborative approach achieved a couple of key goals. I get out to the bush and open up an under utilized route in the hope that others may enjoy it as I have. Second, I advise OMNRF of our findings, in a way they can use with their systems of record (i.e. NRVIS). It was a win-win.

Ken Kokanie
http://kokanie.ca/canoe-trip-reports


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2015, 3:03 pm 
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Quote:
Are there other models that you considered, even ones you discarded early on?
Early on, it became obvious that if The Wabakimi Project was ever to complete rehabilitation and documentation (mapping) of the 6,000km of canoe routes in the Wabakimi Area, the routes already completed could not be re-visited in order to maintain them. One way we’ve successfully addressed this is by developing a cadre of volunteer ‘contributors’.

In return for complementary pre-trip assistance with route planning, we ask self-directed, self-supplied paddlers to submit detailed trip reports supplemented with notated maps and GPS waypoints describing their experiences in the Wabakimi Area.

We do not ask our contributors to follow a particular route nor do we expect them to attempt any trail clearing or campsite maintenance. Rather, we ask them to report on their observations so we can monitor the condition of the canoe route they followed. We do ask them to report on:

• the canoe route they chose to follow
• the condition of portages and campsites they encountered
• recent natural disturbances (e.g., forest fires, blowdowns, flooding)
• wildlife sightings
• human encounters
• signs of recent human activities
• the accuracy & completeness of our Wabakimi Canoe Route Maps

The routes our contributors follow are displayed (in red) on the annual routes map posted on Trip Summaries page of The Wabakimi Project website (http://www.wabakimi.org).


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2015, 3:46 pm 
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canoeguitar wrote:
Further to Uncle Phil's suggestion, providing online information for paddlers to launch their own self-directed maintenance trips is a good idea. This can include everything from opening up overgrown ports and campsites, to hauling out trash and cleaning & rebuilding fire pits on the more popular routes. Identifying and dismantling elaborate table structures is also a priority in some of the more accessible areas of Temagami.

Using the FOT website as a hub for route updates, tips on trail and site maintenance, as well as an overview of some of the required tools would be great. Giving paddlers some recognition...ie: "route was cleared July 2015 by Ted Nugent and Richard Simmons" etc, might help encourage some participants.

Linking with CCR and possibly adding a new route maintenance section to the forums would be helpful as well.

Adding a new route maintenance section to our forums sounds like a great idea. If some kind of route maintenance project gets underway, we would be happy to add a forum for keeping track of things & for giving recognition to people or groups who have done maintenance work.


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2015, 10:45 pm 
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@ marscanoe

I think this will be a good initiative for the canoeing community. More to come.

MM

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