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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2021, 10:39 am 
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I've just been informed that the owners of the private cottages at Meshaw Falls on the French River 18 Mile Island route are no longer allowing canoeists to portage past the falls. There is the longer double portage a bit south at Stony Rapids that canoeists are supposed to use now. I guess canoeists can't view the sinkhole any longer either. I'm not sure if this violates the Public Land Use Act, but either way, it's a shame.


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2021, 10:56 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2004, 5:26 pm
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Location: n/e ontario
Liability concerns....
not sure about the legality of preventing passage on the navigable waterway


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2021, 6:56 pm 
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Unfortunatly there is no law in Canada or Ontario that gives you the right to portage.
The only thing to look for is if the historice road allowance still exists along the river.
Big problem everywhere as these properties are being abused by many who fiugure they have the right to abuse these lands.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2021, 7:03 am 
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
I was always under the impression this was a historic portage and fell under The Ontario Public Lands Act (March 31, 1997), Chapter P43, Item 65(4) https://www.wildernesscanoe.ca/node/30


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2021, 8:46 am 
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This looks like it would take some sort of legal action to rectify and that is going to cost you.
Not only in Court/legal costs but also a ton of reasearh costs proving legally the historic canoe route,
Also you would have to reaserch the land deeds on uses before the land was sold of and how the new deed was written up when the government sold it.
Navigability isnt the concern here but the right to portage vs the property owners right to control his land.
On the crown land policy atlas is shows private up to the river. (High water marks do not count as that issue has already gone through the courts landoners won)
There is crown land around the other chnanel just to the south which I assume has the alternate portage on it.
Another monkey wrench to throw in this issue is that there are a number of First Nations land claims in the area, which were almost settled until the Ford Government really slowed the process down when they took power.
As in many of these cases it is not straight forward.
The best way forward that would involve a lot less layers is a Provincially recognized canoe group negotiating with the land owner and have a similar agreement that is done with various trail groups in the province.

EDIT NOTE: Whitewater Ontario has done this to gainkeep access on several WW river runs.

It would have to be an organized group because a major part of any agreement would be liability insurance costs and policing the use of the portage.
And judging from the online requests from Groups like the Bruce Trail that has become a serious problem these last two years.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2021, 1:00 pm 
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When I portaged through Meshaw Falls about 3 years ago, the owner told us he didn't like us portaging through but "Couldn't do a thing to stop us." I wonder if it's changed hands since then or he's decided he can stop us now.

I'm sure he's been getting mobbed by people since the pandemic started. I honestly feel sorry for the owner too, the portage goes right past his front door.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2021, 7:30 pm 
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Petit.Conan on the point of historic portages is there was any protection for them there would never had been a need for a group like Friends of Las Vase Portage.
They have been working for a couple of decades to protect and gain access to the historic portage from Lake Nipising to the Mattawa water shed.
Thanks to their work and a few friendly land owners some of the original portage has been accessed, but in other places they have been forced on to roads.
So it does take some heavy lifting to work through these issues.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2021, 6:04 am 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2017, 1:48 pm
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
I know we like to very selectively apply the law in this country don't worry! doubly so when it might make the government look incompetent or conflict with what might be in their own better interest.

I feel like that whole IAMGOLD and Three Ducks Lake situation is a perfect example of this too.


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2021, 1:48 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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In cases like this, I often wonder why the business person doesn't recognize the opportunity and try to capitalize off it rather than ban it.

Install lockers where paddlers can store food barrels for a mid-trip swap, only $5 a day!
Offer parking/launching. Offer portage lunches, ice cream, etc. Plenty of ways to capitalize the problem rather than ban potential customers from your site.

Baffling. Of course, I often wonder the same things while cycle touring and see a gated trail or "no trespassing sign" where folks are clearly cutting through from one trail to another.


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PostPosted: July 29th, 2021, 10:52 am 
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I was heavily involved with the initial stages of the La Vase Portages restoration and can offer some insight. That section of the public lands act might well apply, but it would require PROOF that the portage was in use before a patent was granted on the land.
Even then, MNRF appears extremely reluctant to enforce it. In the 1990's, the Restore the Link Committee fundraised and purchased what is now the La Vase Portages Conservation Area at the northern terminous of the route. We assembled ample historic accounts describing the La Vase Portages route. We dug up survey maps from the mid-1800's that delineate the actual path. We created a national awareness campaign that generated interest and donations from coast to coast and beyond. Yet still, the ministry would not intervene in a landowner conflict that was clearly covered by the act. The sad compromise solution (post-Restore the Link) involved a land swap and re-routing of the historic portage.


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PostPosted: July 29th, 2021, 2:20 pm 
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Thanks DoubleBend, that's about what I figured.


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