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PostPosted: December 20th, 2002, 11:18 am 

Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Bristol, New Hampshire, USA
Can anybody tell me if the Maligne river is canoe -able? ANy idea how long to get down the river to the Athabasca river? Any info/advice is appreciated !


Jim Clay

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PostPosted: December 28th, 2002, 5:45 pm 
The Maligne River from Maligne Lake to Medicine Lake is closed to all watercraft (canoes, kayaks, etc.) Most years, with the exception of spring run-off, the river is dry for the first stretch below Medicine Lake. Further down there isn't much water and/or you are into the canyon area which you definately don't want to paddle. I don't know much about the river below the canyon but it looks to be a fairly short run to the Athabasca River. In summary, I don't think the Maligne River is your best paddling choice in Jasper.

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PostPosted: December 31st, 2002, 3:08 pm 
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Joined: December 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 515
Location: Ft. McMurray
No, the Maligne River cannot be paddled to the Athabasca River.

The Maligne River got its name from the fact that it was such a troublesome river to cross in fact the lake got it's name from the river.
In 1845 Father Pierre Jean de Smet, a Jesuit missionary from Belgium, named it the Maligne (French for wicked) River after his tricky crossing of it. Maligne lake was actually called "Chaba Imne" meaning "Great Beaver Lake" by local Stoney Indians in the area. Then in 1875 Henry McLeod, a CPR Surveyor, reached it calling it "Sore-Foot Lake" but it became famous when in 1908 Mary Schaffer explored it and wrote a book about her travels.
The Maligne River is a difficult whitewater river for 12 km from where it flows from the Maligner Lake to Medicine Lake (which is actually a giant flood plain. The river disappears into a system of underground caves and cracks at the north end of Medicine Lake until it reappear in springs in the Maligne Canyon which is 50m deep narrow limestone gorge. At the end of the gorge all the water is back together and the river is steady white water till it reaches the Athabasca. This would be a challengeing paddle.
The top 12kms were popular with whitewater rafting companies but it is now closed to them because of some Harlequin ducks that make there home there. The little duckies were getting scared by the rafts and their screaming passengers.
The lake is a very scenic paddle!

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