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PostPosted: July 9th, 2015, 10:22 am 
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Hello all!
We're planning at trip to Bowron Lakes at the end of July. We have some business in Calgary/Banff area first, so we'll be flying into Banff and then driving up from that area.

I'm looking for canoe outfitting recommendations along the way. (All we need is the canoe)

I've been doing some research and it seems that the local outfitter (Beckers) at Bowron is...controversial, shall we say? I typically take Trip Advisor comments with a grain of salt, but given how remote we'd be, I don't want to get there and get stiffed.

See here... http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserRevie ... umbia.html

SO... all that to say... where would you rent a canoe between Calgary and Bowron?

Dev


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2015, 12:20 pm 
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we used Bear River Merchantile. Dick and Sandy were great, and very helpful. Bowron Lake Outfitters is not longer renting canoes (verified 2 wees ago), so you are right that only leaves Beckers. Check before driving and reserve as there are less boats to go around now.

We wer not impressed by what we saw and heared about Beckers on our trip. Most of the Beckers canoes we saw had little free board left by the time they were loaded. Life jackets seemed aged and iffy (one member of our party rented from them, and refused the life jackets...paid extra to rent from BRM instead.)

We had a wonderful trip. If you need any help with other logistics, let me know, as I kept detailed notes (some here on CCR). Am available only until Sat. morning, then we are gone paddling :thumbup:

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2015, 7:13 am 
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If Bear River is out of boats try Undercurrents in Calgary.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 12:38 am 
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
I was looking at your suggestion of renting canoes from Undercurrents but their website says that after 19 years they are closed for good. Options for renting in Calgary for good WW canoe seem limited at this time.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 7:31 am 
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Been a long time since I did the Bowron circuit, so I can't comment on the social skills of the current operators.

However, Becker's rents pretty standard 17' Clippers and Hellmans. Don't understand why they would have low freeboard.

Is BC allowing visitors from out of province again?


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 8:15 am 
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Peter K. wrote:
Been a long time since I did the Bowron circuit, so I can't comment on the social skills of the current operators.

However, Becker's rents pretty standard 17' Clippers and Hellmans. Don't understand why they would have low freeboard.

Is BC allowing visitors from out of province again?

According to their website. No.
http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/questions-answers/

The boats that Beckers rents are just Grummans etc and would do fine. Overloading is the fault of the occupants and it pays not to carry a lot of stuff as there are weight limits on what can be carted.
Their carts seem eminently suited to the terrain
Make sure you visit the parks website as it seems that most of the circuit is closed till July 6 and we all know that things can change so fast it makes you dizzy http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/bowron_lk/


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 8:51 am 
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Location: Northern Alberta
s I've done Bowron a couple of times- rented from Becker both times.
Kevlar Hellman Prospectors, so they must have changed their fleet. And yes, overloading is not the fault of the boat!

Another note: I've never used a cart in Bowron, choosing to portage canoe and double portage gear. That means no weight restrictions or issues with the cart on trails. In a wet summer those trails get chewed up and muddy making pulling a cart a challenge. Just saying...

Its a great trip-enjoy!

Bruce


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 11:00 am 
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My big takeaway was "bring an axe." You don't really need one in the boreal forest and a saw is lighter. However, all the wood in the BC rainforest was either growing or rotting. The park provided dumps of split wood and we scavanged small pieces there. I now carry a lightweight axe.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 2:57 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
I carried a hard sided York Box. Similar to a blue barrel only heavier. It weighed 8.6 lbs empty. That was a huge mistake as every site had steel food lockers and the end of each portage did too.
We did the circuit in 2017 and fires were not permitted. We had to do our trip a month later than planned as the Park did have wildfires.

Seems wet this year. Never carried a saw as fire is not usually in our repertoire mid summer. We had no mud holes but did have plenty of pot holes.

So it can be the same park yet different.. Not very wildernessy but a pleasant trip none the less with very nice scenery albeit hazy in smoke.

The three long ports are at the beginning which made us think cart . I had a knee replacement some six months before the trip and did not know how that would do. In retrospect the third long portage was a PITA with the cart as the potholes were so frequent and deep ( that is the port that ends at Isaac Lake but it has been smoothed out). And the cart was no plus on the steep descent down the Isaac Riverbefore McLeary lake as the canoe wanted to get away and dump itself in the woods. Carrying the canoe on your shoulders seems to be safer to me.


Last edited by littleredcanoe on June 30th, 2020, 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: June 30th, 2020, 4:15 pm 
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Peter
To answer your question, No. BC parks isn’t allowing reservation from non-BC residents yet. But when I called the DiscoverCamping.ca number the operator said she figured that would be changing soon. So I’m researching options.
As an interesting tidbit, I did go online to make a reservation on June 24 with Parks Canada for Maligne Lake in Jasper and seeing that it was going to be a random lottery I used three separate devices to improve my odds. Alas, my three devices were slated 602, 1435 and 3084 (foggy on the last two # but close) in the waiting list and by the time I tried to make a reservation on Maligne lake all the multi-day options I had pre-scouted were gone.

I’ve been living in Alberta since February and will move back to Ontario in mid-August (No! No room to bring my canoe). Needless to say the purpose of the temporary job transfer has not been realized with the office closure resulting from the current pandemic. Finding a descent canoe to rent that I can take where I want has been a challenge.


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PostPosted: July 1st, 2020, 10:55 am 
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Location: Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
littleredcanoe wrote:

The boats that Beckers rents are just Grummans etc and would do fine.


Like the others have said the times I was there they had Clippers and Hellmans. All in good shape. My last trip was in 2012 though...
Where do you suppose they got Grummans? I didn't think they were being made anymore. Great boat!

I'd be extremely wary about going into BC from out of province due to the restrictions. There's been multiple reports of vandalism to out of province vehicles (although not in the Bowron area as far as I know).
Campers also have been forcibly removed by police from campgrounds even after park operators gave them admittance.
Buyer beware...

https://edmonton.citynews.ca/2020/06/30 ... -b-c-park/


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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2020, 7:55 am 
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They might have had other boats. All seemed heavy. We brought our own Kevlar Souris River Wilderness 18

Sad state of affairs if vandalism is abundant due to fear. We had the same thing here when NY State was "hot"
Several NY cars were not vandalized but occupants harassed and trees chainsawed to "quarantine" them

We still are a little nervous. We don't have the bug here. Yet. But we are in a tourist hot spot. Yes some campers have been sent to their private little corner by the maintenance shed for their 14 day quarantine.


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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2020, 4:39 pm 
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I did Bowron circuit in July 2017 - used Bear River Mercantile canoes and portage carts (18' Clipper Trippers I think) - you definitely want a cart unless you are using ultralight Kevlar canoes. Didn't have any real problems with the carts on the trails - only recall one that was rough on the uphill - I could almost run with the boat on the flats and downhill. An AXE is mandatory equipment, whether you want one or not - they expect you to get wood from the designated "woodlots" which only have "rounds" you would need to split - you are not allowed to get wood from anywhere except the woodlots. Canoes on carts are limited to 60 lbs of cargo - you have to carry the rest on your back.


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2020, 4:44 am 
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Beckers rents top of the line Clippers and Hellmans.
https://beckerslodge.ca/canoe-rentals-bowron-lake/

The Tripper (17' 6") is a mighty fast expedition canoe and holds tons of gear. It handles big water well. I own a kevlar version and did a 12-day ocean trip in the Great Bear Rainforest a couple of years ago. It performed flawlessly.

I have been on the Bowrons twice. Once solo and once in a tandem. I would suggest a cart unless you plan to go during the rain. Treat your canoe like a backpack plus a bit. That means packing judicially. That way, with a cart, you can carry a pack each and the rest fits in the canoe under the 60 lb limit (not including paddles and safety equipment, which are not included in the weight limit). Then the portages are much easier.

If you are a party with just one canoe, you do not need to reserve. Get there early (before 6 a.m.) and you'll have a very good chance of getting on, if not at 9 a.m. then at 12 p.m.

The Bowrons are a controlled wilderness. Every major lake has a shelter and a ranger station. Every campsite has tent pads, outhouses and bear proof food storage containers. Some lakes, notably Isaac, have afternoon winds. so, get up early, get on the water quickly and end your day by 1 p.m. On a seven-day schedule, you'll never paddle more than 20 km in a day, so 3-4 hours of paddling is very doable.

It rains a lot, so ditch the cotton!

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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2020, 7:55 am 
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Pepsi wrote:
Hello all!
I'm looking for canoe outfitting recommendations along the way. (All we need is the canoe)

I've been doing some research and it seems that the local outfitter (Beckers) at Bowron is...controversial, shall we say? I typically take Trip Advisor comments with a grain of salt, but given how remote we'd be, I don't want to get there and get stiffed.

Dev


I am pretty sure that Becker's is under new ownership/management in the last few years (less than 5?), but
not positive about that. Also doesn't mean the new management is any better than the "old," when that experience allegedly happened.

I've paddled the Bowron Circuit four times, twice long ago, before portage carts were even usable there ('71 and '83 I think), and then last year and the year before (2019 and 2018). Both of the latter were 10-night trips, so a little longer than most people take. The 2018 trip launched Sept 1 and the 2019 trip took out Aug 31. We stayed in a cabin at Becker's the night before launch on the '18 trip and had absolutely no problems whatsoever, though of course people differ and that doesn't mean someone else could have had an issue. We didn't stay with them in '19, but we did rent a canoe cart from them that year (just last year) and again did not have any problems. Contact with them in '18 for lodging was "cold call," meaning we just walked in that afternoon and they had a cabin available so we stayed with them (it was raining and we had gear to sort, didn't want to do it in a tent). We had a Bowron Park reservation paid for and just no-showed there in order to sort dry gear in the cabin.

My contact with them for the cart rental was over the internet, and then of course in person for pickup and drop off immediately before and after the trip. Both were very pleasant experiences for us. Other peoples' experiences might differ. I'm sure some have as not everyone gets along. I have not heard of bad experiences with them and other outfitters providing services but have not looked very hard. I'm sure it's happened. Other than price, I would not hesitate to rent a canoe from them for a trip. The canoes I remember available were a lot of Clippers, not Grummans, though they could have been there and I didn't see them. Again, didn't notice Hellmans but wasn't looking for them specifically either. (I own a couple Clippers and no Hellmans or Grummans.)

The park is quite remote and it's an outfitter's market, so prices are going to be high. I don't know of other rental agencies outside the area, though there could be some in Quesnel or even farther away. I have not looked. With all the outdoor sports around Calgary, I would think that a boat could be rented there, but I haven't been in that area in at least 40 years so don't know for sure.

Good luck with the trip.

JEH


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