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Canadian Canoe Routes

Have bow saw. Will travel.
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Author:  Airbag [ November 8th, 2019, 8:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

WWGOD? wrote:
The problem is that it meanders through private land (not in itself a problem since there are no homes/developments near the stream) but it is occasionally choked from downfall.

I'd like to clear the strainers to make the stream more easily navigatable.

But am I doing anything illegal?
Anyone know of the rules in Ontario regarding clearing obstructions in a waterway?

Private land isn't a problem so long as you've got public access, the river bed is crown land. The private owner can't obstruct or prohibit vessels without Transport Canada approval.

The problem lies with whether the trees are alive or dead. If it's a good ol' logjam that needs clearing, have at her. But if any of the strainers are still anchored to shore, beware, that could run afoul of MNR rules for cutting live trees on Crown land.

If the OP wants to be technically lawful, they might seek a permit to cut live trees on crown land. But those permits are intended for firewood cutting, guessing they'd deny any cutting along streams.

Here is a situation where it's Public Navigation Vs. Natural Debris in the river, where the debris is not considered an obstruction, as defined by the shipping act.

Public navigation has always been a contentious topic, from the logging days when monopolization of commerce was fought, to the present, when it's about monopolizing recreational opportunities. Either way, the laws nowadays forbid monopolization, but it happens anyways when the stakes are high enough.

You might consult:
-Canada Shipping Act
-Vessell Operations Restrictions Regulations
-Navigable Waters Protection Act
-Crown land Use(MNR)

That said,
-I prefer hand pruners over saws, they cut thru 1" easily,
-Cuts made right down at the branch node are best!

Author:  Captaincanadian [ November 11th, 2019, 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

As Yarnellboat states, "clear as little needed, be respectful. Enjoy" That is the key right there, you can argue legalities for ever and it probably varies by township, region etc.. I have been an avid Trout fisherman all my life and walked many streams and rivers, many of them through owned land and have never had an issue.

I would say go for it, don't worry about who may own it or not, just practice leave no trace as much as you can and be respectful, worst case they ask you to leave, best case you now have 10K of nice quiet river to enjoy all to yourself! No better feeling than that. Enjoy!! :D

Author:  daypaddler [ November 11th, 2019, 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

My property goes to center of river and any tree that still touches the shore on my side is mine. I like to keep my property natural. Our local nature center debated how much clearing/access we should support for a two mile stretch of a small river that we own knowing that people trespass and damage habitat (because they do get out of their kayaks and canoes) and leave garbage (more access means more trash). Overall I just agree with the folks that say you should check with authorities and landowners when you want to alter something that isn't yours.

Author:  yarnellboat [ November 11th, 2019, 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

Anything is possible. And stuff varies.

However, here's what we can probably assume in Canada as "normal" for a river or stream that has public access and can be navigated by canoe:

The waterway/watercourse itself is typically public.

Upland private properties typically begin at some version of "ordinary high water mark" or "natural boundary" or "vegetation boundary" - all of which can be somewhat arbitrary (and as we've seen in various examples, this is not always the case).

In the area between the water's edge and the high water boundary, adjacent landowners have riparian rights of access, but not private ownership, and river users have navigation rights.

That's my understanding of what's "normal" or "typical". To me, the best indicators of this being the case (public navigation rights), or not, may be the amount/frequency of public access and the scale of the watercourse. If public access is hard to come by, there may be a reason. If the waterway is really small or seasonal and not obviously navigable, there may be exceptions.

Always good to ask (and think), but unfortunately the answers aren't always easy to find.

I wish I had some idea of the percentage of canoeable rivers/streams in Canada where the watercourse is privately owned, but I suspect is relatively rare (exceptionally rare in cases where it's reliable to navigate and public access is available?).


Author:  yarnellboat [ November 15th, 2019, 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

Not certain if this 2016 resource is great, or up to date with current legislation changes, but it was fun to find a publication from Her Majesty that includes some haikus etc. I thought it had some interesting info and context about the challenges and variations around identifying property lines along rivers... ... sh-web.pdf

I don't think it tells how relatively rare it is to have river that is privately owned (I think the anecdotes/examples about various "my river" or "my friends property" are the exceptions, not likely relevant to WWGOD's post), but it's a resource that's worth a look if you're interested.


Author:  RHaslam [ November 15th, 2019, 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

Nobody owns a river. MNR doesn't care if you cut sweepers or obstructions. Most private owners of the land along the river won't care either. The few fish impacted by a single guy with a bow saw will simply swim downstream or off to the side and find another place to hang out. They don't care either.

Open your route up, when soft water re-appears.

Author:  daypaddler [ November 16th, 2019, 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

I'm sorry if my view is too contrary or overly sensitive, it's just the way I feel. In my view any grade school kid can tell you "the right thing to do" irrespective of local laws. I may be a bit angry around living with a president that demonstrates "do whatever you can get away with" every day. Everything may be different up there.

Author:  frozentripper [ November 17th, 2019, 8:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

No need to be sorry, Daypaddler, I don't think there is any great difference in US/Canada sentiment over treatment of riparian lands. I'd call the cops right away if I caught somebody cleaning out the stream on my property.

There has been some illegal cutting going on around here, on private land and talking to one OPP individual, they may be just waiting to catch somebody at it to make an example of them. It's hard to catch offenders so the more zealous types might want punishment to raise some awareness in the area.

I used to to do stream surveys for Ontario's MNR carrying a government card that allowed access to private land without first obtaining consent of the landowner but notwithstanding that, was persuaded to leave by one landowner by the wrong end of a shotgun. And by army guys carrying rifles on a Canadian Forces base. There were no "Trespassers Will Be Shot" signs around, either.

It's strange, what one can find on private land and what people do on it. One landowner had dedicated a portion of his land to the memory of his deceased wife, with statues and stones inscribed describing her and what the loss meant. We never saw him and weren't sure how he'd react to us walking there.

Author:  RHaslam [ November 17th, 2019, 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Have bow saw. Will travel.

As a point of interest, and not to get too far off topic, I went to the Forest Management planning session for the Ogoki forest last week. While discussing things such buffers for canoe routes and such, I asked them who was responsible for marking the buffers to prevent cutting in the buffer zones. They said the forest company. I then asked who was responsible for enforcement of those buffers, and the reporting of violations. Well, no surprise there, the forestry company. So the fox is left in charge of the hen house. If you guys saw the full scale devastation going on up here, you would quickly adjust your perspective for one guy with a hand saw cutting a few trees on a creek.

Let me ask a similar question to the OP. This summer, my buddy and I opened up three new canoe routes in the area. In many places we had to cut sweepers, parts of log jams, and create several new ports. If you guys are going on canoe trips almost anywhere, you are benefiting from people who have gone before you and done the same thing the OP is proposing. Despite the prevalence of the LNT religion, canoeing is not and has never been a LNT practice. Even in parks, where you don't have to clear anything or create campsites, there are crews of workers with chainsaws doing it. If you want to canoe trip, you have to realize that at some point, someone has had to cut trees to create or maintain the route.

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