The ”Fix-the-Gull” project has completed Phase 1-2-3. As of August 2020 Phase 4 is currently underway with major river work completed. Trail improvements and a few hazard rocks are next, as is the wall @ River Left by Horseshoe Dam.
The original plan was approved by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and Department of Fisheries and Oceans in April 2018, with a timeframe to complete all 4 phases in a 5 year window. 2018-2022.
- Phase 1 - install Put-in/Take-Out steps at the Washout @ River Right. The area most often used by local summer camps and leadership centres, and recreational paddlers finishing the river. This took over 1 week.
- Phase 2 - extensive boulder movement on the lower section, creating new eddies, and rebuilding eddy walls. This took 5 days in 2018.
- Phase 3 - movement of hazard boulders that had migrated into the surfwaves at the washout. This work took 3 hours.
- Phase 4 - clearing of hazard boulders in the lower, middle and upper sections. Stabilizing walls to avoid losing rocks in high flow, and flatten to support civilians and hikers from twisting an ankle. The upper wall on south side is to be worked on as the Horseshoe Dam is completed (2020).
It has been a long road. Volunteers like Denis McGee of Haliburton (OC-1) and Dave Gillespie (K1) helped design the applications to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Their work took weeks of collecting photographs of boulders, flows, and GPS coordinates, and the overall application.
Other volunteers. Mike Yee (OC), Victor Ettel (OC, K1), Dave Humphrys (OC), Brent Beck, Hugh Beaton, Thom Lambert (K1 + angler), Marc Joanis (K1), and Ed Poropat (K1) and a few paddlers with input have been critical to the effective implementation of the Fix-The-Gull work to date.
For the past 40 years, the Gull River and Minden Whitewater Preserve has provided whitewater experiences like ”Intro to Whitewater” with friends, families, clients and summer campers, paddlers surfing their 1st wave, rescue training for firefighters, fishing for anglers, marriage proposals and weddings, and of course whitewater races for athletes, recreational and international, like the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and Annual Open Canoe Race, and many others.
But things have changed. The Gull River Whitewater Preserve was in trouble.
Due to major floods in 2014, 2016 and now 2017, the river has significant movement of boulders, disintegration of eddy walls, and hazardous rocks into mid-river. With the high volume of users in recent years, there is also the expected erosion of canoe/kayak “put-ins” and “takeout” paths.
A comprehensive application for work permits was submitted to the OMNRF for river and shoreline work over a 3 year period. Starting in 2018, it will be focused on paddler high use areas and safety issues.
Overall the project will cost has an revised estimate of $45,000. Whitewater Ontario raised $18,000 from WO membership fees, contracts with partners, and camping fees. Private donors from the paddling community raised $18,000. Grants and funding sources are being explored, but are limited. We have raised $40,000 in WO reserves and donations in kind.
Thanks to Algonquin Outfitters and Camp Medeba Outdoor Centre, Kernoghan Construction for stepping up with physical labour on site.
That leaves the project in need of $5,000. The river still needs your help.
If you can donate $25 or 100, or have a source of funding, it all makes a difference. Give us a call or email. Or go direct and click here for the National Sport Trust Fund donation path that generates a charitable receipt.
May all enjoy the preserve,
Dave Gillespie (Fix-The-Gull Committee Chair)