Wilderness Tours will provide access to the river for paddlers

Whitewater Area – After six years of pay-per-view access, Wilderness Tours is waiving fees for private paddlers using company property to launch and remove their boats from the water.

“The purpose of this is to provide a fairer opportunity for everyone to experience the Ottawa River,” Katie Kowalski of Wilderness Tours told Whitewater Regional Council at its December 15th meeting. The pay-per-use fee structure for take-out paddler access was intended to offset the costs associated with providing this service to the public, including road maintenance, snow removal, emergency response. , garbage collection, theft, vandalism cleanup, insurance and liability. . Wilderness Tours recognizes the pressure the paid model has placed on the community and the obstacles it has placed for some paddlers. We’ve thought about it and with our core value of sharing the magic of living water, we are committed to accessing the Ottawa River and supporting the long-term growth and development of the whitewater community.

Ms Kowalski said that from 2022, a simple check-in at the entrance reception desk will suffice for take-out access.

“The full 2022 park policies and access information will be released soon,” she said. “This is a long term commitment to access which we believe is in line with our renewed commitment to community, economic equity and for the benefit of our local tourism community which is also dependent on access. to world-class whitewater as part of their own destination marketing. . ”

Ms. Kowalski and her father, Joe, attended the virtual board meeting via Zoom technology.

Last June, Whitewater Ontario, a provincially recognized sports governing body, proposed a partnership with the municipality to establish a land use agreement and develop public access on McCoy Road, a municipal right-of-way, to to create public recreational access for paddlers, swimmers, fishermen, hikers and mountain bikers.

At its July 7 meeting, council adopted a recommendation directing township staff to continue to seek long-term public access to the whitewater portion of the river; to further examine the possibilities of partnering with Whitewater Ontario with respect to access and programs, and to investigate with landowners whether access can be provided using existing entry and exit locations on private property to ensure affordable public access, and that this be done before resorting to the opening of a now unopened road allowance, as recommended by Whitewater Ontario.

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