This past weekend a group of us decided to check out what the Black River had to offer. Most conscientious paddlers are well aware of the fact that the closer to home they paddle, the closer the restrictions of land use. Sure the water is free use, but when you have to portage that dam and someone owns that land adjacent to the dam…you are trespassing!
We picked our route in advance and had the put in and take out spots mapped from a variety of sources available to us, none of which offering the head’s up regarding private property to be avoided.
The day came, and magnificent it was! The river was run, twice, and we all had a blast including a stop over on an island. The island offered three choices of travel. One of which offered a potential head wound, the second, a definite wash and rinse cycle if you mis-planted a paddle, and the third, yielded yet, a further selection of two different routes down stream.
The canoeists I was with ran the rapids ( we kind of agreed to say C2 Tech) three times in tandem and in a variety of paddlers, Ben ran it once solo, and Ben also ran it solo but he forgot the canoe….we’re working with him on that one…..! This was a day trip only so there was no camping as we only wanted a taste of the river. I ran some photos along with a write-up of the day and it came to my attention that we may have trespassed on someones land.
Well after the alarm bells went off, I started to think about what potential could could come of my post heralding the merits of this river. Let me eliminate some conjecture here! My Angel wings will be hard fought for and well earned, I hope, however, in my advancing years there are some things I still hold true. If you take it in, take it out, if someone else takes it in and forgets, take it out. If the sign says “Private Property” and you don’t live there, it’s not your sign and it’s not your property!
I immediately contacted the Chippewas of Rama First Nation as there are two problems here. The first being trespassing and the second being the broadcasting of such a great area and potentially increasing the offence. The gentleman I spoke with was of great assistance and understood exactly where I was coming from. An email was forwarded and he said he’d be in touch. What a relief when I received his call this morning informing me that we had not been on their property. An invaluable lesson has been learned this day. If you want the benefit of proximity, balance it with the value and appreciation of land ownership and access. The only foolish question is the one not asked……Excuse me, may I use this for the purpose of…….?
Remember I mentioned Gold? The gentleman I spoke with, his Brother hand built a birchbark canoe many years ago and it was featured as a display at Casino Rama. With some alterations planned the canoe was on it’s way out when the Council asked for it back. The gentleman I spoke with noticed my signature as the Canoe Collector and extended an invitation to the Chippewas of Rama First Nation museum to see the canoe. Truly, an incredible honour and one I will not take lightly.
If you take this route of travel, please pay the respect it is due!