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The Gull is nearly dry right now.

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    You could wade the entire thing today, top to bottom, except for the pool below the falls. It’s still a few feet deep.

    Some interesting observations;

    The concrete peir that forms the head of the first drop after the dam is in terrible condition, rebar exposed and parts of the core eroded away. It isn’t dangerous but it is well on it’s way to breaking.

    The rock that forms the slot move above and left of the falls has a fairly large hole underneath that flows thru. Not large enough to fit a boat or paddler but probably large enough for an arm or leg to get caught in. It would grab a paddle nicely as well.

    At the bottom of the falls on center there is a rock wedged against the bedrock. Just right of the usual line and left of the right sliding line is where you’d find this rock. I’m not talking about the rock that causes the rooster tail just right of the mainline, this one is a bit further right and probably hidden in the foam at most normal levels. I suspect it could be really nasty to hit this rock at some levels. I’m not sure if it has always been there or fallen into this spot recently. It is oriented in a way that it could cause a pretty large rooster tail and could pin a boat under some circumstances.

    Most of the midstream rocks in the section after the falls are sort of back cut on the upstream side, not in a way that would be trouble for boats under normal circumstances but they could be trouble for swimmers in feet first positions.

    River right above the Otter Slide there is an undercut that would be hard to see from above at normal water levels. It is huge, room for a few boats in this thing. It is very similar in apperance to the caves located above on the same bank of the river. Again, not much of an issue for normal boating but if you find yourself swimming in this area of the Gull think left, left, left!!!

    All of the above stuff is degradation from the original enhancement of the Gull all those years ago. Some aren’t a big deal but some could be changing for the worse.

    The Otterslide is really cool to see at this level, the riverbed is not nearly as steep as the drop appears with water on it. The bedrock here looses about 2 feet of elevation from the area just above the constriction walls to the area just below where the Flint is located in the Quartz at the bottom of the trough area. Another cool fact, if you do find yourself swimming left above the Otterslide and it doesn’t work you probably can get down the left side of the thing without to much pain. There is a fairly deep slot even at this low level. It is about 2 feet wide all the way along the very left side of the entire length of the Otterslide. Lying dead flat would give you a pretty good chance of sliding down this side without a scratch. I’m not advising anybody test this but I know where I’m going to be if I ever find myself out of my boat above the Otterslide.

    One last thing I saw was all kinds of larvae and insects sufocating in the dewatered margins of the river. No doubt similar things are happening to fish and other aquatic inhabitants.

    I have never seen the river as low as today, hopefully it was just for a short time after an adjustment.

    Kevin M

    The Irvine is the same as you ran it and the Grand is higher.
    The troll was hungry last night. It had a couple of snacks.

    Peter Karwacki

    This is where those camera cell phones come in handy,

    A picture paints a thousand words.



    So it is lower yet today. Virtually all of the gravel beds are above the water line. Rainbow Trout have been stocked in this area in the past. They would be preparing to spawn right now and use gravel to incubate eggs. Huge conflict of logic and interest this business of one government group screwing up completely the work of another government group. Aside from the phenomenal waste of effort and tax dollars this is enviromentally pretty damed sad.

    What a hypocritical load of bullshit that Parks Canada can do this to the Gull yet we as paddlers are forbidden from moving things around to enhance or improve the run.

    The Hart Lodge dam at the top of Mountain Lake is actually not letting any water pass. If this keeps up the Gull will actually be dry in a day or two.

    By the way this kind of manipulation is pretty common in the off season when cottagers and tourists aren’t around. This particular occasion is the worst I’ve seen over the last 5 seasons.

    Another interesting fact is that Haliburton Lake Trout are virtually unique, they are an independant strain peculiar to Haliburton Lakes. Much effort has been made to protect and enhance these unusual and rare fish. While all other rivers and watersheds are in or approaching spring run off the Gull system is nearly at a stand still. I doubt this is as devastating to these rare Lake Trout as to river oriented Rainbows but I have no doubt at all that this is not in their best interest.

    It’s not that I’m pissed about the lack of water for paddling, there are all kinds of choices for that right now. I really think this is hypocracy at the highest level as well as truly an enviromental screw up. Just one example of how these Gull River water resources are abused for the benefit of another region.


    Why don’t you call the guys are Parks Canada and voice your concerns. The number for the head office in Peterborough is 1-888-773-8888. Ask for someone in water control . If they can’t help you, ask for the local number to the office in Haliburton. (I think I know it but I won’t post it just in case I’m wrong and someone gets a flood of angry calls).

    I suspect that the water is not shut off like this intentionally but is actually a biproduct of some new people trying to get a handle on the job of managing the HUGE area up there.

    Let us know how it turns out.

    Peter Karwacki

    I already have email out to officials about this based on Gary’s findings.

    Go ahead and give the Parks Canada number a call.

    Our friends at PWGSC control Parks Canada now, not Heritage as it used to be.

    We know one thing, PWGSC and Les Amis are currently not playing nicely.



    Hey Peter – I’ve never met you but it sounds like you do a lot of good work out there. Thanks for what you do in the big arena. I don’t think that this is a policy problem that needs to be addressed in the big arena. The problem that Gary, I mean Hipnazi, identified is a local issue that was caused by the local people trying to do their job, and can be corrected by those same people. No one wants to be responsible for killing fish and other creatures in the river, a polite phone call to the right person would get this taken care of in short order.

    Also – Parks Canada will do something long before the MNR will. I would suggest using the phone (not email – it’s older guys making the decisions and the phone will work better wtih them) and calling the people that can actually pull the logs and get something done today and save the letter writing campaign for later on. I’m a pragmatist and I can’t apologize for it!


    Thanks Ryan for your suggestions. I’m assuming this is Ryan Ellis. I get why you may be concerned that I or someone else might be going over the top by winding people up about something that probably can be dealt with easily and locally.

    As you may already know the Trent Severn Waterway agreements are coming under fresh scrutiny. There is a new opportunity to make real changes in how water from these Haliburton Lakes gets used. It may actually turn out that we as paddlers are in for a change we don’t like. It just might be that the solid and reliable flows of the Gull will be changed for the worse rather than better. Hopefully things remain similar where we are concerned but if cottagers and residents of these lakes get what they want it may be negative for the Gull as regards paddling levels.

    I hope people might be willing to get involved with this beyond just chewing out some local dam controller or a public relations guy in Peterborough.

    Personally the issue for me is the fact that Parks Canada can treat the system the way they have particularly over the last 2 seasons. The variations have been greater, the dewatering of the river has been more frequent and more severe. For me the big question is how can this go on under the nose of so many people. I am aware there is a new guy at the wheel here but this isn’t the kind of job that ought to be learned by trial and error on the job. That certainly appears to be the way of it for a couple years now.

    I’ve got some pretty wild pictures from today, I’ll see if we can get them up for people to see soon.


    Gord Miller is the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. He is also a paddler. Call him
    (416) 325-3377


    and take some pics.

    This I got to see.



    What about the hunting/fishing lobby groups? Do they know that trout spawning beds are drying up? I think as a lobby group in general I get the impression they have a lot of pull on issues like this…(IE precious spawning beds drying up) I’m not sure if that would help or just make this more challenging.. but thought i’d throw it out there..



    Your exactly right Cboater, the best way to get attention is to show that there is much more at stake than a few fish or a couple runs in a kayak.

    I’m looking at how to get myself into the process of changing the way Parks Canada uses this water. There is plenty of local (by that I mean Gull watershed) interest in seeing some changes.

    Not to be bringing up old crud but for the WO bashers out there you can think of this as WO doing something for you.

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