Sites & Associated Activities:
- canoe descent of river of approximately 85 miles, including camping arrangements along the river
- Woodsmen's Museum, Boiestown
- Salmon Museum, Doaktown
- environmental activity: use of seining net to examine fish species in the estuary of the Miramichi River by MREAC http://www.mreac.org/
- examination of a wetland for the direct improvement of a section of the watershed by MREAC
- experiential visit to Beaubear Island Interpretive Centre (national heritage site) including paddling in a 26' big canoe, "Sipu". http://www.beaubearsisland.ca/
- learning visit to a salmon hatchery, Miramichi Salmon Conservation centre http://www.salmoncentre.ca/
- visit to Metepenagiag First Nations Heritage Centre, Metepenagiag (Redbank) http://www.metepenagiag.com/rbexhibit_en.htm
Initial Contacts & Follow-up:
Initial contacts began in July 2010 but the primary local work was done in 2011, particularly when it became known that the project was a go following confirmation of funding by the Canadian Canoe Foundation
CKNB was instrumental with the following:
- detailed layout of the itinerary since the hired outfitter was not familiar with the Southwest Miramichi. A thirteen page written guide was provided to the guides & CCF
of the canoe adventure
- contacts made with all site & activity sources listed above including some costs negotiation
- arrangement for vehicle driver to return bus & canoe trailer to the bottom of the river
- potential sources of funding passed to the CCF
- provided a resource for the poster distribution
- provided some information to relevant contacts within the school system
- assisted where possible with information distribution including the CKNB website, newsletter, community & provincial Department of Tourism & Parks
- maintain ongoing coordination with the CCF
- assisted with the half-day canoe clinic at the beginning of the adventure, day 1.
- provided 60% of the photos appearing on the Canadian Canoe Foundation website: http://www.canadiancanoefoundation.ca/photo_album.php?albumid=9
A lot of the work above by CKNB would not have been necessary if the outfitter had been familiar with the river system.
Impressions & Recommendations:
1. All of the youth had a great experience & have, indeed, become ambassadors for the river system.
2. Thanks to the funding provided by the CCF, these families all had a great trip with little or no cost to them.
Maintain close co-operation & communication with the CCF, the model works.
Patrick Henry, from CCF was very good to work making things work with positive ongoing communication.
3. Please see some testimonials by some parents:
"I just wanted to write and say a big thank you... My son, ... had a really great time and was able to learn the importance of preserving & promoting our beautiful river. This is specifically important... He made friends and memories, shared laughs and companionship, learned values and appreciation. Thanks again for your wonderful program...".
"Just wanted to say a big Thank You to all the people who were involved in this wonderful trip...had a great time and made some great new friends....We would definately reccommend this trip to any young person...Once again "Thank You" to everyone...."
"Thanks again for the work...with the kids, greatly appreciated!!!
...he really enjoyed himself & spoke of what he learnt....telling us about the style (or was it position) of the paddle when doing certain turns (or did he say ...could tell the age of a salmon. There were lots of giggles when he was telling...about his adventure with his group...so happy to hear that he really enjoyed himself."
4. The youth made new friends but perhaps more important learned some life skills that hopefully may become significant as they mature: getting along with others, value of working together, the environment, respect for self & others.
5. There is also a possibility that this trip may be the seed for them to have enhanced canoe training in 2012 & a subsequent descent of a more challenging river, also in 2012.
6. Utilize an outfitter who:
- where possible, has detailed knowledge of the specific river system
- where the guides are skilled in dealing with this age group as were the guides on the Miramichi Adventure
7. Assist CCF where possible re potential funding sources so, once approved, the mechanics of the trip can be developed as well as communications within the school system prior to the end of June of the year of the canoe adventure.
8. The river system chosen is safe for likely limited canoe skills and the age group.
I heartily endorse working with the Canadian Canoe Foundation for a similar canoe adventure in all locals across the country.
Consequently, CKNB has already agreed to move ahead for a different river trip for youth in 2012.
You can read the report on the CKNB website: http://www.canoekayaknb.org
If anyone wishes to talk to me regarding any of the above information, I can be reached via my email address and/or my telephone number below.