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Help with French River Ontario Planning

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Jul 17, 2019
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Good Evening,

As the weather in Ontario starts to warm up I am beginning to look ahead at my schedule for 2022 Paddling Season and start creating some real plans instead of just daydreaming.

I have always been interested in paddling the length of the French River between Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay. I have watched some videos online and performed some google searches in relation to the logistics of the trip.

I am wondering if anyone has any information or has done a trip like this before that they might be able to provide.

I am mainly interested in figuring out parking and shuttling. As I will be with a small group we could potentially do our own shuttling by leaving a vehicle at each end of the trip and shuttling vehicles around at the start and end of the canoe trip. Is there any companies in the area that provide a vehicle shuttle service to pick people up near the end of the French River and return them to a vehicle? What are potential start and end points that would allow vehicles to be parked and left for a week or more?

I have also considered the possibility of starting at Restoule Provincial park and paddling and portaging my way north into the Nipissing where the French River begins. Does anyone have any experience with that route? I can't seem to find much information on it and the maps (attached so you can see what I am looking at) look like the last stretch before Lake Nipissing are a small stream or creek. I am concerned that it might be dried up in the heat of summer.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
 

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When I was on the French, around 20 years ago, I saw hundreds of people, and the shores and portages in the section I was on were lined with toilet paper and feces. Perhaps it has improved since then.
 
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Part of Kevin Callen's presentation at Canoecopia was on French River. Consider the virtual Canoecopia $15, try his website https://kevincallan.com/ and see if he'll respond directly, or his books. I think he said he was there last year.
 
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In the videos I have watched I haven’t seen anything that makes the river look littered. It’s possible that it’s been cleaned up now that it’s considered a Provincial park. If I see an abundance of litter on our trip I will be sure to let everyone know.

I’m going to try to attend the outdoor adventure show. I have met Kevin there before. If he is at the show this year I will be sure to ask him about the river and see what insight he has. That is assuming he isn’t too overwhelmed. He’s a bit of a celebrity at the show. I’ve got a few of his books kicking around so I’ll take a look and see if any of them have mention of the French river.

I think navigating the river itself should be pretty straight forward. The maps seem to be quite detailed. The logistics of vehicle shuttling and parking seems to be the most daunting task to figure out.
 
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