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1/29/2018 8:43 pm  #1


Macdonald Rapids Portage

I last did the Petawawa in 2015 and the Macdonal Rapids portage ran along the old rail bed.  The original portage use to run south of the river.  The CNR told the Park to stop using their rail bed as portages.  Devil's Chute had been re-routed when I did it in 2016.  Anyone done Macdonald Rapids portage after June 2015 and can confirm the location of the portage?
Thanks.


www.algonquinvoyageur.blogspot.ca
'...a man is part of his canoe and therefore part of all it knows. The instant he dips a paddle he flows as it flows.’ Sigurd Olson
 

1/29/2018 10:48 pm  #2


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

In 2017 the signed portage was located on the rail bed.

 

1/29/2018 10:54 pm  #3


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

I think it would be pretty dangerous to move that portage away from where people are expecting it without some significant signage. That said I didn't even look towards River Right for a sign at the old portage landing.

 

1/30/2018 10:35 am  #4


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

Tripper wrote:

I last did the Petawawa in 2015 and the Macdonal Rapids portage ran along the old rail bed.  The original portage use to run south of the river.  The CNR told the Park to stop using their rail bed as portages.  Devil's Chute had been re-routed when I did it in 2016.
Thanks.

It would make sense to re-route the Devil's Chute portage as the up-river landing was eroding badly and becoming steeper and more difficult to traverse.
 

 

2/08/2018 3:32 pm  #5


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

It's still on the rail bed and frankly, even if they changed it, I'd still use the rail bed....
I thought technically nobody owned them anymore??

 

2/09/2018 8:08 am  #6


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

From the material I've read which seems to be credible, neither CNR or the province claim they own the railbed, at least from the consideration of environmental cleanup. The no trespassing signs may be directed at motorized traffic, or access of any kind. Not sure just what the charge would be if caught trespassing but I've seen Algonquin hunters driving along the bed and probably some cottagers also use the bed for access.

 

2/10/2018 9:41 am  #7


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

frozentripper wrote:

From the material I've read which seems to be credible, neither CNR or the province claim they own the railbed, at least from the consideration of environmental cleanup. The no trespassing signs may be directed at motorized traffic, or access of any kind. Not sure just what the charge would be if caught trespassing but I've seen Algonquin hunters driving along the bed and probably some cottagers also use the bed for access.

A friend of mine will be skiing from the South River area to Brent on the railbed starting in a few days.

 

2/10/2018 10:30 am  #8


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

When we were on the MacDonald Rapids portage this year we passed a pick up truck with two white water kayakers (I hitched a ride with them to shorten my portage). We also passed 3 Fat Bikers who were following the rail bed on their way to Parry Sound. I thought that was a great use of the old rail bed.

 

2/10/2018 10:38 am  #9


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

MartinG wrote:

When we were on the MacDonald Rapids portage this year we passed a pick up truck with two white water kayakers (I hitched a ride with them to shorten my portage). We also passed 3 Fat Bikers who were following the rail bed on their way to Parry Sound. I thought that was a great use of the old rail bed.

The truck I dont agree with so much, but the fat bikers were making good use of the trail for sure!
As for the trucks, obviously they were either Algonquin natives or lease-holders... good for them being aloud to bring their truck in there (I'm jealous) but it does suck to work hard for days on end to get to a destination just to realize people can drive right in.

 

2/10/2018 1:45 pm  #10


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

Not really relevant to this thread - just a little historical note.  The portage around MacDonald Rapids actually was originally along the railway tracks; the oldest Algonquin canoeing map we have (circa 1970) shows it as such, and we did that portage in 1976.  There was room to get out of the way of trains on all the trackbed portages at that time, but it wasn't a comfortable feeling.

Anyway, as we later found out, either in 1976 or shortly thereafter, two people were killed by a train while attempting to portage across the trestle at the foot of MacDonald Rapids.  Whether they missed the trail down to the put in or they thought it would be a shortcut is not clear.  Within a few years - by 1981 according to park maps - the trail was established along the south side of the river.   Once the railway stopped running - around 1995 I think - the portage returned to the railway bed.  It first appears on a park map from 2001, IIRC.

 

2/10/2018 2:44 pm  #11


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

frozentripper wrote:

From the material I've read which seems to be credible, neither CNR or the province claim they own the railbed, at least from the consideration of environmental cleanup.

That's what I'd always heard too. But a couple years ago I got a call from someone at CN in response to a note to that effect on the map.

They, in no uncertain terms, said that CN accepts ownership and responsibility for the rail bed and it's environmental problems (and then asked if I could remove the note that suggested otherwise from the map).
 


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2/11/2018 10:41 am  #12


Re: Macdonald Rapids Portage

Thanks for providing the more recent info, Jeff... I was going with Algonquin EcoWatch's earlier statements that neither the province or CNR owned or were responsible for management of the rail bed... AEW may have had lawyers investigating the matter (fuzzy memory now) which could make that earlier statement relevant when it comes to determining who is actually responsible and who, if anybody, is going to lay charges against non-compliance. And what is the actual legal basis for laying a charge... non-compliance with theTrespass To Property Act?  That should be posted on the No Trepassing signs and I don't recall seeing that law written but again, fuzzy memory.

Maybe all this doesn't matter if the law, if any aw in particular actually applies, isn't being enforced... I haven't read of anybody being charged with anything on the rail bed. Maybe the signage is a measure taken against possible liability on CNR's part in case of injury or accident while on the rail bed but that's speculation only.

In addition to the others, I've seen park or MNR staff driving with an ATV on the rail bed in the past and wildlife researchers have used snowmobiles on the railbed in their studies. Maybe special permission had to be obtained but who knows. Anyway, any info about someone actually being charged while trespassing would be good to know.

Here's a TR of a recent overnight bike trip along the rail bed... there doesn't seem to be much worry shown here about being charged. And since the rail bed's ties and rails were removed in 1995, twenty years is plenty of time for the ground to colonize with vegetation and become impassable  (some parts that I've walked are overgrown but they aren't shown, except for the flooded area, maybe west of Clemow lake). But there it is in the photos clear and free of vegetation looking like it's been driven on regularly so maybe that's more evidence that there's no enforcement.

There are some scenic parts of the railbed that I plan to return to and photograph.someday, unless CNR starts cracking down on all those offenders. There doesn't seem to be much worry about being charged if there is actual legal basis for it, and maybe things could change.. 

http://pedalpushendure.blogspot.ca/2016/10/gate-to-gate.html

 

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