Welcome To The Website of the
Upper French River Cottagers Association
The French River is located in Ontario, Canada, and defines the boundary between Parry Sound and Nipissing Districts. The French River flows southwest from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. The "Upper" French River lies between Lake Nipissing and the Chaudiere Dams at Dokis First Nation. An historic First Nation and fur trade canoe route, the French River is now a Provincial Park, the home to citizens of Dokis First Nation, and the summer residence of hundreds of cottagers.
The Members menu (at left) displays Membership Information and Form, but more options are available when members Log In. To contact the UFRCA about any issue or to make inquiries, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the North Bay waterfront, May 10, 2018. The slabs of ice are about 10 cm (4”) thick.
Posted May 18, 2018
The Spring newsletter was distributed yesterday to all current UFRCA members. If you should have received it but did not, contact email@example.com. The newsletter is posted in "Newsletters" and members can log in to view it there.
May 16 Update on Lake Levels
Here’s the latest information on lake levels as of May 16, based on information provided to the Sturgeon-Nipissing-French Stakeholder Committee (of which UFRCA is a member) by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Public Works and Government Services Canada.
The ice is officially off the lake and all the snow in the watershed (which extends of north of Lake Temagami) is now melted.
Lake levels have risen slightly in the last day or so and are now getting near to the upper end of the summer operating range. They are not expected to rise much more over the next few days and may actually decrease somewhat. That’s because inflows to the lake have decreased significantly over the past few days and are expected to decrease further because (a) the spring runoff is almost done and (b) the weather is predicted to be dry for the next couple of weeks. No precipitation is anticipated for the next five days, and there are no major weather systems in the forecast for the next two weeks. This means that outflows from the lake will probably continue to go down over this period.
As a precautionary measure, to protect lake levels in the longer term, MNRF and PWGSC have slightly reduced the outflow to the Lower French River in the last couple of days. This has caused some concern on the part of fishing camps on the Lower French about the impact that lower levels there could have on spawning. MNRF and PWGSC indicated they are keeping the dam outflows at the current level for at least a week to allow for spawning but will be monitoring Lower River levels on a daily basis.
For UFRCA members, the key message is that so long as precipitation remains normal for the spring and summer (not unusually dry or wet over a sustained period), we should be looking at relatively normal lake levels for the summer operating season.
Very Dry Conditions
Posted May 16, 2018
Very dry conditions have resulted in a ban on open burning in the North Bay area. This will be updated if West Nipissing and/or MNRF also announce bans on open burning. Even if there is no actual ban, be extremely cautious at the cottage or in the bush. Fire permits are required in West Nipissing when there is no fire ban.
Is Lake Nipissing Ice-free?
Posted May 14, 2018
Updated May 16, 2018.
YES! Officially the date for 2018 is May 14.
Watch for the official announcement soon. Unfortunately, the NASA Worldview satellite image today (May 14) was slightly obscured by a bit of thin cloud, but it appears that any significant ice has disappeared.
See the Nugget article May 16, 2018
Dry Spring Equals Heightened Forest Fire Risk
Posted May 14, 2018
How quickly conditions change! The trees have not yet flushed yet and ground conditions are becoming quite dry. If you are planning to open the cottage in the next few weeks, be aware of the heightened fire risk. Currently there are 10 active fires in the northeast region. See the May 14 Nugget article.
Walleye Spawning Underway - late spring not a concern
Posted May 13, 2018
See the North Bay Nugget article here.
May 11 Update from the Sturgeon-Nipissing-French Group
Posted May 11, 2018
The level for the lake today may be seen on this graph issued by PWC (Public Works Canada) who maintain and regulate the Chaudiere Dams. Significant on the graph are two red lines, one dotted and one solid, and the green vertical axis scale on the left side. The dotted red line is the goal, while the solid red line is the actual level. Two solid lines, one light purple and the other light blue) bracket the target tange. The summer target range is between 195.75 and 195.95 metres above sea level (masl). This graph illustrates the late but rapid increase in the lake level due to the prolonged cold weather in April and early May coupled with the late spring freshet. The level today is 195.80 masl - now within the summer target range. Note that the level of the lake is measured to the top surface which includes the remaining ice. PWC is predicting that with current rates of inflow and outflow and weather forecasts, the lake could be at flood level of 196.1 masl by May 29.
Foggy North Bay Waterfront
Posted May 10, 2018
Temperature +5 C; visibility 30 m (thick fog).
Update on Spring Freshet: Lake Nipissing Ice-Off and Water Levels - Elevated Risk Over the Next Few Days
Posted May 9, 2018
There is still significant ice on the Lake but it should be pretty much gone in the next two days. But between now and when the ice is out, there could be problems.
Because of the late ice, in combination with the late freshet, people on the Lake are looking at an elevated risk of damage over the next couple of days. Here’s why.
Precipitation this spring and winter has been within normal levels based on long-term historical averages. But normally the spring melt/freshet would have started sooner, which gives the Ministries that control the dams more time to manage flows and keep the levels from getting too high.
This year, the freshet is happening in a more compressed timeframe – the same historical volume of water coming into the Lake but in a shorter timeframe. That means it’s harder this year for the Ministries to keep up with the inflows without completely flooding out the Lower French River.
In the past, when there has been an elevated risk of damage at this point in the spring, it was usually just because of high water levels – since the ice would be long gone.
Thus, for the next few days, the risk of damage is due to the combination of high water and late ice. The level on Lake Nipissing on May 9 is 195.75 metres above sea level – right at the summer level. The NASA Worldview satellite image shows extensive ice coverage – although decidedly grey.
When we get more news in the next day or two, we’ll post it here. The temperature in North Bay today (May 9) was 25C and there is rain in the forecast for May 10. The ice should be gone in a few days.
Spring Freshet Underway
Posted May 7, 2018
West Nipissing Switch to OPP
Posted May 4, 2018
Municipality of West Nipissing’s change to OPP policing is continuing despite a court challenge from the police services board. The changeover is expected to be completed by October, 2018.
West Nipissing proceeding – May 4, 2018 Nugget
Police Board takes council to court – May 2, 2018 Nugget
West Nipissing going with OPP – December 6, 2018 Nugget
When will the ice be off Lake Nipissing?
Posted April 28, 2018
Updated May 3, 2018
April 28 is a significant date. It is the average date that Lake Nipissing has been declared ice free since record keeping began in 1901. Some may think that the ‘average date’ is the most usual occurrence or what’s expected, but that is a misunderstanding. In fact, April 28 has been the official ice-free date only seven times. Not exactly a common occurrence.
The winter of 2017-18 has been unusual, as most know, and the result was very thick ice on area lakes. There were extended periods of extreme cold, several rain events, a drought of snow in March, and abundant snow and below normal temperatures in April. This was to the delight of area skiers who enjoyed an extended spring skiing season – the best ever! But for cottagers who have been looking forward to an early season escape, you will have to wait. Lake Nipissing and the Upper French are encased in thick ice, and today, the North Bay area is receiving a bit of fresh snow along with below average temperatures. A warming trend is in the forecast early May.
To view the lake from space, see this NASA Worldview satellite image which is updated daily with a new image. Check the date in the bottom left corner and reset to the current date. Zoom in and around to locate the Great Lakes and Lake Nipissing. On a clear day, Lake Nipissing is very visible, and with a bit of imagination you can determine the status of the Upper French: dark black indicates open water. (Of interest, note the green algal bloom covering most of Lake Erie. This has been in the news and a cause for concern for the last few years.) If you check this web site frequently, you can click through daily images and witness the transition from white to grey to black as the ice recedes from the lake.
When will Nipissing be ice free? We are predicting that May 10 will be the official date this year. See the historical record of ice free dates here.
Posted April 9, 2018
The UFRCA expresses its profound sympathies to the Rooney and Chirico families after the recent passing of Laurie Rooney, wife of UFRCA Board Member and Treasurer Peter Rooney. Laurie was a long-time cottager on the Upper French and will be missed. The obituary may be seen at http://yourlifemoments.ca/sitepages/obituary.asp?oId=1072730
DEADLINE APRIL 15 FOR THE UFRCA PHOTO CONTEST
ACT NOW AND DON'T BE DISAPPOINTED!
2018 UFRCA Photo Contest
Posted February 13, 2018
The 2018 UFRCA Photo Contest is now on. There is no better time than during the cold days of winter to search our photos and remind ourselves of the past great summer on the French River! The April 15 deadline will be here before we know it in just 2 months.
We are asking cottagers to dig through those great cottage memories and forward photos to our panel of volunteer judges. As in prior years there will be three categories. Every year we have Nature and French River Life and for 2018, the special category will be “Oh No” photos. Did your boat sink? Did a tree come down? Did your husband take apart the pump and not remember how to put it back together? That’s the sort of thing we’re looking for. Photos may be entered until April 15, 2018. They should be sent as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entry Limit - three photos per photographer, no limit per cottage.
When submitting photos include:
a) the UFRCA name associated with the photo
b) the full name and address for each photographer
c) good quality JPEG photo attachments, 10 MB max file size
d) MOST IMPORTANTLY, which category each photo is to be entered: Nature, French River Life, or “Oh No”
Any photo can be entered except those entered in previous UFRCA photo contests.
The Photo Contest awards announcements and video displays have been highlights of the last several AGMs. Let’s repeat that in 2018. See http://ufrca.com/index.php?page=galleries for the 2017 Photo Contest winning entries.
December Newsletter Distributed
Posted December 12, 2017
The December newsletter was distributed recently to the membership. If you did not receive the e-mail but should have, contact email@example.com
Breaking News - West Nipissing votes to bring back OPP
Posted December 6, 2017
News media today revealed that West Nipissing Municipality has voted to accept the OPP offer to provide policing to the municipality. For cottagers in the Upper French River and Lake Nipissing region, the result will be that all policing responsibilities (both water and land) will fall to the OPP, instead of using two police forces for different issues.
See the North Bay Nugget article here.
See the Bay Today article here.
Links and YouTube Videos
Posted October 18, 2017
The Links page has been rebranded and now features YouTube videos of special interest to French River cottagers. If you see something that would be of interest, please submit to any Board member.
Police Chief Seguin to remain until policing decision is made
Posted October 6, 2017
The Municipality of West Nipissing is once again studying the feasibility of switching from the local West Nipissing Police Service to the OPP. This has been a contentious issue for Upper French River Cottagers for many years, as it has meant dealing with two police services for different issues and depending on whether one's cottage location is on the north side of the river (Bertram Township - West Nipissing) or the south side (unorganized townships in Parry Sound District). Current WNP Chief Seguin, slated to retire, will stay in his position until a decision is made and/or a new chief is hired. For the North Bay Nugget article, click here .
The Annual General Meeting was held successfully at Solid Comfort on August 6. Thank you again to the great hosts there and especially the chef and crew who prepared the very tasty treats for the large crowd of about 70 cottagers. The draft minutes of the meeting will be posted in Newsletters (Members Section) when they become available. Continuing on the Board of Directors for the 2017-18 season are Holly Waters, Liz Gribbon, Jeff Hamilton, Peter Rooney, and Sam Goodwin, plus new Board member Amanda Derks. With the retirement of Directors Liz Gallagher, Kathy LaBranche, and Dave Minden (President) there are a total of 3 vacancies on the 9-member Board. To volunteer to be on the Board, contact any Board member or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted August 16, 2017
In the Photo Gallery, you can view the spectacular winning photos from the 2017 Photo Contest. Congratulations to all, and thanks to Jeff Hamilton who coordinated the entire contest and judging. Also posted are a few photos from the Chaudiere Lodge Fish Fry Social. Unfortunately it was a soggy, damp affair, but those who persevered had a great time.
SUNDAY AUGUST 6, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to noon. Annual General Meeting at Solid Comfort. See the Flyer.
Also SUNDAY AUGUST 6, 2017 - Chaudiere Lodge Fish Fry Social 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the Flyer.
Doris Moore, 1920-2017
Posted June 23, 2017
The UFRCA expresses its condolences to the family of Doris Moore who passed away on May 13, 2017, at the age of 96. Doris was a resident of Moreland Hills, Ohio and was the wife of Cleveland-area physician Dr. Douglas J. Moore (who died in 1988) and the daughter-in-law of the late William and Evelyn Moore, who established the family's first camp on the southeastern shore of Windy/Cleland Island (Island #148) in the 1930s. (This is now the site of the Kennedy-Sadler camp.) Her first trip to the River was in the early 1950s, and with her husband, Doug, established the family's second camp on the northeastern tip of the island in 1965.They named the camp Diastole (pronounced die-ass’-toll-ee) for the resting phase of the heart. Their children: Jeff, Pam Shyatt, Susan Lafferty, Judy Duffy, and Barb Catlin, and her thirteen grandchildren (and their children) enjoy the camp every summer. For the obituary, click here.
Fishing Regulations for Lake Nipissing
Posted Jun 16, 2017
With walleye, pike and perch seasons now open, and bass and muskie seasons opening this weekend, anglers need to know the catch and possession limits for Lake Nipissing and the Upper French, as they are different from the broader Zone 11. See the full details here.
Missing a dock?
Posted June 10, 2017
Are you missing this dock? Found stranded on Burnt Island at the Akin cottage. If it's yours, contact email@example.com A related e-mail was sent to all UFRCA members.
Posted June 6, 2017
Members received the June newsletter today. If you did not receive it but should have, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the final newsletter of the season. Don't forget to renew your membership, which expires June 30.
Positives for Fishery Management
Posted May 25, 2017
A May 16 North Bay Nugget article outlining the current state of the Lake Nipissing walleye fishery is available here.
A major study entitled Achieving a Sustainable Lake Nipissing Walleye Fishery, produced by Doris Smith for the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, was released today (May 25) and is available here. Thank you to Paul Cormier for his contribution in representing the UFRCA among the many stakeholders. Today's press release from the NBDCC is available here.
The response from a variety of local stakeholders was reported in the June 23 North Bay Nugget and may be seen here.
Know the Regulations before you head out
Posted May 25, 2017
It's Safe Boating Awareness Week (May 20-26). Boat safely this week and every week. Before you head out, "know and follow the regulations".
Membership Renewal Time
It's time to renew your UFRCA membership for the 2017-18 season. Membership information was e-mailed to members and many past members on May 1. It is also being "snail-mailed" and you will receive paper versions shortly. Membership information is posted in Membership Information and Membership Form in the Members Menu on the left. New members are always welcome.
Note that Chaudiere Lodge has changed the date of their Fish Fry Social. It will be on Sunday August 6 (4:30 to 7:30) the same day as the UFRCA AGM. See Social and Events for the Calendar of Events here.
Flood Watches and Warnings Across Ontario
Updated May 12, 2017
The lake level seems to be stablizing at around 196.15 metres above sea level, just slightly below the defined flood level. Due to the high water level, expect floating debris in the water. Travel carefully and keep an eye out for "dead-heads". View the Environment Canada Water Office graph here.
Posted Thursday May 4, 2017
!! A Flood Watch has been issued for the entire Nipissing District. For the Nugget article, click here.
For the Ontario Flood Forecasting and Warning Program (with map) click here.
Flood Watch Issued for Lake Nipissing
Posted Saturday April 29, 2017
A significant weather disturbance now being felt in the central US will impact Ontario Sunday and Monday, April 30 and May 1. See the Nugget article here.
Lake Nipissing Ice Free
Posted April 25, 2017
According to Gateway Helicopter's report to the North Bay Nugget, Lake Nipissing has been declared ice free on Friday April 21, 2017. See The Nugget article here. This is substantially earlier than the last two years, both on May 5. The average date for the lake to be ice free is April 28, but April 21 is still within the average range. The water level is very high. Presently Lake Nipissing near 196 metres above sea level. The summer target range is 195.75 to 195.95 metres above sea level.
The UFRCA Photo Contest entry deadline of April 15, 2017 is fast approaching. See all information on the Social and Events page.
Posted April 14, 2017
This Northern Ontario tourism link gives us a look at several tourist destinations on the French River and includes sites on the Lower, Middle, and Upper parts of the river. Click here.
The ice will probably be off Lake Nipissing much earlier than last year's May 5. Local predictions are that the ice will be off between April 22 and 25. What's your guess?
Members - The March 2017 Newsletter was distributed March 9. If you did not receive the e-mail notification but should have, contact us immediately.
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE CHIEF COMMANDA CRUISE
Posted February 23, 2017
An announcement was distributed to all UFRCA members and many past members and is available here.
Thanks to Kathy LaBranche for sending this image she discovered in Banff. Click on the image to enlarge, and "think about summer".
Special December Newsletter
The Special December 2016 Newsletter was distributed to both current members and many past members. To view the newsletter click here.
FOCA Elert December, 2016
Posted December 18, 2016
Not many cottagers on the Upper French have hydro, but for those that do, there is some interesting news in this month's issue of FOCA's Elert News. There are also some developments occurring with regard to permits for dock and other shoreline work under the Public Lands Act. For the December 2016 Elert News, click here.
Norma Baskett - Bragdon Island
Posted December 10, 2016
The UFRCA extends its condolences to the Ivan Baskett and the family of Norma Baskett, who died on December 3, 2016. The obituary may be seen at http://www.westviewfuneralchapel.com/pages/obituaries/details.php?p=2980
More Unfortunate News Regarding Halcyon Cottage
Updated December 7
In late November, we posted news that Dolores Hill from Halcyon Cottage had died in October. We have recently received further news that Dave & Shin Hill died on December 1 as a result of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at their home in Green, OH. Our condolences once again to the Hill family and to Bud Smith, brother of the late Dolores Hill. A memorial service is planned for December 10, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Greensburg United Methodist Church in Green. The obituary notice has been posted at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ohio/obituary.aspx?n=c-david-and-son-cha-hill-shin&pid=183005543&fhid=4553
Also, see http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/hills-supply-owner-dies-from-carbon-monoxide-poisoning/385334.html
More on the Lake Nipissing Fishery - Winter Walleye Fishing OK'd
Updated November 30, 2016
Paul Cormier was the UFRCA representative on the Fishery Advisory Council in 2013. Paul has written to the recent media articles shown below regarding the Lake Nipissing Fishery.
See previous reports below in September News.
See November media reports at http://www.nugget.ca/2016/11/19/we-didnt-create-this-mess-responds-a-disappointed-chief-scott-McLeod and https://www.baytoday.ca/local-news/mnrf-wont-close-nipissing-ice-fishing-season-this-winter-467922
Dolores Hill – Halcyon Cottage
Posted November 23, 2016
We extend our condolences to the Hill family and to Pauline and Bud Smith, whose sister Dolores Hill died recently at the age of 86. See http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ohio/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=182098231
More on the West Nipissing Spending Scandal
Posted November 20, 2016
Also see reports below in September News.
Dokis In The News
Posted November 10, 2016
See the Dokis page for recent articles on the new Dokis Museum and a CBC Radio feature on the Hydro-Mega electric project.
Posted October 17, 2016
The October, 2016 Newsletter was sent by e-mail on October 17 to current members - those who have paid their membership fees for the 2016-17 season. If you did not receive the newsletter but should have, contact email@example.com immediately. The October newsletter has been posted in "Newsletters" in the Members Menu. Logging-in is required.
Closing the cottage routines - keep potential thieves in mind
Originally posted September 24, 2015. West Nipissing Police have sent this communication as a reminder to keep would-be thieves in mind when closing for the winter. And reduce off-season environmental damage by following many common sense suggestions. To view, click here.
Lake Nipissing Walleye Fishery
Updated September 26, 2016
Several recent media reports highlight the continuing discussion and controversy regarding the Lake Nipissing Walleye fishery.
1. Commercial Fishery Closed
The Nugget September 8, 2016
The commercial fishery on Lake Nipissing was recently closed for the season. See details at http://www.nugget.ca/2016/09/08/commercial-fishery-closed-for-season
2. Bob Goulais Blog
3. Nipissing First Nations wants to have winter walleye fishing closed
The Nugget September 12, 2016
4. The Nugget September 14, 2016
5. The Nugget September 23, 2016
West Nipissing Scandal Results in OPP Charges
Posted September 14, 2016
Allegations of spending irregularities by some West Nipissing Municipality officials have resulted in charges being laid by the OPP.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS
Posted July 15, 2016
As a follow-up to our recent bulletin on Emergency Services on the Upper French River, UFRCA received some inquiries about specific phone numbers that people can call in the event of medical, police, and fire emergencies. In response, we put together the attached document which provides additional detail and phone numbers. The first page of the attachment is for residents of the Municipality of West Nipissing (Bertram Township). The second page is for residents of the Unorganized District of Centre Parry Sound (the south side of the river in Hardy and Patterson Townships).
A key distinction between the two areas is that in the Unorganized District of Centre Parry Sound there is no 911 service on land lines. In a medical emergency, cottagers in the Unorganized District of Centre Parry Sound would need to call EMS directly and we have provided 1-800 numbers for this purpose. In a policing emergency, you would need to call the OPP directly and their central dispatch number is provided as well.
Just a few more very important points that EMS officials asked us to stress:
- Always make sure you know or have on hand your cottage GPS coordinates and, for those in West Nipissing, your municipal address (that's the little blue sign – for example “WB212-1”)
- Keep them by the phone and make sure everyone (family and guests) knows where they are.
- Educate family and guests on what to do in an emergency and where the closest land access/marina is.
- If you are not at your cottage when you make an emergency call (for example – a cell phone from a boat) you should try to have some way to determine your GPS coordinates.
To view the document, click Uers Summary July 2016.pdf
MAJOR FIRE IN STURGEON FALLS
Posted July 15, 2016
A major fire occurred in the downtown area of Sturgeon Falls on the evening of July 14. See http://www.nugget.ca/2016/07/15/power-cut-area-evacuated-at-least-four-businesses-burned
Congratulations to recently elected Chief Gerry Duquette and to Deputy Chief Denise Restoule, who has been Chief of Dokis First Nation since 2006 but stepped down from that role this spring. One of her many accomplishments over the last 10 years was the successful construction of the hydro-generating station at the Chaudiere dam. On May 5, 2016, the project was officially opened. Photo supplied by Grant Hobson, UFRCA Dokis Liaison. See other photos in the Photo Gallery. Also scroll down to the video on the hydro project.
Crime Stoppers Doubles Rewards
Posted June 15, 2016
There have been numerous break-ins on the Upper French over the past winter and spring. As a result, Near North Crime Stoppers have doubled their rewards for information. For the press release issued June 15, click double reward june 2016.pdf
Pictograph on Kennedy Island
Posted June 8, 2016
In the 1980s, a field archeologist with the Ontario government researched and published a paper on the pictograph located on Kennedy Island. To view the document go to History - Local Area History http://ufrca.com/index.php?page=local-area-history and scroll down to Historical Importance. Thanks to Holly Waters for discovering this document.
Congratulations to Dokis FN on Election Results and Hydro Project Grand Opening
Posted May 30, 2016
With cottage season starting soon, it’s also time to think about recycling. For the specifics on recycling at Dokis Riverview Marina and in West Nipissing, see http://ufrca.com/index.php?page=going-green Specific rules differ in various municipalities, so know what the policies are wherever you take your recycling articles.
Great fishing plus great scenery equals …
Posted May 8, 2016
For super French River scenery and some savvy fishing, check out this You Tube video created by John Fry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2T83l0QeeA
Dokis First Nation Power Generating Station on Facebook
For some wonderful aerial photography of Dokis First Nation and their new power generating station view the video below.
Asian Carp found in Lake Erie
Posted January 5, 2016
For the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Fact Sheet on Asian Carp species, see http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Science/coe-cde/ceara/AIS-EAE/asian_carp-carpe_asiatique-eng.htm
The Invasive Species Centre is holding a competition for innovations on how to keep these fish out. See: http://www.asiancarp.ca/SitePages/Resources/InnovativeSolutionsCompetition.aspx