Welcome To The Website of the
Upper French River Cottagers Association

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The Upper French River lies between Lake Nipissing and the Chaudiere Dams at Dokis First Nation, and the French River continues downstream to Georgian Bay. 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.

Members may log in to see more options on the Members menu at left. Contact the UFRCA at info@ufrca.com 


ALERT:  High Water and Risk of Flood on the Way
Posted April 25, 2019

The spring thaw is underway with a vengeance and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC – formerly PWGSC – which manages lake/river water levels in partnership with MNRF and OPG) has issued a warning that we could see very high-water levels on Lake Nipissing and the Upper French River this spring.
As of yesterday (April 24), the Lake had reached 195.72 metres above sea level (masl) – an increase of 70 cm so far this week alone.  That brings us very close to the bottom of the summer seasonal operating range (195.75 to 195.95 masl).
And the most recent prediction is that the Lake will very likely exceed 196.22 m by the second week of May. 
To give you an idea of what that means: last year, around the time of the May long weekend, the Lake hit last year’s high-water mark at 195.92 m, which was very close to the top of the summer operating range. 
The prediction of 196.22 m is about a foot above that.
That’s not good news, but it’s also not likely to be this year’s high-water mark.
How much higher it will go is impossible to say right now.  We had quite a bit more snow than usual this year.  We’ve also had a fair bit of rain, which means that nothing is absorbed and everything becomes runoff very quickly.
But basically, none of this is “normal” or fits with long-term models.
According to PSPC, it’s not uncommon at the peak of the spring thaw to get two or three days in a row where inflows to the Lake are over 1,000 cubic metres per second each day.  So far this year, we have had 7 days in a row with inflows of 1,100 cms each. 
So what’s the worst it could be?  If it starts going above 196.59m (which would be over 2 feet above where it was last May 23), there is a much greater risk of severe shoreline damage, including damage to docks. 
By way of background, 196.59 m is the “50-year” flood level.  A “100-year” flood level would be 197.25 m, which would be more than 2 feet above that.
The good news is we have a ways to go before that happens.  Through PSPC, UFRCA will be monitoring the situation closely and will send out update emails and post new information on the website as it becomes available.
In the meantime, if you already have barrels on your dock you have probably done all that can be done for now. If you don’t, you may wish to consider talking with whomever you retain to do your maintenance to see what can be done once the Lake or River are navigable.  Typically, the River is ice free some time before the Lake is, and people who watch this closely (including that seer of seers and prognosticator-of-prognosticators, our very own Dave Minden) suggest that the Lake might be ice free sometime near the end of the first week of May.


High Water Levels
Posted April 24, 2019

Widespread rain coupled with rapid snow melt is causing high water levels throughout Ontario. Lake Nipissing remains ice-covered and high lake levels may cause shoreline disturbance. Lake Nipissing, as of today, has risen to 195.75 metres above sea level, which is at the summer operating range.

April 23 report from Public Works Canada regarding Lake Nipissing:

The following is the water level forecast for Lake Nipissing and the French River as of Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019, as provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada. The precipitation at the French River Dams station for the month of April was at 99.7% of the total monthly historical average. As of April 23rd, 2019, the water level of Lake Nipissing was 195.62 metres. Rain is in the forecast today through tonight amounting to an average of 10-15mm, with even more in the northern section of the watershed potentially amounting to up to 50mm, by the end of Wednesday. The rest of the week shows another system by the end of the week with rain forecasted around 5mm. The rain combined with warmer temperatures continues to melt the snow resulting in very high inflows and rapid rising in the Lake level.

Spring Notes to UFRCA Members
Posted April 21, 2019
We know you may be anxious to send in your membership renewal for 2019-20, but please hold on for a few weeks. The new 2019-20 Membership Form will be posted and distributed in May. Please note that the Interac e-transfer and credit card/PayPal payment systems are temporarily not in service. Until notified, please do not register on-line or attempt to pay your membership fee using those services. The spring newsletter is slated for May 15. Newsletters are distributed directly by e-mail to members, and new members are always welcome.
New Web Site Look
Posted April 21, 2019
You are seeing a new look on the web site. The Members Menu is being discontinued and members no longer need to “log in” with a user name and password. All pages previously in the Members Menu have been either discontinued or revised to be in public view and moved to the Main Menu.

Spring Freshet Underway
Posted April 15, 2019

The spring freshet is underway, and in the last few weeks, Lake Nipissing – although still ice covered – has risen to about 1 metre below the summer range. Creeks are running, and small ponds are starting to open up. After record breaking snow levels during the winter, there is still much snow in the bush. Rain, with temperatures well above zero predicted for later this week, will move us quickly into spring mode. To observe the opening of waterways, check the NASA EOSDIS Worldview web site.  Adjust the date and scroll to find a clear day when Lake Nipissing and other areas of interest are visible. The long term average date for Lake Nipissing to be ice free is April 28. Last year, the official ice-free date was May 14.

MNRF and Nipissing First Nation Extend Walleye Fishery Agreement
Posted March 12, 2019

See the North Bay Nugget article here.

West Nipissing (Finally) Approves Switch To OPP
Posted Feb. 25, 2019

After months of controversy, delays and deliberations, West Nipissing has finally decided to switch from its West Nipissing Police Service to the Ontario Provincial Police. For Upper French River cottagers, the result will be much simpler: If you need the police, call the OPP. See the Nugget article here. See the Security/Police page for a record of previous postings. The transition is slated for June, 2019.

Susan Lembke (1940-2019)
Posted Feb. 25, 2019

The UFRCA extends its condolences to the family of Susan Lembke, long time cottager on the French, who died recently. For the obituary submitted by niece Amy Watkins, click here.

Have Your Say – Cormorant Hunting in Ontario
Posted December 14, 2018

See the Environment Page: Flora and Fauna

Fall Newsletter
Posted December 9, 2018

While still officially fall, It's very wintry in the North Bay, Lake Nipissing and French River area. Here is the "Fall" UFRCA newsletter.

UFRCA has a new mailing address!

For years, our address has been c/o Kennedy Insurance in North Bay.  As a result of changes on our Board of Directors, our new address is:

Upper French River Cottagers Association

1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801

Toronto, Ontario  M5E 1W7

The address is a “virtual mailbox”. The service has been in place for quite a few years in Ontario and is easy to administer because it all done online.  Mail sent to this address will be forwarded automatically to the Board member designated each year to receive it, and this year (2018-19), it’s our Treasurer, Jayne-Ann Steele.  In the future, our mailing address won’t change even if our Board members do. If you are sending something to us through the mail, please use the new address.


Election Results
Posted October 23, 2018

Joanne Savage returns as Mayor of West Nipissing, and Denis Senecal is the new Ward 8 councillor, replacing Guy Fortier.
North Bay Nugget Oct. 23, 2018 Savage Returns as Mayor
See Messages from Mayoralty and Councillor Candidates


Posted July 15, 2016
Updated March 19, 2019
Note: This article and the linked document are current. When policing in West Nipissing Municipality changes to the OPP in June, 2019, there will be some modifications to this policy.

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 Users Summary July 2016.pdf