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 


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 OPP. 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.

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.  With changes on our Board of Directors, we have a new mailing address as follows:

Upper French River Cottagers Association

1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801

Toronto, Ontario  M5E 1W7

The address is a “virtual mailbox” service that 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. This year (2018-19), it’s our Treasurer, Jayne-Ann Steele).  That means in future, our mailing address won’t change even if our Board members do. The new address is up and running now, so if you are sending something to us through the post, 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


AGM Highlights
Posted Aug. 14, 2018
The Annual General Meeting was held successfully at the Dokis Community Complex, and the UFRCA thanks the Dokis community for hosting our event and providing a huge breakfast buffet. Highlights of the meeting were: presentations from Ontario Firefighters with updates on the nearby Parry Sound 33 fire; the announcement that Peter Rooney has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award - the 3rd recipient of the award; and the announcement of the 2018 photo contest winners. Winning photos have been posted in the  Photo Gallery. Elected to the Board of Directors for the 2018-19 season were (returning) Sam Goodwin, Jeff Hamilton, and Amanda Derks; and new members Jeanie Palmer, Bonnie Witmer, Jane-Anne Steele, and John Bachia. Minutes of the AGM will be posted when available.

Coming up - It’s the 2017-18 AGM! Sunday August 5, 2018
Posted June 7, 2018
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Annual General Meeting of the Upper French River Cottagers Association on Sunday, August 5, 2018.  New members are always welcome. With this notice are two PDFs for you to download and review in advance:
1. The Draft AGM Agenda for the 2017-18 AGM meeting, combined with the draft minutes of the 2016-17 AGM (all in one PDF file). Please review the minutes from last year.
2. A Proxy Form – Should you not be able to attend the meeting and want another member to vote on your behalf, please complete this form. The instructions on where to send the proxy form are included.
Here’s what you need to know about the AGM:
The location is the Dokis Community Complex. The business meeting will be from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. – including this year’s exciting photo-contest results. Come early (but not earlier than 10:00, please) to socialize with friends and cottage neighbours. Registrations/membership renewals are available starting at 10:00 a.m. (that’s if you haven’t already registered by mail or online, which we always appreciate since it reduces the amount of work/need for volunteers at the AGM.) Note that membership fees are now due for the new membership year July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. See the Membership Info and Form pages at left. Getting to the Dokis Community Complex – starting at 10:00 a.m., there will be shuttle vans to take members to and from both Dokis Marina and Riverview.  Or, if you’re driving from Riverview, it’s a right turn at the helicopter pad.  Or a left turn, if you’re coming from Dokis Marina. Light refreshments will be provided. New members are always welcome. For further information, contact info@ufrca.com

Update on Lake Levels
May 16, 2018
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.

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

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.

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 hereA 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.


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Thanks to Kathy LaBranche for sending this image she discovered in Banff. Click on the image to enlarge, and "think about summer".

More on the West Nipissing Spending Scandal
Posted November 20, 2016
Also see reports below in September News.
See http://www.nugget.ca/2016/11/12/im-the-only-person-who-is-really-exonerated-investigated-councillor-says 

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. 

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. Bay Today Report 

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 Users Summary July 2016.pdf 

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=history%2Flocal-area-history and scroll down to Historical Importance. Thanks to Holly Waters for discovering this document.