Expert paddlers run the river

 In Sports

Eight hardy souls, members of the Wildnerness Canoe Association, paddled the Mad River on Sunday from Carruthers Park in Avening to Concession 3, beyond Glencairn. The trip of approximately 12 kilometres took about 4.5 hours, including a break for lunch. One paddler quipped, “We have to stop at Glencairn, otherwise you’re on the base and you have to dodge artillery shells.”

Spokesperson Andy Hueton of Stayner says the Mad River is regarded as an “experts only” route to be paddled by people with special training and plenty of experience. Spring paddlers on the Mad use plastic boats, wear cold water protective gear, life jackets and helmets, and carry rescue equipment in case an accident occurs. There are many obstacles in the river in the form of fallen trees and wood that has been washed downstream.

Hueton says on Sunday, the river was flowing at 10.5 cubic metres per second – a level suitable for expert paddlers only.

The Wilderness Canoe Association has about 500 members spread across nine provinces and two territories. Members post upcoming trips on the group’s website and other members can participate. Visit

According to Hueton, “The only time it would be safe to venture out on the river in a raft or inner tube would be in the summer when the river level is low and water is warm.” He cautions, “Always wear a lifejacket when on the water and tell someone where you are going.”

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