The Northern Ontario Liquid Adventurers Club

At this time NOLAC is more of a concept than a real entity

Join us in the Year-2011 for the 25th annual Kipawa River Rally, June 25-26-27

St. Jean Baptiste Weekend!


Paddling the River: Maps and Information

Kipawa River Trail

Kipawa River Information
Our River Protection Strategies

Protecting the Kipawa River
Directions to the River 

Topping Access Road to Kipawa River Lodge


You can't do this anymore: the rapid is gone.


The members have not paid dues in many years. Like all members they admit that they refuse to be members of any club that would have them as members. Still, if you sniff around the Kipawa River Site, www.kipawariver.ca or perhaps whitewater Ontario you may just reach one or two of them.


We morphed!

NOLAC!>/Les Amis de la Rivière Kipawa

Our concerns about the Environmental Assessment of the Laniel Dam Refurbishment

Our letter to Scott Brison about the Environmental Assessment

History of Navigation on the Kipawa River!

Our most pressing issue was the refurbishment of the Dam on located at Laniel. It is currently run during the rally. They are threatening to take that away from us.

Consider the following:

Issues Raised by:

Les Amis de la Rivière Kipawa

and Federation QuÈbecois Can_e-Kayak d'eau vive

April 4, 2005

RE: Laniel Dam Flood Control Replacement Project

1.0 Minimum Flows

1.1 We understand that 12 to 15 cms has been established as a minimum flow to be maintained in the Kipawa River at all times, based on measured summer (low-water) flows. We understand that the intent of this minimum flow is to maintain ecological values in the Kipawa River.

Our Concerns:

We do not believe that establishing a minimum flow of 12 to 15 cms is the most appropriate approach in maintaining or enhancing ecological values in the Kipawa River.

Our Suggestions:

Establish a 12-month flow regime for the river, based on seasonal water accumulation in the watershed, taking into account, water level requirements on Lake Kipawa and recreational flows in the Kipawa River.

1.2 We also understand that this minimum flow will be maintained through a small, manually-operated fifth gate on the Laniel Dam.

Our Concern:

We do not believe that installing an operating gate is the most efficient or effective mechanism for ensuring a minimum flow in the Kipawa River. An operating gate requires the use of an accurate flow gauge and human intervention to operate the gate to ensure minimum flows.

Our Suggestion:

Construct a 12 to 15 cms permanent outflow tube or port in the structure that does not require human intervention to ensure a minimum flow in the river.

2.0 Bottom-Up Vs. Top-Down Flow Control Gates

2.1 We understand that the flow control gates on the new Laniel Dam will operate as single-piece gates that are lifted from the top, creating a flow opening from the bottom upward. Using this system, except when a gate is wide open, all water flowing through the gate will be sub-surface water from Lake Kipawa.

Our Concern:

Surface-water temperature on lakes is typically considerably warmer than sub-surface water. Our concern is that a bottom-up flow control gate will release colder water into the Kipawa River, which may have a negative impact on ecological values in the river. We would like to know whether, over the course of a year, if this will change the mean temperature of the water in the river, and/or if there are particularly critical times of year when lower water temperature in the river might impact ecological values (e.g. walleye spawning).

The release of colder sub-surface water may also raise the mean temperature of the lake water in the bay above the dam which could impact ecological values and water quality for residents.

Our Suggestion:

Modify the design of the new structure to install top down flow control gates.

3.0 Recreational Impacts of the Project

3.1 As we understand it, the Laniel Dam reconstruction project will take place during the fall and winter seasons over two years 2005-06 and 2006-07. We also understand that there will be no public access to the deck of the dam from the start of construction in October 2005 to the end of construction in the winter/spring of 2007.

Our Concern:

Les Amis de la RiviËre Kipawa hosts an annual recreational river rally in conjunction with the municipality of Laniel. During this event, in a typical year, up to 300 to 350 people access the Kipawa River at Laniel over the two to three days of the rally. In June of 2006 we will be hosting the 20th annual rally and we are planning some special celebrations. Our objective is to attract 500 paddlers to the rally in 2006. We may exceed that number.

According to the Laniel Dam reconstruction plan, we will not be able to access the river in 2006, as normally would be possible, under the highway bridge, and down the embankment beside the existing dam.

There is no other established access to the river at Laniel. It may be possible to construct a river-access point on the south shore of the river downstream of the dam site. However, being unable to cross the river on the deck of the dam during the construction period (June 2006) will force 500 paddlers to walk across the highway bridge to access the river through any new access point that can be constructed on the south shore. We believe having this number of people walking across a highway bridge over a three to four hour period on the two mornings of the rally, will be organizationally very difficult, and could present a serious traffic and public safety hazard.

Our Suggestion:

If an alternative access point is constructed on the south shore of the river, adjust the construction plan to make it possible to cross the river by walking through the construction site and over the deck of the existing dam during the 2006 rally.

3.2 We understand that the owners and operators of the Laniel flood control dam (Public Works and Government Services Canada) have only recently become aware that paddlers, the community of people represented by Les Amis de la RiviËre Kipawa and Federation QuÈbecois Can_e-Kayak d'eau vive, have on a regular basis for many years, been navigating the Kipawa River through the open sluiceways of the Laniel Dam. We also understand that PWGSC believes it is illegal in Quebec to navigate through or over a dam structure. We also understand that PWGSC has concerns about the potential liability implications of having paddlers navigate the river through their open dam.

Our Concern:

In our research, we have not been able to find any law or regulation in Quebec that specifically makes it illegal to navigate a river through or over a dam structure.

We do not believe there is a liability issue for the dam owner/operator. In the 40 or so years that the paddling community has been navigating the Kipawa River at Laniel (see attached: A Brief History of Modern Commercial and Recreational Navigation on the Laniel to Lake-Temiscaming Section of the Kipawa River in Northwest QuÈbec), there has never been an injury, incident or accident. Navigating the river at the location of the dam does not involve contact with the dam structure in any way.

Our Suggestion:

Recognize our historic navigation of the Kipawa River and provide the paddling community with the same level of recognition and accommodation provided to motorized sport vehicle operators (the new structure has been designed to allow ATVs, snowmobiles and pedestrians to cross the river on the deck of the structure).


Prepared by:

Les Amis de la RiviËre Kipawa

and Federation QuÈbecois Can_e-Kayak d'eau vive

Prepared for and copied to:

Gilles Brasseur, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Robert Laporte, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Raymond Goulet, Jacques Whitford Consulting

Yvon Gagnon, Municipality of Laniel



Northern Ontario Liquid Adventurers Club was founded for the fun and enjoyment of its members. Initially more of a concept than an actual organization many of its founding members are actively involved in the paddling community. Today Nolac/Les Amis is all about ...

Hosting The Kipawa River Rally

Protecting the Kipawa River

Building the Kipawa River Trail

Being Good Members of the Paddling community and..

oh ya, and paddling when we can sneak it in

The Kipawa River Rally

Join us in the Year-2011 for the 25th annual Kipawa River Rally, June 25-26-27

St. Jean Baptiste Weekend!

(http://www.kipawariver.ca). The Kipawa River Rally really is the second oldest recreational whitewater event in eastern North America, only one year younger than West Virginia's Gauley Festival.

Help Save the Kipawa...Buy A Poster ($5.00 + $2.00 shipping and handling)

Share the Knowledge with others

Write a strongly worded letter to Hydro Quebec

Come to the Kipawa river Rally, St. Jean Baptiste Weekend

Speak to others, raise awareness of the important of free flowing whitewater habitats.


Where is the Kipawa?


Protecting the Kipawa River

Today, our goal is still to paddle and enjoy rivers, but added to that is the immense responsibility of working to protect the river that we have come to see as our home...the Kipawa. For more information on the Kipawa River and how you can help us protect it see http://www.kipawariver.ca .LES AMIS/NOLAC Members have taken a particular interest in preserving the Unique Recreational and Esthetic Values of the Kipawa River. For information on the Kipawa River and the Annual Ralley held there. Click Here

The thing that has changed is that our river is under serious threat and we are the ones who have to protect it, because no one else will, and no one else should. To do that, we have to be serious about who we are and what we are doing. We're not a rag-tag bunch of beer-in-each-fist paddlers anymore. We're an effective, legitimate voice in the paddling community with a large responsibility. We have to be serious, smart, strategic, all of those things and more for the sake of the Kipawa!

If we can't protect the Kipawa River, then we have stolen all the things it has given us.

Building the Kipawa River Trail

As part of our efforts to protect the Kipawa River from two competing hydro development projects (both of which involve diversions), we are working with the community of Laniel to build a multi-use riverside trail.NOLAC Members have taken a particular interest in preserving the Unique Recreational and Esthetic Values of the Kipawa River. For information on the Kipawa River and the Annual Ralley held there. Click Here

Being Good Members of the Whitewater Paddling Community

Nolac is a member of the OWWA in good standing. Its members have participated on the board of the Ontario Wild Water Affiliation, organized introductory kayaking clinics, and pool sessions, helped along up and coming paddlers and sung the graces of Kipawa River far and wide.

Benefits of Membership

Why bother becoming a member of an organized club? For one thing, paddlers need to participate in saving the resources they have come to enjoy so much. This can hardly be done by individuals. Government and Business listens to organized groups so pick one and do your share. If NOLAC is your group of choice the added bonus includes interesting people, and a penchant for having fun.

NOLAC and Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa:

Two completely distinct organizations with clear objectives. Nothing confusing there.

Who they are, 

What they do

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa

The Kipawa River

The Kipawa is Les Amis's river. 

Les Amis is building a river trail with financial aide from a number of sources.

Whitewater Ontario (OWWA)

Les Amis is a member of the two Quebec paddling federations.

The Rally

Les Amis is a Quebec-based river advocacy group


Nolac initiated the founding of Les Amis in 1997, and remains its driving force.

Trail Project


Who Does What?

Les amis is primarily a lobbying group

Les Amis is not a paddling organization

And what Else?

meetings bloody meetings


It's executive is loosely made up of representatives from several local and regional paddling clubs in Quebec and Ontario, the OWWA the FQCKEV, the FQCK, and Scott Sorensen

Les Amis does not have individual members. 




How Did NOLAC Get its name?

Well it could have been called the Kirkland Lake Canoe and Kayak club but sanity prevailed. The name NOLAC was conceived by GRANT SMITH. NOLAC was founded in Kirkland Lake, home of LAC minerals. Mining sludge filled Kirkland Lake. We didn't really appreciate that. So NO LAC. Due to recovery of mining tailings the lake, such as it is has be partially restored, Swim anyone?

Current Membership and Location:

The membership is dispersed widely. We like to keep track of present and past "paid" members. For a list of paid members: Click Here

Northern Ontario Liquid Adventurers - NOLAC Peter Karwacki 613-356-6594

Email Linkage:

Others affiliated with the club at one time or another who may or may not be NOLAC Members but whom NOLAC members may want to get a hold of for one reason or another.



Canoe Ontario

Whitewater Ontario

Ottawa River Runners

Kipawa River Trail

Kayaking Poetry

Woof Woof Woof

Kipawa River


To Become a Member


For more information about NOLAC contact

Peter Karwacki, 80 Ontario Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9

email: kayaky@hotmail.com  (make sure your subject says NOLAC)

NOLAC- use email!Correspondence will be answered promptly!


Northern Ontario Liquid Adventurer's Club

background design by Roseanne Gilks

Poetry about Kayaking

A selection of rare kayaking poetry


Benefits of Membership

Benefits of membership include:

the right to work at the second oldest recreational river event in eastern North America (the Kipawa River Rally)

the prestige of belonging to the paddling club with the weirdest, and most appropriate, name

a newsletter, once in a while, ok not very often

belonging to a club with a couple of members who still think its ok to paddle a Perception Mirage

paddling with people who have been known to put on a river at 3 pm for a five hour run

hanging out with people who drive old cars

being a member of the organization that is going to help save one of the most beautiful rivers in Canada

Founding Members:

Its appropriate to mention the people that got NOLAC started back in 1984. NOLAC thanks to the OWWA for its initial support in organizing pool sessions. Many members became quite active in the WO executive. NOLAC also extends its thanks to past members for their work and also to WINTARIO for its inital grant to facilitate the purchase of kayaks. Also thanks go to EQUINOX ADVENTURES for NOLAC's for fundraiser: River Rafting excursion to the Ottawa River.

Grant Wilson Smith

Peter Karwacki

Joan Schuppli

Ray Hong

Harry Hong

Doug "Gumby" Bruce

Doug Skeggs

a motley crew if there ever was one...

As it turns out we only hear rumours about the whereabouts of Grant, Joan, Harry, and Ray.


Scott Sorenson and his wife Pat are the owners of the Kipawa River Lodge. Scott has writen a book about his life and the River called the Kipawa River Chronicles.

The Kipawa River Rally is Held at the Kipawa River Lodge the last weekend in June. For More about the Kipawa River Ralley: Click Here.

Kipawa Rally

with apologies to gordon...

The Kipawa River Rally
There was a time in west quebec when the Rally did not run
When the main and river cabins stood alone against the sun
And long before the road came and long before the wheels
Were the white pine forests, then some mormons ...and a deal
NOLAC had its beginnings, when no rapids could be found
They searched the province over with the best back on their ground
They yaked upon the Kipawa and they climbed that killer hill
then built the rally, the trail and websites to this day are running still
And when the paddlers fancy was turning in the spring
The boaters that grew restless for to hear the rapids sing
When banks are overflowing with the runoff of the day
Decided to share the gold with others and as a bonus ...make 'em pay...
For they Looked in the future and what did they see
They saw first class river pouring down to the sea
Paddling was good there on Sorenson's land
All up from US and into their hands
Look away said they go north to this mighty land
Leave the Ottawa and the rafting jams
Bring in the boaters and fix up the trails
We've gotta send down their boats and then tell the tale
Open 'er dam let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get off the lakes cause they''re moving too slow
Bring in the boaters and upgrade the trails
We've got to send down the boats and then drink some ale
Open 'er dam let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get off the lake cause its moving too slow
Get off the lake cause its movin' too slow...
Behind the old sauna the sun is declinin'
The beer cans are poppin at the close of the day
Somewhere in Laniel the town folk are sleeping
But not at the ralley ... or river cabin anyway
We are the NOLACies who work upon the rally
Floggin our t-shirts in the bright mornin' sun
Runnin' on love and sending bad emails
Bustin' our butts till the rally is done
We are the NOLACies who work upon the rally
Floggin our shirts til the boxes are done
Some wake up late and some fail to paddle
but doing it all so the river will run
So take off from work late although its a pain
Break down a few times while driving insane
Up from the cities all the way to Mont Laurier
burn out the rubber and spending our pay
Drivin' 'em in and carrying down
Away to the cabins then back into the town
Fifteen dollars per day for a place for your head
A drink to the river then sleep like the dead

The Kipawa rally is still fun, though the work is never done
On the river bank we stand, against Hydros back room plans
Those are plans we want to spoil, with our teardrops...and our toil...

For there There was a time in west quebec when the Rally did not run
When the lodge and river cabin stood alone against the sun
And long before the road came and long before the wheels
Were the white pine forests, then some mormons and a deal

Kipawa Rally Early Years, Joan Schuppli was on her way up the chair lift at Mount Kanasuta ski hill just outside of Rouyn, Quebec when the fellow sitting beside her blithly commented in broken english about the car he saw in the parking lot with the ice encrusted kayak on the roof, which looked as though it hadn't been removed since the last paddle of the fall.

Joan confessed it was hers. The car was Doug's and the pool session was the previous night. But that was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between NOLAC and the Kipawa River. That summer Joan and Doug met up with José Mediavilla and his paddling buddies from Rouyn and did some of the "first" exploratory paddling trips down the river. If fact, they bushwhacked back along the shore ignorant of the road which wound surprisingly close to Grand Chute not far from Lac Temiscamingue.

I remember walking into Doug's spare apartment on Main Street in Kirkland Lake and looking at Joan, and him, both baked to a nice rosy crisp and fly bit to boot and asking, what had happened. They had paddled as far as Grand Chute then carried their boats back through the bush upstream! Nice paddling though.

By the end of 1985 NOLAC was seriously considering organizing its first "recreational" paddling event on the Kipawa under the auspices of the OWWA. The plan was simply to book the Kipawa Lodge's River Cabin and whoever showed up would pitch in with the cost. In 1986 the first rally was held on the St. Jean Baptiste weekend. There were thirteen boaters on the river. That evening Scott Sorenson and Pat prepared an all you can eat fish fry which is talked about to this day. And later, Grant Smith, in keeping with the festive event fired off fireworks rockets from the dock using a blow torch igniter.

In those early days, many paddlers used the equipment NOLAC itself had purchased using the proceeds of a rafting trip it had organized on the Ottawa river in combination with a WINTERIO grant. At that first rally, Doug Bruce used one of the paddles which then unexpectedly snapped on lower white pine rapid. The rally attendees signed the broken end and placed it where it sits today over the bathroom door of the River Cabin.

In those days you could drive up the hill past the Grand Chute until you got to a kind of gravel parking lot on the other side. There was a kind of cart track leading through a meadow which some braved. It really was just a dirt road, passable only during the dry season. Even then cars could get to the meadow but had to stop there, then carry coolers, and gear to the lodge at the lake almost a kilometer away. On one occassion, Dave Bruce, diving Kate Calberry's truck pulled the NOLAC trailer and boats into the meadow. It then proceeded to pathetically sink up to the axels in bog. The overconfident Dave realized that his four wheel drive was going to let him down. The rest of the day was spend slowing pulling the trailer and truck out of the muck, and there were seven of us. Now people get indignant if they can't drive down to the lodge directly using the road so vastly improved by Scott Sorenson over the years.

After the first rally, NOLAC left its yellow Hydra Dragonfly kayak with Scott Sorenson to try his hand. He stayed close to home with it but come the second rally he embarked on his first trip down the river with Peter Karwacki. While Peter had paddled the river numerous times by then, another newbie, Gerry Bedard accompanied them. It was at that point that the Kipawa River Rally become truly engrained. Scott got to see a side of the River he had never known. And Gerry became a paddling addict and tireless worker for other new boaters.The yellow boat scott is paddling on the back cover of the "Kipawa Chronicles" is in fact NOLAC s yellow Hydra Dragonfly. The picture was taken just after the first Rally. If you look carefully you can actually see the word NOLAC on the side of the boat.

A big part of the early river rallies was the socializing. Crowds weren't an issue. Anybody that showed up was welcomed effusively. Then others, unrelated to paddling, but lovers of the out of doors nonetheless would attend just to enjoy the afternoon carnage as boaters would brave the bottom section of Hollywood rapid. Marc Didine, in particular was always in fine form and in those days could play anything Neil Young ever wrote.

Paddlers started showing up from all over. In 1988 a group showed up from Michigan. It wasn't unusual to see them arrive late on Friday night by flashlight, looking shell shocked from the trip in. In those early days, any glimmer of a sign that a vehicle had traveled down the road was an encouragement. There were no rally signs and not much organization. After winding down Chemin Topping for 11 kilometers or so in the dark it was easy how some would lose there nerve and turn back.

Basking in the full glow of 180 rally attendees for the fourteenth river rally its hard to image that its early beginnings would lead to such a paddling happening. The rally is now the second largest of its type in Eastern North America, second only to the Gaulley fest. It just so happens that about 70 per cent of the business at the Kipawa River lodge now comes from previous rally attendees who now organize family reunions and private gettaways, even marriages as was the case with Mike and Christine McCubbin.

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