Latest News

Here are a few things that may be of interest.

Only 52 days left to spring. Not that we’er countin’. 


Please consider joining. It’s only $15 a year (simple e-transfer to Dan Earle <> or mail a cheque to SW Paddlers, c/o Dan Earle, 97 Chebogue Point Road, Rockville NS, B5A 5E8. Remember to include your email to be added to the membership e-loop.

Keep in the paddling loop by checking out SWPA website (check out the menu for canoe and kayak points of entry with public access and parking!)  and FB page 

SWPA members keep in touch during the late fall and winter by meeting the first Tuesday of the month and having dinner together. *** Next gathering is at Anchored Grounds in Tusket, Feb. 5th at 6 p.m. Let me know if you plan to attend as I’ll be making reservations.

We’ll have some special programming coming up at the March, April and May gatherings (first Tuesdays) so mark your calendars. More info to follow.

SWPA contributes to the costs of a SPOT which is available for members to borrow (and we’re now looking into GArmin INreach … another tracking device.) SWPA also has a bothy bag which members can borrow for trips (emergency shelter … think “balloon.”)

… and there are other benefits to being a member. Do consider joining!


With Blair Doyle this winter/spring.  Fabulous courses! Anna Mallin is planning to take one so get in touch with her if you want to team up with someone for one of the weekends.  <>


Seaward fiberglass G3; like new condition; used 16 times over 2 seasons. Comes with c-tug and carbon fiber accent paddles. 2012 Kayak of the year. Canadian made. 22′ long and 90 lbs. Paid $8000.00 new for package. Check it out online at: $5000 OBO  

Call Mike at 902-229-8924 or email at

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Get together – February

We had our monthly meeting/get together on Tuesday evening at Anchored Grounds in Tusket. This was a new location for us and we found it very comfortable. We were able to move tables around and get up to chat. Food is ordered at counter and delivered to table. Nice assortment of food and coffee choices. Staff friendly and helpful. We had about 15 members there.

The group at Anchored Grounds

We had a special presentation thanking Andy and Ginny Smith for all the support and good things they have done on behalf of Southwest Paddlers over many years.

Sandra Phinney presents card/gift to Ginny
Ginny shares card with Andy

Ginny show photo of Andy

Ginny shares her photo

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What’s New

What’s new with Southwest Paddlers Association

Hi Fellow Paddle Sport Participant:

The executive group met at Sip on January 21 to review and come up with ideas for better serving our paddling community. 

1. We have revised our monthly meeting plans to use different restaurant venues AND have presentations at each meeting. Location and topics will be announced. This approach will give us more variety of food choices and give us all a better appreciation of paddling opportunities and adventures in our region. We are looking at places like Anchored Grounds and the Tusket Brewery for a start. 

2. We discussed the topic of informal information sessions using knowledge of members in canoe and kayak skills and the relatively new paddle board. A chance to improve skills or try something new – maybe even a Voyaguer canoe.

3. We are looking at a Spring Splash-up meeting in May with presentations by trainers and local program/services providers. Each would have about 10 minutes to go over their sport segment – canoeing, kayaking, paddle board, trip opportunities, symposiums and festivals, etc. 

4. We want to do a display and promotion at the Yarmouth Farmer’s Market in April to introduce new people to the paddling community.

Details of all above will be coming along so stay in touch on Facebook and our web page.

Minutes of the meeting follow. 

South West PaddlersExecutive Meeting January 21, 2019 Sip Coffee Shop

Present: Sandra Phinney, Dan Earle, Sue Hutchins, Elaine Howatt and Barrie MacGregor

  1. Brief History: The history of the SW Paddlers was outlined by some of the long standing members. 
  2. Public Comments: It was agreed that any comments made on behalf of the association would require the consensus of the executive. 
  3. Informal Training: There was some discussion regarding the possibility of some informal training. Canoe – Marcel Comeau, Kayak – Anna Mallin. 
  4. Agenda for future meetings: It was generally agreed that future meetings (starting in March) would include a presentation on canoeing or kayaking after dinner. As well, locations may vary. e.g. such as Anchored  Grounds; Tusket Brewing Co. etc.
  5. Voyageur Canoe: Sandra reported that Canoe/Kayak NS had purchased a Voyageur canoe. A training session (and possibly a loan of the boat) could be set up in Southwest NS if there was enough interest. 
  6. Professional Services: It was agreed that for our last gathering in May we could invite professional trainers and/or providers of paddling programs/services  in the area. Matt Dulong, Becky Cottreau, Nancy Lacusta, Hantford Lewis. Also reps from Kayaking symposium and the Shelburne kayaking festival. 
  7. Next Dinner Meeting: Elaine agreed to look into Marco’s  as potential for the next dinner meeting in February. 
  8. Public Information: It was agreed that a display be prepared for the Market on a Saturday in April. 

Next gathering Feb 5th at 6:00 PM at location to be announced.

To become a Member please see the Membership Page in the masthead listing.

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Meeting for Adelgid monitors

December 1st meeting ………… looking for volunteers to do a special project while paddling in the Tobeatic 2019 and onward!

As some of you know, there are some nasty critters threatening our Hemlocks … the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

Colin Gray with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) is working on this and will be giving a presentation/training session at Sandra Phinney and Barrie MacGregor’s home Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. or so. Lunch included. #1542 Canaan Road (10 min from Tusket or Carleton outside of Yarmouth)

PURPOSE: to round up volunteers who will commit to monitor/survey areas in the Tobeatic (including Sporting Lake)

Colin says, “It would be naive to think that places like Sporting Lake Nature Reserve will not get hit eventually, but knowing when it first appears is important and then how quickly it spreads, how many trees are infested each year and the decline of the overall health of the stand from year to year, is all important information.”

So if you can attend this meeting/training session, please let Sandra know.

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Bon Adventure River Trip

Here is the link to the Bon Adventure River trip that Will Poole, Matt Hemeon, Corey Ritchis and Wayne Doucette too last June.

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Boating in Argyle

Here is a guide to put-in spots in Argyle. Click on the map to get to details.


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NS Nature Trust – Paddle and walk.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust paddle and nature walk, Saturday Aug. 27  from 1-4 p.m.

Start on the Tusket River at Phinney-MacGregor’s #1542 Canaan Road and end up on the Wilson Lake. If you come early around 12:30, we can arrange shuttles down to pull out at Wilson Lake. Once we are on Wilson Lake, NSNT members will guide a walk and talk about the special flora in the region, and the designated protected area there.

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Up-coming events

Report by Sandra Phinney

Cancellation: kayaking session at Saint Anne University May 1st not happening this year.

Big shout out to the South West Paddler’s Association and Will Poole who are making it possible for members of the  SWPA to loan a Spot On when going into a wilderness region. For more information, contact Will at <>

If anyone wants to get the word out about paddling trips, just let me know and I’ll send out information via email. There are about 80 paddlers on this list.  All trips are suitable for kayaks and canoes unless specified.

Trips I know of to date:

Wed. April 13, Deb and Richard, Carol/Gerald, Barrie and I are going into the Barrio to build a table at the main campsite. (Providing temps warm up a bit.) If anyone wants to join us, we’re leaving from Birchdale shortly after 10 am. I’ll open the gate at 10 but will be closing it after all vehicles are in. Plan to have lunch up in the Barrio, assemble the table, then return. Estimated time 5  hours. (Rain date, next day.)  No white water. Couple of small lakes and lovely still waters before the Barrio.

Sat. May 7 ..   Wentworth River-Havelock to Wentworth Lake … a 5-6 hour run. Lots of stillwaters and easy Class 1+ runs. Meet at 9 am where brook crosses the 340 in Havelock to arrange shuttles. Will be shuttling back either to Frenchman’s Mill or to the Pocket Wilderness. Please let Sandra know if you are interested.

Sat. May 14 … the Barringon River Run. Starts at 10 from Clements Pond. Darren Hudson and Susie Atwood leading this trip. Five sets of rapids. More information here.

Thurs. June 17-Mon June 20 Women’s Wilderness Trip. THIS YEAR: a canoe trip into the Tobeatic, camping on Sporting Lake and doing day trips from base camp. There’s no fast water, but there are two portages, 400 m and 1000 m respectively. *** please let Sandra know asap if you plan to go.  I’ll set up a separate email loop for anyone interested in this trip so we can sort out boats, paddle partners, departure time, food etc.

Sat. July 30th SWPA annual Tusket River paddle from Quinan down to the bridge on the Wildon Road (to our place in Canaan for lunch stop and/or if you want to pull out earlier.)  Grid Iron short rapids with easy walk around. Meet at the Church at 9:30 am to do shuttles. Usually arrive in Canaan around 12:30 to 1 pm.

Thurs. Sept 15-Sun. 18 Women’s annual paddling get-away at Birchdale. More on this later.


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Tobeatic 2015 report

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Tobeatic Report – Will Poole and Matt Hemeon Introduction 2015 was a great paddling season, for myself, in Southwestern Nova Scotia. I discovered the Tobeatic about 4 years ago and ever since I have been wanting to explore as much … Continue reading

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Tobeatic trip report

Tobeatic Trip October 12-19 2013
Will Poole, Corey Ritchie, Matt Hemeon, Erica Amero

We had been planning a week long trip into the Tobeatic since spring. Our main goal was  reach North Bingay Lake as we wanted to see the old growth island that was located there. We had been to the Sporting Lake islands before but had heard that North Bingay may be better. As time got closer to our departure date a planned route had not yet been decided.

The typical route to North Bingay is from the Roseway River but we had heard there was an old trail connecting North Bingay to the Shelburne River from Cofan Lake but the portage was well over 2km long and not frequently traveled in many years which presented a big challenge. It was decided to try this route and see parts of the Shelburne River we hadn’t seen.  So, the planned route was to start at Sporting Lake Stream to Cofan Lake then North Bingay into the Roseway River and down to Indian Fields where a vehicle would be waiting.

Also, while doing a little research and talking with a few people that travel the Tobeatic, the story of Jim Charles came up and with it an old picture of a person standing next to a large rock that was thought to be where he hid out. The location of this rock in the picture is known and goes by the name “Calling Rock” which has a cave along side it, and there is also a rock with a small cave in it next to the shore on Sand Beach lake which they call “Jim Charles Rock” both were added to the list of places we had to see.

larger version

 October 12 – We started the day early and were dropped off at Sporting Lake Stream ready for the adventure ahead. Very nice sunny day. Portages into Sporting Lake seemed well traveled and easy to follow. Once on Sporting Lake we stopped and walked around the largest island which has old growth hemlock and always an amazing place to visit. After Sporting Lake the portages are a little less traveled and grown in at parts. We made it as far as East Cranberry Lake where we made camp at a nice campsite at the start of the portage into Clearwater Lake. Sunny all day with little wind but was a chilly/frosty night.

October 13 – The next 2 portages (into Clearwater lake than into Buckshot Lake) proved to be difficult and slow going. Once on Buckshot we tried to locate the old wardens cabin that was inland about 500m next to an old portage trail but we were unable to find both and decided to paddle on but return at a later date and try and find it. This day we made it as far as Stoney Ditch Lake and camped at a very nice campsite among the pines along a stillwater. Day was very nice and sunny with little wind, night was frosty.

October 14 – Paddled/portaged to Pine lake. We saw old artifacts of what was left of the cabin just before Pine Lake. Then paddled the long still water and portages into Sand Beach Lake. Paddling past the Esker Carry to the short 600m carry we heard something crashing into the woods and someone thought they saw a glimpse of something but unsure what. After a few meters there was the start of the carry and what did we see along the shore but very fresh moose tracks! Confirmed what we had heard minutes earlier but disappointed we had missed an opportunity to see a mainland moose, only minutes if not seconds sooner. Made it to Sand Beach Lake after another sunny day with little wind and were able to witness a beautiful sunset while paddling across the lake to Cofan Cabin.

Cofan Cabin

Cofan Cabin

By the time we were done soaking in all the sunset on the lake the sun had set and we now had the challenge of finding the cabin in the dark, but after some searching it was located. Once settled in we had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and a good night sleep in the cabin. That night we were welcomed by the “Cofan Mouse” who must have been excited to have the company as he didn’t want us to fall asleep.

October 15 – Packed up gear and left it at cabin while we walked to “Calling Rock” which is a couple of kilometres from the cabin. Were able to find parts of the old trail that went to the rock and was very interesting to see the old blazes and at some points on the barrens could follow the trail as was still a path in small parts. The rock was a site to see in person and no doubt the same rock as the old picture.  A cave is along the side of the rock and it is possible to climb to the top if your climbing skills are any good, which ours were not. Tried to recreate the old picture but it proved difficult with all the tree growth. Stayed about an hour then walked back finding more pieces of the old trail and marking all with the GPS. Once back at the cabin we grabbed our gear and paddled back onto Sand Beach lake where we visited “Jim Charles Rock” which is by the lake shore and guarded by 2 Canada geese that didn’t look too happy about our visit. There is a great view of the lake from the top of the rock and also a smaller cave can be found. From there we paddled/portaged to Cofan Lake where we stayed at the campsite at the end of the portage that enters the lake.

Old photo Calling Rock

Old photo Calling Rock

Callling Rock today

Calling Rock today

Jim Charles Rock

Jim Charles Rock

Top of Jim Charles Rock

Top of Jim Charles Rock

October 16 – We packed up and paddled across Cofan Lake to the portage trail. Little did we know at the time how long before the canoes would see the water again. We had received some advice on where to start and had obtained the GPS track of the portage so it was relatively easy to find but without that it would have been very difficult. Once on the trail it was much more difficult than what we were used to and at times there was no trail at all. To make things easier we ended up sending one person ahead with the GPS to find and flag the trail so the rest of us could follow behind with the gear. The old grown over blazes and odd piece of flagging tape proved useful confirming the original trail. It was a rainy wet day and the portage took us a little over 6 hour to complete. The nicest spot being the last 300-400m which was a nice barren with the occasional moose and bear sign. Once back on the lake it was windy and the rain was starting to get heavy. Checked out the North Bingay campsite which looked nice but too exposed to the current weather conditions. Paddled over to the old growth island to have a look and was amazed at the site that in my opinion is better than the Sporting Lake Islands. The trees were bigger and overall appearance was amazing with giant hemlocks with mosses, ferns and Canada yew along the forest floor. From there we paddled around the lake shore looking for another possible site to camp for the night but none were found. At this point all were very wet, cold and tired with no sign of the weather letting up and it was starting to get dark. We decided the best spot to camp was back about 100 meters on the portage trail where there was a stand of pines with open ground and shelter from the weather. Made camp there, made supper, got into dry clothes and all turned in for an early night as was a very long day. Rain/wind continued all night.

October 17 – Nice weather returned in the morning. We had been falling behind schedule and knew there was a lot of water to cover today. Paddled/portaged into Twin Lakes, some of these trails were hard to follow and didn’t seem used much. Had lunch at campsite between Twin Lakes and Three Rivers Lake. We were able to bypass some of the portages after this as there was enough water to paddle down or lift over sections. Given our successful progress we made the mistake of trying this with the Two Cup Carry and learned the hard way that we should have portaged this one going up or down stream. We were able to make it to Half Moon Lake and camped on the west side halfway down just as it was getting dark. Nice sunny day with little wind.

October 18 – We woke up to overcast skies and before too long rain started. Paddled/portaged to Roseway Lake. Noticed how much better the trails were on the Roseway and how they seem to have improved in the last 3 years. Maybe a good sign of more people getting in and enjoying the Tobeatic. Once on Roseway Lake it started to downpour with a headwind the whole way, which always seems to happen when crossing this lake on the way back. Tried to cut out a hazardous strainer into Mink Lake but were unsuccessful; hoping that the high water will take it out. Stopped by Keatings Campsite on Mink Lake for a snack. Ran the sluce into Skudiak Lake and portaged into Moose Lake. Made it as far as McGill Lake for the night and after a cold/wet day, we stayed in the Molasses Run cabin which was a welcome sight and were able to start a fire to warm up and dry our clothes, we all slept very well that night.

October 19 – Sun shining again. We went to try and find the portage from McGill Lake to West Roseway Lake.  After a little searching we found it and appeared that it hadn’t been used in quite some time and looked grown in at spots, a possible route for another trip. We were able to run everything to Upset Falls without too many problems, water levels still a little low. Had lunch at Upset Falls. From there ran everything to Indian Fields, carried gear around Mountain Falls but no problems going down with empty canoes. Looks like it could be an exciting piece of water when levels are high. Made it to a waiting vehicle at the Indian Fields airstrip around 2:30.

It was a bitter sweet end to our trip as we were all tired and a little glad to be home but at the same time sad that it was over and having to return to the real world again. We had traveled through some amazing country and up to this point was our longest trip at 8 days and 7 nights without seeing another person since we left.

Special thanks to Andy Smith for his book “Paddling the Tobeatic”. Alain Belliveau, Mike Parker, Bob Johnston and Davis Bennet for all of the info that helped in planning this trip which certainly made traveling this rugged landscape go a whole lot smoother.

Link to Matts Photo’s

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