Canoe club wants feedback on whitewater project

The Rock the River project could make Whitehorse a premier destination for whitewater canoeing and kayaking. But before the project is built, the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club wants to hear what the public has to say about it.

The Rock the River project could make Whitehorse a premier destination for whitewater canoeing and kayaking.

But before the project is built, the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club wants to hear what the public has to say about it.

“The canoe and kayak club is interested in enhancing whitewater opportunities between the Whitehorse dam and the Robert Campbell Bridge,” said Kalin Pallett of UpNorth Adventures, who has worked as a consultant on the project. “The canoe and kayak club in conjunction with a consultation team need to find out what level of support the project has from general public.

“So this open house is designed to generate input from the community. Is it a good idea? Is it a bad idea? Are there certain aspects of the project that they’d like to see or not see?”

To get a sense of how Yukoners feel about the project, which is currently under inspection through a feasibility study, the club is hosting an open house on Monday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Old Fire Hall.

The Rock the River project is focused on the area of the Yukon River between the Whitehorse dam and the Robert Campbell Bridge that links downtown to Riverdale.

It would be a major addition to the one man-made wave located at the Millennium Trail Bridge, adding more man-made waves and eddies downstream.

The proposal also includes the installation of the slalom course on the Robert Service Channel and public viewing areas with seating.

Early this year the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club received $140,000 in grants from the Canadian Development Fund and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency to conduct the feasibility study.

“This project extends beyond paddlers,” said Pallett. “The goal here is to make it a win-win project for everyone. Whitewater parks are very common in the U.S. and they are starting to gain traction in Canada. Rock the River has the potential to not just benefit paddling, but also sport fishing, the health of the river system, bird and wildlife habitat and just stewardship and care for the Yukon River as a whole.”

In addition to making the club’s annual Whitewater Rodeo more exciting, the freestyle waves and slalom course could potentially be used for regional, national and even international paddling competitions.

With the Yukon offering so much outdoor recreation activities already, a whitewater park is the missing piece of the puzzle, said Pallett.

“It’s a great opportunity, I feel, for us to complete the recreation puzzle here,” said Pallett. “We have amazing ski and snowboard and Nordic trails, biathlon trails, hiking and biking trails, and this is the last piece of the recreation puzzle – the water trail.”

More information can be obtained at the open house and at www.facebook.com/RockTheRiverProject.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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