Bush Flying and Canoes Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 13:23
Cliff Jacobson sent me information about a discussion he had with Alex Hall of 'Canoe Arctic'. The discussion centered on the cost and difficulty of flying canoes to remote Canadian rivers. Canoe Arctic has run canoe trips on northern rivers for many years, and Alex Hall knows the situation first hand – so does Cliff Jacobson after a lifetime of canoeing northern rivers.

I was aware of most of the problems the pretty gloomy discussion touched on. We all know that the cost of bush flying is high - and rising. And it is not a secret that regulations for flying external loads are getting tighter. But a few items in the discussion were less familiar to me:
1.  Air Tindi pilots have voiced concerns that canoes carried in the cabin of a Twin Otter could shift and block the exits in a crash. Air Tindi will no longer carry canoes and passengers on the same flight in their Twin Otters.
2.  To carry external loads, each airplane operator has to go through an approval process and be inspected. Many operators may not go through this process for the short canoe season, so fewer float planes will be available to carry canoes on the struts.
3.  The recession is hurting the canoe trip market hard, and 2011 will be the third slow year.
4.  The weakness of the US dollar has turned the canoe trip marked from a majority of US customers to a clear majority of Canadians.
5.  Commercial trips focus on relatively accessible rivers to reduce air transportation costs.

While most of these developments may have a positive effect for folding canoes that simply travel in the luggage compartment, we are not happy to see wilderness trips becoming more and more expensive. The result can only be that fewer people feel that they can afford the cost of a wilderness experience.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 13:31