Record #: LQR0018
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2018
Last Full Update: 04 Apr 2014


Public Bulletin
Neither South Shore nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites. 
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites. 
South Shore and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.


Located In South Shore Region
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


Phone 902-275-3490
Contact Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA

Description & Services

These notes provide a few basic pointers about river travel but are far from complete. Further reading from the list of books in the Bibliography is recommended. No book however can replace skills and common sense. Moving water clinics are offered through Canoe Nova Scotia and are invaluable for learning the strokes, manoeuvres and rescue techniques needed for safe river travel. 
Common Terms 
River right: The right side of the river looking downstream. 
River left: The left side of the river looking downstream. 
Flatwater: Lake or river water where little or no current exists. 
Hydraulic: A wave that rotates upstream in a circular motion. 
Riffle or rip: Water moving with a moderate, visible current. 
Run: Swift, deep water running an irregular short course around rocks. 
Rapids: Swift flowing water, tumbling with some force among obstructions creating turbulence, especially during peak flows. High irregular waves, constricted passages. 
Falls: Free falling water or almost vertical plunge. (In Nova Scotia this term can sometimes mean just a rapid) 
Lining: Manoeuvring canoe from shore or in shallow water using a rope or line attached to the bow and stern. 
Portage: A trail used to transport canoe and equipment between watercourses or difficult sections of river. 
Rapid Classification 
Both rivers and specific rapids are classified under the following system. The Class rating can change under certain conditions, so you should still assess each rapid for yourself. If paddling in cooler weather or in a wilderness area, the river should be considered one class more difficult than its published rating. Water levels can also change the difficulty and class of a rapid. For example, higher water levels can mean a lower class (rapid gets washed out) or a higher class (increased water creates bigger holes). The length of a rapid is also a factor. A long Class 3 rapid with no opportunity to eddy out should be assessed as more difficult (and perhaps a higher class) than a short one with a pool below it. 
Class One 
Moving water with a few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions. 
Class Two 
Easy rapids with waves up to 1 m and wide clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some manoeuvring is required. 
Class Three 
Rapids with high, irregular waves often capable of swamping an open canoe. Narrow passages that often require complex manoeuvring. May require scouting from shore. 
Class Four 
Long difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise manoeu- vring in very turbulent waters. Scouting from shore is often necessary, and condi- tions make rescue difficult. Generally not possible for open canoes. Paddlers in covered canoes and kayaks should be able to Eskimo roll. 
Class Five 
Extremely difficult, long and very violent rapids with highly congested routes which nearly always must be scouted from shore. Rescue conditions are difficult and there is significant hazard to life in the event of a mishap. Ability to Eskimo roll is essential for kayaks and canoes. 
Class Six 
Difficulties of Class 5 carried to the extreme of navigability. Nearly impossible to run and very dangerous. For teams of experts only after close study and with all precautions taken. 
Tannic Acid 
The lake and river water in this region of Nova Scotia is a clear brown colour due to tannic acid from the decomposition of vegetation in the many bogs and marshlands feeding the extensive watersheds. It can make lake and river travel tricky for unwary paddlers since rocks and other obstacles can be difficult to see. 
Sweepers and Strainers 
These are trees lying across the river either washed down from above or fallen from shore. They lie on or in the water and are very dangerous to paddlers if you get caught in one. Learn the paddling skills necessary to avoid these obstacles. 
This is less of a factor on rivers than on ocean and lake routes but you may still find yourself paddling hard against the wind on more exposed sections of river for part of your trip. The prevalent wind in these two counties according to Environ- ment Canada is from the southwest in the summer and the northwest in the winter. However, the orientation of a river can change the direction of the wind and the shape tends to create a funnel effect. 
If travelling with more gear than can be carried in one carry, remember to multiply the distance by three (over-back-over) and allow enough time.
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information