Pierre Elliot Trudeau Rafting With Owner of Wilderness Tours Joe Kowalski
Pierre Elliot Trudeau Rafting With Owner of Wilderness Tours Joe Kowalski

Living with Champlain's Ghost

The second I pushed off the shore, I knew the Ottawa River was special. In 1975, with hundreds of islands, secluded beaches, and coves to explore, I pioneered this river-riddled with thundering waterfalls, untouched shoreline, and of course, classic whitewater. From the top of McCoy Chute to the bottom of Rocher-Fendu Lake, the Ottawa was still pristine-still the way French geographer Samuel de Champlain viewed it over three centuries before.



I knew, instantly, it should be kept this way. Being first on the river enabled Wilderness Tours to establish a resort in the most ecologically appropriate location. True to my belief of no development in the river corridor.


When it came time to put down personal roots, it was-once again-away from the river’s edge. And since that morning in 1975, every spare dollar has been placed into the WT Land Trust-protecting shoreline and habitat from development. In short, WT pioneered the environmental movement on the Ottawa River decades ago



As all things do with time, the Wilderness Tours  Land Trust has evolved into the National Whitewater Park. Having saved over 5,000 acres of waterfront this ensures our children’s children will experience Champlain’s river the way he did-in awe of nature’s artistry.



Your support of National Whitewater Park helps protect this unique and fabulous waterway. To contribute, please give me a call at 613-703-6110 x230



Joe Kowalski


National Whitewater Park

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