***** Changes in 2019 - Difficulty in finding 12-passenger vans (NOTE: 15-passenger vans are no longer permitted in Canada. Requirement for CDL to operate. Special thanks to Dan for this information.)
***** Changes in 2018 - Updated costs in PRELIM spreadsheet.
***** Changes in 2017 - Tour Plans are no longer required, point deleted.
Since Crew 662 completed our trip to Tinnerman [French River] during the Summer of 2014, we have received numerous requests to share information on how easy it was to plan, prepare, and experience a trip to the French River after Tinnerman was sold and the Greater Cleveland Council no longer has a presence on the French River. Our total cost per person was just over $425 [Note: updated van rentals on 07Mar2019 takes this to approximately $475].
This included all food on the river, transportation, canoes, paddles, PFDs, insurance, camping fees at a KOA in Parry Sound, rental of the satellite phone, and everything else that we needed. There were additional expenses for food, snacks, and any souvenirs that amounted to roughly another $100 per person.
Attached are the files that we used for our planning. Please feel free to download and use these as you see fit. Our only request would be to share with us, and anyone else, any changes that you find have additional benefits or a cheaper cost. I would be more than happy to maintain copies of all documents on this website if they are sent to me! I've redacted most personal information and am willing to discuss anything that you may have questions about.Points to ponder when considering a trip to the French River
1. Make sure at least one adult has Wilderness First Aid (preferable two individuals with WFA).
2. Maximum occupancy per campsite is 8 people (per Canadian Provincial Park regulations). However, you can work with the Provincial Park directly and become a "Conservation Crew". (means extra work at each campsite taking inventory and picking up trash, but we do that anyway as Scouts...) Contact the French River Provincial Park at (705) 857-1630 (summer) or (705) 287-2900 (winter) to ask for Conservation Crew status if you have more than 9 people per campsite. Make sure to fill out the paperwork and send it in when you complete your trip.
3. Bear barrels are easier to deal with than hanging your food every night. We had two large bear barrels that were excellent!
4. Passports or passport cards are required.
5. Pre-plan your itinerary - know where you are going.
6. Canoeing toward the Bay can be very difficult on windy days. Plan for contingencies and backup campsites (the kevlar canoes "sit" higher out of the water and wind pushes them around easily).
: Kevlar canoes from Hartley Bay have NO keels - they are very unsteady for amateur canoeists - either ask for aluminum, or rent through Grundy Lake Supply Post, as their kevlar's had a keel. (Note: updated canoe rentals on 07Mar2019. It appears to be more difficult to rent from Hartley Bay recently. Please let me know at email@example.com if this has changed).
7. Planning an "easy" day halfway through the trip helps.
8. Wal-Mart in Canada carries food, but not many staples in plastic containers - unless you stop at the Walmart BARRIE Superstore, they had everything!! (if you have room, take staples from the states in plastic containers - its cheaper)
9. A 12-passenger van worked fine, but a 15-passenger van is better (or tow a small trailer for equipment). We had a 15-passenger in 2014 and it was awesome! The Mercedes Sprinters are VERY comfortable and held all our gear with ease.
10. Each person should give the Tour leader an up-to-date, signed, BSA Medical Form! (make sure someone reads ALL of them - know your people)
11. Everything is more expensive in Canada.
12. Mountain House Raspberry Crumble ROCKS!!
Thanks to Michael and Cindy Courtright their leadership of Crew 662. And a special thanks to Stephanie Colmenares for all her assistance with making this trip to the French River possible!