Skip to main content

     Minnesota Canoe Association website header
HomeFar North Symposium 2018

The Far North Symposium    Saturday March 24, 2018

Presented by the MN Canoe Association

Bob O’Hara Moderator/Coordinator


Saturday March 24, 2018

St. Louis Park Rec Center


Doors open 8:30 a.m.
Programs from 9:15 a.m. -4:00  p.m.

  The  is a day of storytelling and camaraderie among enthusiast paddlers.
MCA members $15
Fee After 3/20/18 $25

Non-members  $20
Fee After 3/20/18 $25

Student             $10
Pre-registration guarantees seating and lowest fee. 


Featured programs—updated 03/14/2018


 _9:15_a.m.  Welcome  Bob O'Hara, symposium coordinator
   No One Paddles The Thoa, Bear Paulsen

The Thoa is a small little known river in the NWT. Rarely traveled—all in tree line. "A tributary to the upper Mackenzie River", that’s what friend Rob Kesselring said - Research confirmed that Rob was correct. A first descent in the 1970's has been followed by a handful trips down it. The Thoa River runs west, eventually to Great Slave Lake through the southern Northwest Territories. Bear paddled solo for 18 days starting at the headwaters and ending before Great Slave. He found a beautiful river full of moose, whitewater and abundant beaches.  He spent his final night in a jail!

   CANOES A Natural History in North America, Mark Neuzil
   Ancient records of canoes are found from the Pacific Northwest to the coast of Maine, in Minnesota and Mexico, in the Southeast and across the Caribbean. And if a native of those distant times might encounter a canoe of our day—whether birch bark or dugout or a modern marvel made of carbon fiber—it would be instantly recognizable. This is the story of that singular American artifact, so little changed over time: of canoes, old and new, the people who made them, and the labors and adventures they shared. With features of technology, industry, art, and survival, the canoe carries us deep into the natural and cultural history of North America. Co-author Mark Neuzil will share his writings and research.
10:55 a.m.   Morning break
11:15 a.m.
 Utukok River Arctic Alaska above Lat 69Jim Gallagher and Brian Johnston

From the Brooks Range to the Chukchi Sea.

The river flows through the National Petroleum Reserve - the largest piece of land in the US (that you've never heard of). Great walking and easy river paddling. Big weather and abundant brown bear sign.

 11:55 a.m.  Lunch
 1:10 p.m.  Missinaibi River Ontario CanadaDave and Elsa Milaeger
   The Missinaibi River is a Canadian Heritage River, flowing north into James Bay, in the south end of Hudson Bay. It is a very historic river, used by native people, having a fur trade and logging cultural heritage, outstanding ecological and geological natural heritage, and wilderness recreation.
   Thlewiaza River Nunavut Canada, Lee Sessions
   "Beyond Sleeping Island and down No Man's River"
Lee Sessions has ventured to the Far North on 25 canoe expeditions, pursuing a lifelong passion for padding and re-discovery of the routes of early explorers and new adventures. Lee and crew flew to Windy Lake and paddled the Windy River where they located historic fur trading posts. They struggled with big winds across Nueltin Lake and paddled down the Thlewiaza River in record high water towards Hudson Bay. The crew passed in and out of the tree line, in the area where the Inuit and Dene both traveled.
 2:35 p.m. Afternoon break
 2:50 p.m.  Technology and the Wilderness Traveler, Andy Jenks
     Andy Jenks is back to update the use and pitfalls of new technology in wilderness adventures. Also, new are maps printed on plastic—makes them durable and waterproof. Satellite phones, transponders (Spot or inReach),tablets, smartphones, and GPS, are now part of most wilderness expeditions.Technology is ever changing  and you need to be  on top of your game.


 Sponsored by Minnesota Canoe Association, Cooke Custom Sewing,