Brigade Paddlers’ Manual

2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade

Required Reading

With thoughts added for Next time.

Ted Bentley


As you can hopefully appreciate, this is a canoeing event and it needs to have some insurance and with insurance comes some obligatory notices such as:

All people going on the water have a duty of care to have suitably informed themselves for this activity and only undertake the activity having decided they are willing to take on the inherent risks which go up to and include possible death.

The 2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade Society



407 5 Street

Lynden, Washington

USA 98264

1201 – 13 Street

Invermere British Columbia

Canada, V0A 1K0



Written by: Ted Bentley

Brigade Paddlers’ Manual by Ted Bentley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Last Updated: July 3, 2011 TCB

In Memory of John Nickel

One of the Trio who caused the Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant

And our subsequent brigades.



Table of Contents


Corporate Sponsorship/Support 8

Topics Recorded June 1 to July 15 11

Causing Community involvement 11

Ground crew 12

Functions: 12

Tactics: 12

Start Stop points: 12

Is it worth Doing XXX for a community? 13

Group Safety: 13

Community liaison: 13

Lost and Found Box 13

Radio Issue: not all radios talk back and forth. 13

Setting Radios to channel 1 privacy 1 has not worked well. 13

People in Boats 13

Brigade 14

Two Basic Brigade Understandings: 14

Typical Day on the Brigade 14

For Paddlers: 14

Getting into the Brigade Rhythm 15

Regalia 15

Brigade Organizing and Structure 15

Captains’ Meetings 16

Advance Crew 16

Some Frequent Emotional Happenings 16

Team Organizing 17

Team size 17

Interviewing for Team Members 17

Navigating 18

Communicating 18

Team Things off the water: 19

Team Things On the water: 19

Team Vehicles, Transportation, Gear 20

Communities, Gratitude and Respect 21

Greeting Ceremony at Towns: 21

Camping 22

Sprint Races 22

Getting Ready 23

What teams will get in registration package 23

North Canoe Rental 23

Registration if Participating just One Day (I.E.: July 15) 23

Health and Safety 23

Risk Management 23

Your Health: 24

General Health and Safety 24

Environment 27

Paddling 27

Passing on Skills 27

Canoe Art: 27

More Paddling More Efficiently: 28

More Topics 31

Lists to consider: 31

In-Boat Safety Required Equipment 31

Recommended: Reboarding loop. 32

Team Items in Registration Package [Needs confirmation] 32

Welcoming and Captains’ First Days’ Meetings, Brigade AGM and Water Practice 32

Things to Bring/ Get for Your Team 33

Useful Web Sites You Should Read: 33

Things for Team Members/ Team to be ready to sign and agree with: 33

Things for Team Members to have with them: 34

In the Boat: 34

In their gear 34

Insurance 34

Webpage 34

Video: Recording our Event 35

Things with lots of Government 35

Crossing the Border 35

Great BIG Power & Water Dams 36

Appendix 1: 2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade Time Line 37

Per Day Schedule 37

Organizational Schedule 37

March 30, 2011 Final Entry payments due. 37

Appendix 2: Gear Lists 2008 39

Safety Equipment for 2008 Teams in the Boat: 39

Equipment List that was suggested for 2008 teams. 39

New Idea: Reboarding loop. 39

Appendix 3: Behavioral Expectations 2008 40

1. People are more important than things: 40

2. Commitment: 40

3. Discussion: 40

4. Brigade Orientation: 40

5. Contributions: 41

6. Decision Making: 41

Appendix 4: Historic Preparation 42

Interesting Reading 42



Corporate Sponsorship/Support

As of April 9, 2011

Surveyor Level

Columbia Basin Trust

Trader Level

American Canoe Association


Teck Metals Ltd

Cycle Works

Northwest Surveying and GPS

2008 David Thompson Brigade Society

Land Surveyors Association of Washington Historical Society

North American Land Surveyors


Sponsors of the 2011 David Thompson Brigade and North American Land Surveyors’ MapMaker’s Eye Exhibit:

David Thompson Bicentennial Partnership


Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association

British Columbia Land Surveyors

Browne Johnson Land Surveyors

can-am geomatics

Chapman Land Surveying

Focus Engineering-Geomatics-Planning

Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors

Lower Columbia Chapter – Land Surveyors Association of Washington

Montana Registered Land Surveyors Association



Midwest Surveys

Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon

Surveyors Historical Society

Robert Allen and Company Professional Land Surveyors

Snohomish Chapter – Land Surveyors Association of Washington

Underhill & Underhill

Webster Surveys Ltd.

WFPS – Western Federation of Professional Surveyors

Voyageur Level

Coeur De Bois Enterprises

Voyageur Brigade Society

Arcturus Consulting

Palliser Printing

Joseph and Sharon Cross

Do you know of a group, business or person who wishes to support the Brigade?

Please put them in contact with Ross MacDonald at:


Brigade Paddlers’ Manual

2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade

All the following is just someone’s opinion. They have been on brigades before and have a basis of experience. That being said, you have a duty of care to make your own decisions and choices on whether to participate in the brigade and how to suitably prepare yourself and conduct yourself on the brigade.

The brigade organizers have reserved the right to determine who can and will participate in the brigade. As such, they can remove you from participating before or during the event. Refunds are at the discretion of the organizers. So it might be good to know how things are likely to unfold.

If you need special consideration that would take you outside the following material, perhaps this is not an activity for you.

The Brigade is an intentional community. This is a common adventure among the participants. We intend to get there safely and to have a rewarding time along the way. Please keep in mind that not all of the time will it be “fun” in a light sense.

Topics Recorded June 1 to July 15

Causing Community involvement

Sequence of groups to approach to involve a community:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Rotary, Lions, Kinsmen clubs, NOTE: approach them by getting your local group’s president to approach the president of that community’s club c
  • The local history society, canoe club or resort owner
  • The mayor or a councilor.
  • The recreation director, provincial or state park manager.

Things to have before approaching:

  • Some sort of 5 minute video as an invite.
  • An XL sheet of the list of communities and the dates/times/distances the brigade will be around
  • The location and address and use of where you want to camp and what else might be needed.: I.E: City park here, showers here, garbage here, water from here, boat launch/landing, PIB lagoon, public park area, public greeting beach.
  • List of things the brigade can do: People in boats on land (link with schools), PIB on the water, entry ceremony, parade, pipes jam wiuth local muscians, song and dance.
  • Suggestions for local cultural involvement: dance, music, greeting people (politicians, historians,

Ground crew

Team is:

  • leader, 2 forward advance people, 2 safety and pickup people


  • leader: coordinate team, make sure the advance people get treated well. They will largely be invisible to the brigade and early, people will expect more than is reasonable.
  • Find and mark the road turns so that the crew-ground support people can drive to the start, end and camp places.
  • Find and mark the water points for start and end so that the boats can see where to go. This must be done by thinking how people would see things from the water. How would it look? Would it be seen? Is there any obvious land mark to refer to in addition to the red flag on the shore.
  • At the start of the day, collect the rosters from each crew of who will be on the water for each leg of the day. Check that each team has a radio that is working and a person who knows how to work it. Check that each team has their safety equipment of bail pail, fire starting, pot, fly, throw bags, maps, gps, batteries
  • Talk with the communities to confirm: arrival times (push for 5 p.m), arrival ceremony details: where is the beach, how will spectators be able to see, where will officials watch from.


Start Stop points:

  • lath and pink flagging arrows: at the road side set two lath stakes and use pink survey flagging to make an arrow pointing to left or right
  • sandwich boards with brigade logo and velcro for an arrow to right, left or center.
  • Landing flags: large red flag on an 8′ pole with three guy wires and rebar tent pegs to hold it inplace as the shore. Could use a top edge of the flag stiffener so that it does not hand limp.
  • Meet water captain 45 minutes before captains’ meeting each day and tell him:
    • the start, crew change, landing details, weather and any other relevant information for the next day.
    • Heads up for further ahead.
    • Any community news for reception, meals, camp, breakfasts, ceremony.
  • Attend captains’ meetings


Is it worth Doing XXX for a community?

This needs to be evaluated in a quantitative value assessing way.

  • how many brigade people will be used for how many hours?
  • How many local spectators are likely to be present?
  • How many people will be actively involved in getting in a boat or ???
  • Idea strongly tell the community to have the entry ceremony at a GOOD TIME nolt just the time the brigade arrives.
  • Idea: Get a sponsor for an advertisement in the local news paper
  • Idea: Get a sponsor to fund showing of previous brigade video(s).
  • Idea: Jenifer Fielder was the Thompson Falls woman who did all the orgnizing. She says that the entry should be 10 – 15 minutes (fashionalbly late) after the start of the party.
  • Idea: As a local where to hold a public meeting for interested folks. Publicize it in the local paper. Then start the local organizing.
  • Package to include: movie, tentative agenda, example press release. Ask for organizers to assist. Put notice in the paper.

Group Safety:

  • gather team manifests

Community liaison:

– perhaps the Community organizer person will or should be leading this. If not go for it. Make sure they know so no one is surprised.

– arrival, camp, water, garbage,

  • caution the food people to serve the protein and ration it unless they have a great deal of it. If not the voyageurs can be voracious.
  • Arrange for any arrival parade to coordinate with voyageurs exiting the boats to be clearly and directly lead to where they should stand for official functions.
  • Arrange for Brigade pipers to walk up onto the stage and cease playing right beside the Master of Ceremonies.

Lost and Found Box

Get a cardboard box and put lost and found items in it.

Pass the box to a new team each day at the captains meetings so that every team gets to see the contents.

Have captains add items each day at the meeting.

Radio Issue: not all radios talk back and forth.

Setting Radios to channel 1 privacy 1 has not worked well.

People in Boats

Day 2, Thompson Falls: ~50 people, most were 45 – 55 yrs old, 40% women 40 50 yrs old, 30% men, 30% kids

  • there was one person who told Rick all about safety and how we should not be going on the river. Rick/Ellie dealt with that.
  • Town shore help worked out just fine.


Two Basic Brigade Understandings:

  • The brigade is a series of day trips perhaps with a mid-day meeting with your ground crew so:
    • At the start of the day, you get into your boat with your food, water, and safety gear for the day.
    • At the end of most days you are met by the team vehicle and major camping equipment likely at a town or an organized campsite.
    • The 2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade is about 46 day trips in a row.
    • You have done day trips, so all you have to do is repeat for 46 times.
  • The Brigade’s basic unit is the team or crew, the team’s basic unit is a member
    • For most people who join a team and thus join the brigade, over a period of less than a week, they come to understand how to contribute at all three levels and do contribute at all three levels.
    • Nobody does anything big alone.

Typical Day on the Brigade

For Paddlers:

  • Up early (sometimes VERY early) and on the water (estimated departure times on the schedule). When we encounter big winds in the Columbia Gorge we may need to paddle 50 kilometers before late morning.
  • Paddle in small groups of 2-3 boats.
  • Exchange points will be available where paddlers can leave or join their team in the canoe
  • All the canoes gather together near a community to review the arrival details before a group arrival ceremony (details below).
  • Community Events and Voyageur Tent will be things you can contribute your time to most days if you wish.
  • For Team Ground Crews: Drive the team’s vehicles to the next night’s camping. Ground crews may also need to purchase supplies, do laundry, find e-mail, banking, etc.
  • Captains attend the brigade captains’ meeting in the evening to prepare a plan for next day and then report back to each team. It is after the “captains’’ meeting that you can hold your team meeting to complete the next day’s planning. Read about the meetings below.
  • The next day’s plan will be posted daily at the captains’ meeting.
  • Expect some team shuffling….you might be asked to put a couple members of your (large) team into a team boat with fewer people….swapped to spread knowledge and experience and power…brigade organizers will have a list to post needs for extra paddlers or need for paddlers daily
  • Switching paddlers increases connections within the Brigade. This is also a social event. The benefits of Voyager Canoe Brigading include working on a goal together.
  • NOTE: The advance crew will be often be one-day ahead of the brigade to ensure communities are ready.
  • Weather, water and other conditions may require revisions to the planned schedules.
  • Dignitaries/media may be wanting to have a ride in a canoe.

Getting into the Brigade Rhythm

  1. First day: With duct tape and a wide felt pen, Print your name on the duct tape and put your name on the front and back of your Life vest so people can get to know who you are.
  2. Attend the training session on how to paddle big boats.
  3. Attend the orientation session on the first day. June 1
  4. Attend the water practice on the first day. June 2
  5. Get your personal gear into a dry sac (less than 10 L is good, don’t be a space hog) and ready for the first day paddling. Try loading the boat with your team mates.
  6. It will take about a week for your body to get into shape. :)


People are encouraged to dress in the spirit of the event as we arrive in communities and interact with the public. It can be as simple as wearing a loose fitting shirt and voyageur sash, or as detailed as you’d like.

Regalia is often either culturally or personally significant clothing or ceremonial items. Some times, this seems like or starts out as a costume. For most people after some use it means more, maybe much more and for good reason.

Brigade Organizing and Structure

Brigade Headquarters

A 10 x 10 pop up tent will be set up at most camps to serve as a camp headquarters and central communications base. This will provide a recognizable gathering place where notes and bulletins can be posted/messages can be passed between teams and individuals and brigade announcements can be posted. Likely at least one member of the planning exec will be present at this HQ while we are in camp. It can also serve as a meeting place for captains or other meetings and a muster point for emergencies if needed.

Captains’ Meetings

  • Every day there will be a meeting for Captains, likely after supper. Captains or a team representative must attend to discuss weather, route, arrival ceremonies, parties, safety, variations to the plan. After that, typically the captains hold a team meeting to pass on the information.

Advance Crew

The advance crew is a set of folks who generally move ahead of the Brigade by car and arrange logistics for the crews. Things like finding the crew change points and marking them with flags so the boats can see where to go. Or going to the next town, often a day or more early, to meet town officials and making sure they are ready for us and ensuring that we will be informed and ready for them. The Advance Crew work to keep everyone from being surprised, upset and disappointed. Be nice to them. They often work quietly in the background but are essential and their work can be arduous.

Some Frequent Emotional Happenings

  • You can not keep your game face up for 45 days. So for each of us, there will be times to support our brigade-mates and times when we will each need their support.
  • You have an opportunity to meet some amazing people here. Seize the day. The richness will show up slowly and takes some time investment.
  • It takes about a week to start to feel like you are in shape once you join the Brigade. Even former state or provincial champions take about a week to get into shape.
    • So don’t judge your team mates too soon. Realize that you will be very tired each day for the first week.
    • People who join at week 3 or 4 or 5 will be amazed at how out of shape they are at the start.
  • This is about a rich experience. This is not a race. At the same time, it is very very helpful if you put in a strong effort and study others to figure out how you might increase your talent. Please work at it.
  • Half way day: For whatever reason, this is a milestone day and folks will in some cases rethink what they are up to. They may be cranky.
  • Last day: This is a milestone day. There will be a mixture of emotions — victory, regret, loss, happiness, relief. Each person has a different mix of feeling and expresses it differently in ways they may not be conscious of.
  • Attending the Closing Ceremonies at Astoria is a great way to say good bye. Closing ceremonies for brigade participants will be held Saturday, July 16. More details coming soon!

Team Organizing

There is a sample planning spreadsheet associated with this document that may help you organize your crew. Find it on the brigade web page -> paddlers section. Likely “LogisticsForATeam”. It includes a way to balance the rotation of your crew members between paddling and ground logistics such as shopping and cooking. It also includes sample budgets and expense tracking worksheets.

If you want some dialogue on team organizing:

  • Call Ted Bentley at 780 993-8332

Team size

  • With six paddlers and two van / SUV –sized vehicles, it would be hard to operate a crew with fewer than eight people. Most crews will have 9-12 people to ensure adequate numbers in boat at all times. Most crews have a few people participating for the entire six weeks and several more people who join for a few days or a few weeks.
  • Chances are your team will lose people due to illness, injury, family emergency, etc. Life just happens, so having a fair number of team mates is a big benefit.

Interviewing for Team Members

  • The question is who would you like to spend two intimate months with if you were to be under physically and often emotionally difficult conditions.
    • An example of a difficult emotional condition is: working out with a group of 6 people what to do as a thunderstorm is bearing down on you while you are in a boat some distance from any safe landing.
  • Only 1/3 of the day at most is on the water. So what will people contribute to the shore time team work, activity, and social context?
    • Some distance below is a recommendation that prior to leaving teams set up a schedule for food shopping, cooking, doing dishes, fixing the vehicle, …
    • Some folks will absent themselves from some activities. A great example was a team member that said: “I will not cook.” “I will do dishes, fix equipment, portage gear to make up for that.” And they did. They did more than compensate for not cooking. The other very useful thing was knowing that from the start and knowing clearly.
  • Game Face: Many people can keep a “game face” on for a few days. It is entirely normal for each and any of us to show off our best side when first entering a group or doing an activity.
    • After 3 days of rain and wind on a day when you did 8 hours of hard paddling and the crew change did not happen so you worked extra and when for some reason supper is not ready, how do you behave? How will your team mates behave? So this is the basic scenario of being in the wilderness when things are tough. What does the team expect of each other? How will they respond to someone who has had too much? How do you support each other in getting to the end of the brigade? It is worth enquiring for a person’s thoughts on this before accepting them into your team.
  • Paddling experience:
    • Determination to learn and carry on and complete are the qualities you want.
    • Determination to work and keep pace and adopt the pace of the team is good.
    • Things you do not want:
      • person sets their own pace and will not keep stroke with team,
      • a lilly dipper which means: keeps pace but does not pull water.
      • Sprint paddler, they are all done after the first ½ hour or hour.
    • This is not a race and at the same time, there will be little floating because the river is mostly dammed. So everyone has to always paddle. Can they? Will they?


GPS route files are being built up and will likely be available for down loading at Invermere.

Each team should arrange to have one or more functional GPS units in the boat and for their ground crews. We are providing paper maps for river routing. We will be using them in route preparation. You may wish to supplement with relevant topographic maps and maybe road maps for the province and states we travel in.

We will provide AAA road maps of the states and provinces that we travel in.

Navigational charts either or both of GPS and paper may be an asset on the river.

Figure out who on the team will be the lead navigator. Get them to know how to use the equipment and maps involved. That navigator will not be in the canoe every day, so someone else must be equally comfortable with that responsibility.

There will be more on this on the web and at the captains’ meetings.


Person to person: If you have any concerns, please talk to your team captain who will bring it up at the daily captains’ meeting.

Technical: All teams must have an GMRS (FRS is almost the same Family Radio Service bu does not get government weather. radio in the canoe and it is highly recommended for each ground crew as well. The radios will simplify many situations such as organizing timely arrivals at community events; scheduling shore-breaks while paddling; notifying upstream canoes of challenging conditions such as an inadvisable braided channel and hopefully we will never need to orchestrate any emergency rescue.

We expect cell phones to work in many places and to be a great safety device. However, there may not be cell reception all of the time.

Team Things off the water:

  • A team member’s contribution and willingness to contribute off the water is as important as contribution on the water.
  • Have a team meeting every day after the captains meeting to organize the next day.
  • A Team Notice Board, maybe a white board, is useful to list shopping items, and who is in the boat on each shift today and tomorrow. In ’08, PC2 had a steno flip top notebook with pen attached on the dashboard of the main van. Everyone knew to list shopping items there.
  • Schedule people daily for tasks such as cooking, shopping, cleaning, boat maintenance, .. so that everyone does everything and equally. Keeps resentment well down. Schedule chef, sous chef, and drivers for each day before the brigade begins. Everyone is prepared and is able to accept the assignments. Make it visible so that members can see the equitable distribution of duties. Consider scheduling these duties before the start of the brigade.
  • Chef decides what is to be cooked and enters in a shopping book those items to be purchased by the drivers. Within reason, let the chef obtain what he or she requires for the meal. If any person is scheduled for a meal when a community-provided meal occurs, that is ‘luck of the draw’. Fortunate team member.
  • Consider a large plastic tub system for food, perishables, snacks and lunches, breakfast, dishes and cutlery etc.
  • Think about acquiring an old bus or a large van as a team vehicle, sell it afterwards. Buses can often be set up and registered as an RV. RV insurance is low cost vehicle insurance.
  • Food hygiene really counts: after washing dishes, rinse them in water with bleach before rinsing in clean water. Do what mom said: wash your hands. Consider a drip dry bag for drying dishes as air drying is considered most sanitary.
  • As much as possible let individuals take care of themselves and at the same time [this is contradictory] as much as possible look out for each other.
  • Leave things where they are. The owner left them there. They will be back. Unless you are really really really sure they have forgotten.
  • Appoint a team financial officer. Determine how receipts are to be handled. One system is to have a binder with a pocket sleeve for each team member. Member place receipt into his or her sleeve for the financial officer to enter into a spread sheet. If you have a digital camera, it is simple to take a snapshot of your receipts to avoid paper receipts being lost.
  • Know how you will act if the question of some one needing to leave the team comes up.
  • Be reasonably self contained, but do not be anally retentive self contained.

Team Things On the water:

  • Get a light modern boat
  • Get the seats in the boat low enough.
  • Get bent shaft carbon fiber paddles. You will be lifting it about

6hrs * 60min *60strokes = 20, 000 times in a normal day.

Heavy inefficient paddles lead to stress injuries.

For heavy steering days, the traditional straight paddle is needed.

  • Make it your task to look after team members in the canoe. (Especially if you are the stern paddler (gouvernail). Ensure that paddlers rotate to drink water and eat food regularly. Be more aware in hot weather.
  • Each day, make sure you have the survival kit in the boat. At a minimum, it must include: a tarp, a way to make fire, a pot to boil water and a first aid kit.
  • Throw bag.
  • One or more +2 ½ gallon bailing buckets that fit under your bow and stern seat. More and nested is good.
  • Six (6) signal flares so you can attract attention for assistance.
  • Start drinking and eating early so you always have energy.

Get Darin Zandee’s course manual for paddling big boats on the Brigade web site.


Team Vehicles, Transportation, Gear

  • Each team must be able to move their entire team and equipment. We are not always camping beside a river. There are two long portages by road when the brigade will move between river systems. There are several short portages where vehicles will likely be used. Roads to camping and river access are all pretty good, so no worries there. RVs are acceptable within reason – for the most part our camping areas have been provided based on mainly tent camping. Limited space may be available – and in many cases, nearby camp sites will be available for regular camping fees.
  • Some considerations:
  • Keep the number of vehicles per team to an absolute minimum, so you need fewer drivers and more people can enjoy the trip from the water. Camping space will be limited in a number of locations.
  • Teams will also likely have individual members joining and leaving the brigade at various points along the journey. Please inform brigade officials of changes to team as new members must register (sign waivers, etc).
  • You will need to supply your own driver to move the vehicle(s) so having fewer vehicles is much easier than many vehicles. Drivers are often scarce. Vehicle shuffling is a pain.
  • Gear:
    • Consider finding a way for each member of your team to have one or two large and carryable containers to put all their belongings in. A hockey gear bag is about the right size. This will make tracking belongings much easier.
    • Consider labeling all team gear with a distinct piece of tape or tags. Particularly putting a color band or distinct set of bands on things like paddle shafts helps to avoid confusion. Pathfinder uses red duct tape.


Communities, Gratitude and Respect

We will be guests in a different community most days and this is an essential aspect of your Brigade experience. Similarly for the community, we are helping celebrate their history, their culture and those things of which they are proud. Very often what is offered is a very generous welcome and we need to make them aware of our gratitude and respect. Thank everyone often.

Greeting Ceremony at Towns:

    • We will be the guests of about 35 towns or communities along the way. We are celebrating their culture, their history and their story with them. Often these folks will provide the brigade with food, entertainment, or accommodation. , …
    • When we arrive by water, The Brigade puts on an effort to come in with Ceremony. Our ability to briefly put on a show from the water usually looks like:
      • Meet at the designated gathering spot for pre-arrival. Get your boats flags flying off the stern of your canoe. Each team will be given one Brigade flag and pole. Get your regalia on. Get your ground crew to take all unnecessary things to your team vehicle.
      • Paddle over near the town beach, likely one boat discharges a black powder rifle to say we have arrived. The shore replies with a shot.
      • Figure-8 maneuver: line the boats up and paddle an interlocked figure-8 pattern twice. This looks pretty interesting from shore, requires careful attention to steering and speed on the water. After that,
      • Permission to land: Line up the boats with bows facing the shore and sitting still. Call to the land asking for permission to land. Usually the lead boat coming into a community changes each day, if a boat is the obvious significant local boat likely it will lead. The call to shore usually comes from the lead boat. When permission is granted,
      • Voyageur Salute: All paddlers, closely in time with each other, (bang the gunwales 3X then shout) X 3. Then all boats do a sprint start and paddle to shore as fast as possible. First one to within 1” of shore wins, anyone who collides with the shore is a looser. Anyone who collides with another boat is really a looser. Q: HOW do you know the timing for paddle banging? A: Watch the Brigade water captain and move as they move. (Note: be careful not to bang expensive carbon fibre paddles too hard, they are not designed for stress on the shaft)
      • Meeting the public:. Get out of your boat, talk with the community and interact. Have a great time.



Camping space will sometimes or often be tight and non-brigade participants following the camp may have to use `overflow` areas.

Facilities provided will not always be right on river.

Wilderness camping (no access to vehicles or support crew, no services) vs. rough car camping (will have access to vehicles and support crews, but no other services) may both occur.

Communities may offer camping in fields such as high school yards or ball diamonds. Not fancy, but practical.


Teams are responsible for recharging batteries for electrical equipment. Campsites providing electrical are listed on the schedule. Brigade organizers will have a generator for brigade equipment.


Sprint Races

Maybe! Be ready. Get dragon boaters on your team.

Getting Ready

What teams will get in registration package

Shirts, flag and pole, map materials, GPS route files, decals for boats, cards with emergency numbers

Many forms that team members need to fill in and the captain & members return.

North Canoe Rental

The brigade will be providing decals for canoes – they must have space on one bow and one stern (opposing sides) for brigade decals.

If your team needs a north canoe, Dave Woolridge has 25′ centennial boats and trailersfor rent. Prices do not include tax.


The Brigade organizers may also know of canoes available if you need one. Contact them.

Registration if Participating just One Day (I.E.: July 15)

Details comings soon.

Health and Safety

Risk Management

  1. Safety first.
  2. Each person and captain shall become familiar with and follow the risk management and safety procedures of the Brigade.
  3. Follow all ACA risk management plan items

Please read this document as well.

All people going on the water have a duty of care to have suitably informed themselves for this activity and only undertake the activity having decided they are willing to take on the inherent risks which go up to and include possible death.

  1. The Brigade organizing committee can decide that a team or individual will withdraw from the brigade if the organizers so choose. Refund of fees may or may not happen at the choice of the organizers. Ok. On to happier things.
  2. Life jackets:
    -  All people in boats at all times must  wear an approved life jacket.
    – Canadians or people in Canadian boats can wear a Canadian approved life jacket or a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.  The labeling must be clear and readable.
    – The life jacket must have an attached whistle so that the user can loudly signal if needed.
    – If your life jacket can be comfortably worn under your paddling jacket or rain coat, it is a great addition to warmth and insulation on a cold day.
    – Please put a duct tape name label on your jacket front and back so that we can all get to know each other.

Your Health:

Par-Q Form Is it sensible for you to paddle?

Read this document, make a realistic decision. Are you being personally dully diligent?

Individuals need to manage their own health insurance.

Individuals and teams need to have frank discussions about the health of members and what that means for their participation.


General Health and Safety

  • Much more could be said, this is not exhaustive.
  • Spot is a device that can be carried by a person or a team that essentially gives off a 911 Help call if you press an emergency button. Cost: about $200 for the unit and about $200/yr to have the unit be active. It calls a satellite that calls 911 for you. You can also use it in clever ways to signal you are OK or that you want to be picked up at a particular spot or other things. How? Considering Spots only send out a set text to a designed receiver.
    • You can send   1  or 2  or 3   or n   messages to the receiver in a ~5 minute period     so    1= OK  2=need money   3= pick me up where we arranged.  4 = ??
  • First aid training: Figure out who in your team has first aid training. Work with them so there is a team first aid and medical plan. Just in case it is needed.
    • Maybe your team should as a group go for first aid training and get the knowledge.
    • Please identify yourself to the brigade registrar if you have medical training.
  • First aid kit: Get some in coordination with your team first aid person. Likely more than one. Have everyone aware of where the kits in the camp, car and boat are.
  • Flies, mosquitoes, and ticks might be numerous and hungry. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease is carried by some ticks. What more should we say? Teams should carry anti- sting or anti-itch products along with bug shirt / head net.
  • Wildlife – in some areas we need to be aware of wildlife – could be bear, cougar or rattlesnake. As a rule, parks will post warning signs if certain wildlife are known in the area. Take these signs seriously and act accordingly.
    • Cougars: watch out for these in camp. They wear lipstick.
    • Bears: Bears are very smart. If they find food at a location once, they will persistently be back, then they will eventually be shot by a human. So, A FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR. Save the bears. Put all food away in something like a car trunk.
    • Bear Attacks: On the other hand, there are no known cases of bears attacking three or more people, so make friends and stick with them. This is just good brigading. Most of the route is bear free. If you want to know how to face off with a bear, talk to Dave Grant. He is quite skilled at talking to them like an obstreperous teenager and getting them to leave.
    • Rattle Snakes: The only known Canadian death by rattle snake was a drunk playing with a rattle snake in exactly the same ecological environment as the brigade will be travelling. Do stay sober, alert and not too playful. If bitten, quickly go to a hospital. Do not play John Wayne with a knife.
    • Cougars: Puma concolor this time, occasionally but rarely hunt people and kill them. If attacked, fight back vigorously and yell a lot. One guy in BC during the fight, got out his Swiss army knife and cut the cat’s throat and killed it.
  • Dish Hygiene: Suggestion, have 3 dish pans on the go when you as a team do dishes. 1) Soap and hot water. 2) Hot water with a tablespoon of bleach for first rinse. 3) Clean water rinse. Why: Because there are varieties of pathogens that will die in bleach that neither soap nor rinse water will get rid of. And having giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, etc is really really not fun.
    • Maintain your own personal water bottle with a little bleach. Especially if you fill with energy drink, Gatorade or other sugar drinks.
  • Stress Injuries
    • Calluses, Cysts on fingers: It took me only about 43 years of paddling to figure out that I need to have no rings or other metal on my fingers when I paddle long distances. Up to then I built up some cysts on the ring fingers that have gradually gone down over the last decade. I was also headed towards arthritic feelings due to wearing rings.
    • Cracked nails: SC says: “On PC2 4 of us developed severe cracking of the fingers near the nails followed by infection. Creams and ointments did little good. 3 of us ended up superglueing the cracked skin together to allow them to heal.”
    • Tendinitis in wrists: Much more quickly, in only about 3 years, I figured out that wearing a watch will lead to tendinitis in that wrist. So now I take the watch off and strap it to the thwart in front of me if I care about time.
    • 08 had some hernias begin to act up along the way.
    • Blisters: I have very very soft skin. I blister very easily. I wear leather bicycle gloves all the time when paddling and so reduce the blisters. Carbon fiber paddle shafts help reduce blistering because they are smooth and somehow more slippery but not harder to hold and control than varnished wood.
    • Foot skin health Take care to dry your feet well for at least some time every day. If possible use foot wear that lets your feet dry off in the boat. Assorted evil organisms can take up long term residence on your feet or in constantly wet canoe boots or other waterproof footwear.
    • Jeans can snag on the way across the bench seat leading to other stresses.
    • Wet bottom, sore bottom: Last summer Don Galloway carried out an extensive set of experiments on how to keep his bottom dry and not sore. His experiments were very harsh on some Ensolite foam pads. Don had the sponge-Bob- Square-pants look with wedgie appearance because he put the foam inside his shorts.
      • Foam duct-taped to the boat seats got ripped up in less than a day. Sliding across to the other side of the boat when changing places seemed to work better on smooth hard seats but led to quite a bit of commentary on sore bottom from my lovely wife. Webbed seats are preferred by some and not others.
  • Alcohol will NOT be permitted on the water. It is expected people will drink responsibly after we are no longer paddling.
  • Illegal drugs are not permitted. Period. All brigaders must be within the law at all times.


  • Keep the environment clean. This is very unlikely to be a problem given the people usually attracted to paddling events. Just as a reminder, please:
    • Leave no trace, take pictures, leave foot prints.
    • Our host towns will likely provide garbage collection but if they do not, carry your garbage until the next proper place.
    • No Kleenex flowers


Passing on Skills

  • Brigade specific paddling skills: There will be some training especially for captains in the day or two before paddling starts.
    • Injury reduction: changing sides, crew changes
    • Steering by Switching: How to boost boat power by 1/6
  • On the water during Brigade Days:
    • Move folks around to different positions in the boat. This gives people the opportunity to
      • Learn skills,
      • Learn to empathize with people in other positions,
      • Understand what makes the boat work well.
    • Many people like to move around either during the day or from day to day.
    • Especially the stern person may need to move after a few hours because of the tiring effects of actively steering. Changing them often may prevent injury.
  • D Zandee is preparing an excellent write up of the specific skills for paddling big boats that people may not have been exposed to before.

Canoe Art:

  • Francis Ann Hopkins, look her up in Wikipedia, has for 150 years perpetrated an absolutely fabulous prank, piece of women’s advocacy and point of interest. The novice eye looking at this picture will think the fur trade was all men.
  • But Ms Hopkins is the lady sitting in the middle of the above canoe with her husband who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Nice hat. She always paints herself having a nice hat.

  • She has painted all the most famous fur trade era canoe images we have. The one above is LaChine Rapid on the St Lawrence River at Montreal. The accuracy of the scale of the rocks to the canoe and the way to handle a large canoe going down Lachine is terrific. The best spot to run Lachine is still just as she shows it, about 2/3 of the way to the west/north side of the river.
  • She showed up in the ’08 video in just the same way. Look for her. Happily by ‘08 women were not constrained to be so subtle about being there.
  • When ever you see a fur trade canoe picture look for Ms Hopkins and remember women were there all along. They were very skilled.

More Paddling More Efficiently:

  • Sailing is a great way to cover miles fast with relative ease (as long as the wind is blowing in the right direction!) A simple sail carried in the canoe will ensure you are ready to take advantage of the situation should it arise. The voyageurs of the fur-trade certainly did!
  • So, now that you have carefully read and practiced Brigade Style paddling, you are wanting to use less energy to move as fast as you are now OR you want to use the same energy to move faster. Both those happen with greater paddling efficiency. Here are some ideas:
    • Look at how the team is paddling in the morning each day. The stern person is in the best place to look at things. Take a look at all the following.
    • Balance Be very balanced side to side and front to back.
      • First balance the boat for gear. I am assuming you’re switching sides.
      • The boat sitting totally flat side to side is good. Switch what seat people are on for a start and then have people sit right out to the gunwale (best) or a little into the middle if they are over-weighting the rest. Why: if folks are a little off balance, it can be nerve wracking and they will paddle gently = slow and low power.
      • Look at the little bit of water splashed onto the bottom of the boat. If it puddles in the back or front, move people or gear so the boat when still is about 1” bow down. It will lift to level when you are under way. Why:
    • Paddle exactly! in stroke. Really exactly. How to do that: watch the bow paddlers top hand. Do exactly the same timing as they do. DO NOT caterpillar. What is a caterpillar? It is a team where each person from front to back is a little further back in stroke timing. Looks like the legs of a caterpillar. How will you know? The stern person needs to look carefully and then gently tell folks if they are right on stroke or if they need to watch more closely. It is very useful when everyone is in stroke for the Stern to tell the team that. This usually takes a new team somewhere between ½ an hour and a day. And it needs refreshing each morning and when people are really tired it takes more focus but counts a lot more. Why this works: The boat “bounces” less on the water. Bouncing takes energy. Don’t bounce.
    • Use all your muscles, change sides. If your team changes sides of the boat about once a minute, you use both sides of your body equally. Why this works: You use something like twice as many muscles. So they do ½ the work. They are less tired and you move faster. Make sure you change all at once in a very coordinated fashion. :) See D Zandee’s guidelines on changing sides. Why every minute: This is an appropriate compromise between refreshing your muscles and not having to move across the boat all the time. Marathon racers change about every 5 – 10 strokes which is too fast for big boats but works wonderfully in 2-man.
        • Changing sides should take one paddle beat.
        • When a team is first learning to paddle together, every minute may be too often. The team may have to work up to once every minute. Give time for this to happen. It might take a week. Changing sides should take one paddle beat. Crew members need time to develop this skill and sometimes you have to stay at two strokes for a switch. The closer to the bow or stern one is, the easier it is to switch.
    • Shorter Faster Strokes. If you want to move faster, use the same energy but take shorter and more frequent strokes. First thing, do not pull the paddle past your hip, have the paddle out of the water by the time it is to your hip. Many short quick, forward reaching strokes using the same energy moves the boat more smoothly. Get up to ~55 strokes/minute.
    • Paddling continuously. Paddle at a rate you can sustain for the whole day at the same rate. Sprinting and resting is a formula for slowing down and people getting cold, cramped and cranky.
      • Rolling water/snack breaks. About every ½ hour folks need a minute and at most two minutes to take a drink, have a bit of energy. The captain can organize this to roll from front to back so only one person is stopped at a time.
      • Rolling lunch breaks. Do it the same as drinking and snacking. Time, captain, companion canoes permitting, you might stop on shore for a relaxing lunch although do not expect to stop every day for lunch. .
      • Historic alternative: Voyageurs apparently stopped for 5 min / hr on the hour and smoked a pipe. So just do not let pipe smokers on your team. :)
    • The Stern Paddles. In a 25′ north canoe, the stern person can switch paddling from side to side about every 8 strokes. Disadvantage: This will splash the #5 seat person’s back some. Advantage: 1/6 more total power. Now everyone is making the boat move ahead. Advantage 2: less drag from negative steering strokes. Ruddering slows the boat. Switching sides avoids the need to rudder. When to switch sides: just as the bow starts to point straight ahead. This means you mildly zigzag along but with more power, and no drag from steering. The extra distance is negligible. The extra power is very big. Challenge: Is your stern person able to see how this works and carry it out. Challenge 2: You need to change who is in the stern about every 2 – 3 hours because it is tiring.
        • For longer boats this advantage is greatly reduced. Having a long strong straight paddle along is good if truly heavy maneuvering is needed.
    • Feather your paddles in wind. What is feathering? At the start of the recovery section of the stroke the top hand rolls so that the thumb points forward & down. Why this works: If all paddle surfaces where added up and combined into one surface, how much resistance would be created against a 30 km/hr head wind? Feathering is not just for wind. A north canoe travels approximately 7 kilometres per hour. Not feathering on calm days still has six paddle blades encountering a 7 kilometre/hour air mass. Feathering allows the paddle to travel closer to the water on the recovery portion of the stroke. Any motion that is not straight forward or straight back is wasted energy.
    • Paddles which enter the water silently and exit the water silently are working more efficiently. This is a good way to check. Again, it takes time to develop. Gently remind paddlers you hear noise. Why this works: noise indicates that air is being mixed with the water. The blade should have solid water on both sides, making noise takes energy, save your energy for moving ahead.
    • Sprint Practice. One of the most effective ways to build your team paddling is to do a short period of sprint maybe two or three times a day. As preparation, everyone has drink and a bite to eat, gets all the junk out of the way and you are ready. Then for ½ a minute or a minute, see how fast you can go. Or try and overtake the boat just ahead of you.
    • Use your GPS to track speed. In the end you want to know if you are doing any different. Use your GPS to look at speed, read the value out to the whole boat about every 15 seconds. Without this tool it is very hard to know if things are going better. Do this a little every day.
    • Why bent paddles work. It is not only the light weight of carbon that is an advantage. Actually marathon paddlers were using bent paddles long before carbon. It is the twist action of your torso that is the crucial point. Twisting your torso is the strongest motion your body can make, stronger than flexing or extending your arm, or leg or doing a sit-up. You can sustain the twisting for a long time. You do not move your body or arms up and down very much. Due to its shape, a bent paddle causes you to use your arms less and twist your body more. You are using your core. And you are much more powerful and efficient. This twist is a short action, so the stroke rate goes up, and the boat bounces less and things get even a bit better.
      Bent was invented by Gene Jensen of Minnesota about 1970.
  • For straight line sprints of 1000m, straight carbon paddles are the best. That is why they are used for Olympics paddling sprint events.

More Topics

Lists to consider:

None of the following lists will be perfect or exhaustive. You have a duty of care to prepare adequately for this brigade. So from your or your team mates’ experience, you should enrich all of the following. This is just the opinion of someone who has done some paddling.

In-Boat Safety Required Equipment

– For each person, a lifejacket / personal flotation device that meets the specifications of the appropriate agency within your country of residence or that meets U.S. Coast Guard approval and a waterproof whistle attached to the PFD. Note: Canadian approved life jacket with an appropriate label is OK in a Canadian boat or on a Canadian.
– One spare paddle.
– One 2.5 gallon bailing pail attached to the canoe. Two pails are advised as is a large bailing sponge.
– An emergency throw rope bag (50 foot recommended), attached to the canoe.
– Stern and bow attached “painter” ropes (50 to 75 foot length is advised). Make sure these will not tangle and trap people in an emergency.
– Six (6) signal flares so you can attract assistance if needed.
– One FRS radio (water proof and capable of floating is advised) and spare batteries.
– A First aid kit, attached to the canoe.
– A kit of gear to be used in the event your canoe is forced to make an emergency shelter, attached to the canoe. Recommended items may include a pot to boil water, a reliable method of making fire, hatchet or axe and a tarp large enough for the whole team.
– A GPS loaded with route and maps and spare batteries.
– At least one light. An LED headlamp that has a flashing mode is recommended.

– Large bailing sponge (keep you boat clean to reduce slipping)

Recommended: Reboarding loop.

– This is a loop of webbing or rope that goes around a thward and then hangs down about 2’ from the gunwale to make it easy to climb back into the boat after capsize.


Team Items in Registration Package [Needs confirmation]

  1. Magnetic decals for cars & Sticky decals for boats.
  2. Sheets describing how we paddle into or out of towns and other ceremonies
  3. Map materials
  4. Land maps, water maps, gps way-points,
  5. Brigade Flag
  6. Flag pole and cord
  7. Safety Policy
  8. Who is Who list of people 1 page Next 3 days schedule. 1 page.
  9. Voyageur Shirts 12 per team.
  10. ACA release to sign and get back to registrar (captain does this)
  11. Model Release forms to be signed and to get back to registrar
  12. Emergency contact sheets fill out and return
  13. Swag maybe.
  14. Community information.xls.
  15. USB Map route files download opportunity

Note: each member is responsible for having their own voyageur sash.

Welcoming and Captains’ First Days’ Meetings, Brigade AGM and Water Practice

There will be a number of meetings to orient folks and captains

  1. Early on a captains meeting on June 1 to get packages for team members to fill in 1:00 p.m. June 1.
  2. A set of general meetings for members in the afternoon for people to become acquainted 2:00 p.m. and a repeat at 4:00 p.m.
  3. There will be safety practices organized by our charming Safety, Water Captains and Education Chair on June 1 and or 2. Please plan to attend these sessions.

Things to Bring/ Get for Your Team

  1. GPS that can take downloads of way-points and your way to put the down load onto that GPS. Batteries.
  2. GPS Topographic maps: We are working on but not certain to have topo maps showing the river system and surrounding land and roads and towns. If you already have them, you should load them on your GPS and laptop.
  3. Person who knows how to load/read/run the GPS. There will be a ton of expertise in camp on how to use these things if you need a few extra hints.
  4. Back Roads” maps for the states and provinces we are passing through (BC, MT, ID, WA, OR). These are usually available at gas stations for the local state/province. The Brigade has procured AAA maps for the relevant states and province. There is a dashing group of surveyors who are working on a set of maps to be supplied to each team that will be helpful. The Brigade’s web site will have a suggested list of maps and map tools soon. Look for it on the web site.
  5. A way to mount a 1 1/4” flag pole to the back of your boat. This is for the Brigade flag. You may wish to mount another flag as well depending on your ethnic, national, cultural, … affiliations.
  6. All the team’s paddling stuff.
  7. All the team’s transport, camping and land gear.
  8. Team mates. About 10 or so people on the team all the time. Yes you can go with fewer or more. Six paddlers in the canoe and some drivers for your vehicles is minimal. Being able to swap half the paddlers at each exchange point keeps people happier and healthier.


Useful Web Sites You Should Read:

  1. The Brigade’s Web site:
  2. Risk Management from American Canoe Association:
    We follow this.
  3. Schedule of Times, Places, distances, …
  4. Google earth for aerial views of the route. Know before you go.

Things for Team Members/ Team to be ready to sign and agree with:

  • ACA event membership
  • ACA release
  • Model Release for video/press

Things for Team Members to have with them:

In the Boat:

  • US Coast Guard approved life jacket being worn with an attached whistle. This is a Brigade insurance requirement.
  • Bent shaft carbon fiber paddle
  • Water bottle, food for the day
  • Rain gear, Hat, sun screen, bug stuff
  • Possibly: knife, way to make fire, 10L or smaller personal bag to contain the items not in use. With a rope or webbing so it can be tied in. NOTE: do not be a pig and take extra space. If you need 30L, you need to rethink your approach to daily paddling.
  • IF it is an overnight, personal gear that can fit in a 30L bag including your usual 10L stuff. Thermarest is extra. Tent (small!) for you and your buddy is extra.
  • Voyageur Sash

In their gear

  • Passport for the border day only – move to In the Boat if you are paddling across
  • Driver’s license, auto insurance, ownership papers (owner) if driving vehicles
  • Fishing license if you plan on fishing
  • All the usual for a camping trip away from a motor vehicle
  • Spare paddle. Bent. Carbon fiber. Honoring the voyageurs is good. They would completely understand using the best available paddle. Imitating the voyageurs will cause unnecessary pain, slow your team and thus present a safety hazard. If your name is Robbie or Dave you might be young and strong enough to ignore this sterling advice.
  • Multivitamins. On very long outdoor trips, people approach vitamin deficiency after eating a diet limited in variety for several weeks. This exhibits as being very tired or low energy and low enthusiasm. So, just bring your multivitamin pills and avoid this. Yes there are other ways to avoid this. This is one simple solution.


Paddling is an inherently dangerous activity, so participants need to obtain appropriate medical insurance. You will be outside your State or Province or residence, so it is essential to determine how your personal health insurance would handle a claim if you needed to seek medical or dental assistance.

Also check on your property (boat) insurance and vehicle insurance for both sides of the border.


Check the Brigade website,, often for updates and notices.

Video: Recording our Event

A videographer will be following the brigade and recording our activities for a DVD.

All Brigade participants need to sign a model release form giving permission for them to appear in the video. Due to the nature of the event, there will be no way to control pictures and home videos that happen.

Things with lots of Government

Crossing the Border

  • We will be crossing the border into the United States, therefore all participants crossing the Canadian/US border MUST have valid passports.
  • Why does this matter: Because on June 7 at the 49th parallel, i.e. the border, there will be a ceremony to commemorate Thompson and Surveying with the International Boundary Commissioners of Canada and the US in attendance placing a commemorative plaque at the border. We are working to coordinate with those folks so we can all be there. BUT crossing the border must be done properly.
  • Crossing by car without prior notice to Home Land Security
  • At the Canada-US border each person is responsible for themselves.
  • Each person must have a valid passport
  • Each person is responsible for their own gear, possessions, …
  • If your are taking someone else’s possessions across the border
            • You are personally legally responsible for everything in that gear. NOT THEM. You do not have to do this but you bear responsibility for the material. If you are a vehicle driver, all items not claimed by some one else in the vehicle are your responsibility. SO it is a personal choice of yours to take on this legal responsibility.
        • Do not take fruit or meat. Comply with border regulations. Plan your menus accordingly.
        • Limited amounts of alcohol (essentially none by voyageur standards) and tobacco are allowed but again you, the driver, are responsible for the sum of all luggage not claimed by some one else in the vehicle at the time with you.
        • For good reason, these folks have no sense of humor and no latitude in how they act.
  • *** ADVANCE Clearance and then paddle:
    • This is still a developing story and therefore incomplete.
    • We are talking with Home Land Security, Border Services. They are being very helpful.
      • By May 1, Each Captain should collect from each of their team members wishing to paddle across the border: their legal name, passport #, date of birth, home address, phone. The Brigade will collect these lists from each team and submit them all to Border Services. They will notify us if there are difficulties with those folks paddling across. They reserve the right to withdraw the permission, to check on any one as they cross the border and to do all the other things that they can do. No promises. But a reasonable probability of this being a special and very positive event.

Great BIG Power & Water Dams

  • When we get to things like GRAND COULEE DAM and all the other dams we will have to carefully follow the instructions of the day. What those instructions are is not currently fully understood.
  • Again, the people running these structures, for very good reasons, have no sense of ha ha. So we will be very respectful.
  • At Bonneville Dam, in their fish hatchery pools they used to have a sturgeon that was about 10+ feet long. Look for it. That is what the fish on the river used to be.



Appendix 1: 2011 Thompson Columbia Brigade Time Line


Per Day Schedule

Look at the web site for the per day schedule of travel.xls of:

Locations, Km a day to paddle and drive, exchange points, Wilderness and rough car camping locations, interpretive events and commitments

Organizational Schedule

Organizational Time Line and Administrative Events

March 30, 2011 Final Entry payments due.

June 1, LAUNCH (may be subject to change)

When to arrive in Invermere

May 31 or early June 1 (Tuesday or early Wednesday)


June 1 (Wednesday)

10:00 AM

– begin crew registration

1:30 PM

– Introductions, Safety and GPS review (session 1)

4:30 PM

– Introductions, Safety and GPS review (session 2 for the late arrivals)

– Brigade AGM 4:30 – 6 PM

6:00 PM

– Brigade Supper

June 2, Water Orientation and Training

June 3, Canal Flats to Invermere

Brigade Canoe Training 

May 1st – Captain conference call (Brigade Exec face to face Apr 30/May 1)

The call will take a little more than an hour and will review ground logistics, on-water logistics, any outstanding financial issues and provide a means to discuss and hopefully resolve any outstanding concerns.


June 01 – Registration


What teams have to do

Sign waiver, get canoe outfitted and gear organized, sign in and get registration package

We need to know who’s who, so please be prepared to put your name on your

pfd/hat/jacket (both front and back of whatever your wearing). Duct tape and marker

works great.

Appendix 2: Gear Lists 2008

Safety Equipment for 2008 Teams in the Boat:

– 2 ½ gal bailing pail Have two that is much better.

– 2 50’ to 75’ throw ropes in throw bags. One tied to each end.

– First aid kit

– Pot to boil water in, a way to make fire, hatchet or axe

– Tarp large enough for the whole team to huddle under out of the weather

– GPS loaded with route and maps

– FRS radio,

– Large bailing sponge

Equipment List that was suggested for 2008 teams.

carbon bent-shaft paddles for each paddler

Approved PFD’s for each paddler

Whistles on each PFD

2 throwbags

1 stove

1 large pot

1 large frying pan

1 kettle

1 boat pump

2 100’ ropes

waterproof bags

1 tarp

portage straps

1 axe


1 shovel


New Idea: Reboarding loop.

– A loop of webbing or rope that goes around a thward and then hangs down about 2’ from the gunwale to make it easy to climb back into the boat after capsize.


Appendix 3: Behavioral Expectations 2008

Brigade organizers developed the following Conduct Rules for the 2008 David Thompson Brigade. These are not official for 2011 but they are still valid to follow.

All effective teams develop a set of rules of conduct and behavior to help them achieve their purpose and goals. The following guidelines were adopted for the 2008 David Thompson Team to meet the mission and enhance the experience of the brigade.

The Mission Statement for the 2008 David Thompson Brigade was:

i. First and foremost, to provide a supportive and safe environment for paddlers in voyageur canoes to travel from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Fort William, Ontario,

ii. To educate the public about the achievements of David Thompson, and

iii. To celebrate the fur trade period of Canadian history.

1. People are more important than things:

If people have a problem with each other, go directly to that person and solve it. Sometimes in order to change another person’s behaviour, you change your behaviour to achieve your aim.

No backstabbing; no bad mouthing; and no finger pointing. If problems continue, raise the problem with your team captain who will take it to the captain’s meeting or the executive as appropriate.

If a team member is not paddling as hard as you are, you will be the one with the big muscles and in better shape at the end. People are all different. Change what you can and accept what you cannot. Be careful not to offend if it will negate your aim.

2. Commitment:

Active, positive participation and commitment are important.

Be present and be on time.

Everyone’s behavior reflects on the brigade as a whole and ultimately on the safety and enjoyment of the participants.

Exhibit behaviours based on good judgment and consider the larger group as well as your team or yourself.

This is especially important in the brigade’s commitment to the communities.

3. Discussion:

Any issue related to the team and the brigade may be raised appropriately and discussed. Issues are invited to be brought to the executive through your team captain.

4. Brigade Orientation:

The individual is part of a team that is part of the brigade.

Everyone gets assignments and does them.

Respect all equipment that belongs to others and to the brigade.

Return all equipment to the executive when leaving the brigade.

5. Contributions:

Everyone does real work.

Everyone’s time and efforts are equally important and therefore should be valued.

In the event that your team exceeds the guidelines in members and/or expenses, be prepared to make additional contribution (monetary and effort) so that there is fairness to all participants and costs are equally shared.

6. Decision Making:

All team members should be present, or have an opportunity through their captain to provide input for major decisions.

Major decisions shall be reached through consensus as much as possible.

Consensus means finding a proposal acceptable enough that all members can support it, and no member opposes it.

In the event that is not possible to reach consensus, the brigade executive will make a final decision.

Once a decision has been made, all participants will cooperate with the decision. (See commitment)

People who do not wish to participate or who do not feel safe or who wish to do other things should not participate for that activity or day. If you realize the overall brigade is not for you, withdrawing before problems become excessive is a good solution.

Decisions must consider safety, insurance, brigade mission and commitments to the communities.

Safety first – need to modify above to say that Safety Coordinator and/or Water Chief are IN CHARGE and their instructions MUST be followed when safety is concerned.

Otherwise, we’re a collaborative bunch. We must stay on schedule, therefore if safety concerns prevent the brigade from paddling one day, the brigade may have to move ahead to the next location by road and skip paddling that section.

The brigade organizers cannot prevent anyone from doing anything: we are all consenting adults.

In some places, brigade participants will be provided with camping, meals, etc.

NON-brigade participants may be charged a fee to participate in certain events.

There is an opportunity for interpretive roles including speaking at schools (approx. 15 communities), singing, dancing, interpretive camp, arrival and departure ceremonies.

We will be looking for volunteers to participate.

Appendix 4: Historic Preparation

Interesting Reading

Want to know what life was like two hundred years ago?

Franchère, Gabriel. A Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America. Milo Milton Quaife

(ed.) Lakeside Classics: Chicago, 1954

Fraser, Simon. The Letters and Journals of Simon Fraser, 1806 – 1808. W. Kaye Lamb,

(ed.) Macmillan: Toronto, 1960

Glover, Richard (ed.), David Thompson’s Narrative, 1784-1812. Champlain Society:

Toronto, 1962

Harmon, Daniel Williams. Sixteen Years in the Indian Country: The Journal of Daniel

Williams Harmon, 1800-1816. W. Kaye Lamb, (ed.) Macmillan: Toronto, 1957

Henry, Alexander (the Younger). The Journal of Alexander Henry the Younger 1799-

1814.Volume II. Barry Gough, (ed.) The Champlain Society/University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1988

Huck, Barbara. Exploring the Fur Trade Routes of North America. Heartland, Winnipeg

Canada, 2000

Jenish, D’Arcy. Epic Wanderer – David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian

West. Doubleday Canada, 2003

MacGregor, James G. Peter Fidler – Canada’s Forgotten Explorer 1769-1822.

McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1998

M’Gillivray, Duncan. The Journal of Duncan M’Gillivray of the North West Company at

Fort George 1794\95. MacMillan, Toronto, Reprint originally published in 1929.

Many Tender Ties – Van Kirk, Sylvia, 1999.

Nisbet, Jack. Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North

America. Sasquatch Books: Seattle, 1994

Nisbet, Jack. The Mapmaker’s Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau.

Washing State University Press: Pullman, 2005

Sometimes Only Horses to Eat – Haywood, Carl W., 2008

Thompson, David. Columbia Journals. Barbara Belyea, (ed.) McGill-Queen’s: Montreal, 1994

Thompson, David. Original Manuscript Journals. Unpublished. Archives of Ontario

Tyrell, Joseph Burr (ed.), David Thompson’s Narrative, 1784-1812. Champlain Society:

Toronto, 1916

Undaunted Courage – Ambrose, Stephen, 1996

The Nor’Westers – The Fight for the Fur Trade – Campbell, Marjorie Wilkins, 2002

Woman of the Paddle Song – Clutton-Brock, Elizabeth. Copp, 1972

Epic Wanderer: David Thompson & the Mapping of the Canadian West – Jenish, D’Arcy 2004.

Visible Bones : Journeys across Time in the Columbia River Country – Nisbet, Jack, 2003.

David Thompson, Narrative, Toronto: Champlain Society, – Tyrrell, J.B. (ed.) 1916.

Gough, Barry, Fortune’s A River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America, Harbour Publishing, 2007


Columbia River History: