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FAMILY FUN: Tubing safely with kids down the Gaspereau River

Sandy, Caile, Noah and Alexandria McFadden, Kentville, enjoy one of the summer’s most popular activities – tubing down the Gaspereau River
Sandy, Caile, Noah and Alexandria McFadden, Kentville, enjoy one of the summer’s most popular activities – tubing down the Gaspereau River

GASPEREAU - Tubing on the Gaspereau River is a quintessential Valley activity, and something everyone should do at least once. 

Many people, especially those who have come from away, wonder how tubing works and if children can go as well. These are some tips from some tubing enthusiasts.

The first thing to note is the river is not always available for tubing.

The Gaspereau River is the final part of a vast and complicated hydro-electric system operated by Nova Scotia Power. Nova Scotia Power controls how much water flows down the river system. The water flow is regulated by environmental permits, which are in place to protect fish and fish habitats.

According to Nova Scotia Power, the river needs to run at full force in the spring to aid fish migration. It also needs to maintain high enough water levels in the summer for cottages along the lake, as well as for the end of the bass nesting season.

The river water levels fluctuate depending on these environmental conditions and the weather. Therefore, it’s hard to know when the river will have enough water and flow for tubing. Nova Scotia Power does, however, inform Chris Gertridge, operator of the Gaspereau River Tubing Facebook group.

“It goes on a weekly basis,” says Gertridge. “I usually find out every Monday when the river will be flowing at a level suited for tubing.”

Gertridge says Nova Scotia Power does its best to increase the water levels on the weekends so people can get out for a tube.

Once you’ve checked the Facebook page to make sure the river is up and running, you can get ready to go tubing!

If you are a newbie, it might help to go with a veteran on your first run. You will need two cars. Leave one at the beginning on Black River Road; leave the second at the bridge on Gaspereau River Road.

Most people rent tubes. These are available on the lawns of houses near the tubing entrance for approximately $5 each. Other tubers opt to bring their own.

Sandy McFadden, Kentville, brought inflatable boats from Canadian Tire on his last voyage a few weeks ago.

“We like that you can fit the kids in with you in the boats,” says McFadden, “but it is not the easiest to manoeuvre and the tubes you rent are a lot sturdier and hold up better.”

If you are using tubes for children, young ones can sit on their parents’ laps. Children need to be strong and big enough, usually around age 10, to manoeuvre their own tubes if travelling solo.

All children should wear life jackets. If you don’t have ones for children, you can borrow them from the Red Cross in Kentville, as McFadden did.

“The water isn't super deep,” says McFadden, “but even if children are good swimmers, the current is pretty strong in some places and it makes it hard to even stand up.”

Melanie McCulloch, of Port Williams, also suggests carrying a whistle and a pocketknife in case of emergency. You need to be prepared if a rope needs to be cut free.

Some tubers bring rope to tether tubes together, especially to tie the tubes of youth to those of adults. Just make sure the rope isn’t too long and doesn’t tangle in the rocks and branches, causing an accident.

There are some dangers on the river, and tubers need to go at their own risk. There are many rocks and the current is swift.

As Gertridge says, if you are not 100 per cent comfortable with all the variables on the river, don't go. It's not for everyone. But, if you do go, be prepared for anything!

McFadden can attest to this. On his last tubing trip, one boat had a hole rip in it, causing it to deflate quickly.

According to McFadden’s nine-year-old daughter, Ella, that was the best part of the trip!

“My favourite part was when one of the boats sank and someone else had to come and steer us down the river!”

“It was a mad dash to try and get out of my boat and help them get into other boats to continue on down the river,” says McFadden.

People were falling in, a hat was lost, but it was all part of the adventure.

There is still lots of time to get some tubing in this summer. By mid- to late-August, there should be enough water in Black River Lake that Nova Scotia Power’s permits will allow more water to flow and generate power again. So tubing should resume for what’s usually the hottest part of the summer!

Have fun, but be safe!

Laura Churchill Duke (www.valleyfamilyfun.ca) took her sons tubing when they were two years old. They were thrilled to see a cow standing in the river as they went by! They hope to go again this summer, now that they are old enough to have their own tube!

 

Weblink https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaspereau-River-Tubing/118901013897?fref=ts

Many people, especially those who have come from away, wonder how tubing works and if children can go as well. These are some tips from some tubing enthusiasts.

The first thing to note is the river is not always available for tubing.

The Gaspereau River is the final part of a vast and complicated hydro-electric system operated by Nova Scotia Power. Nova Scotia Power controls how much water flows down the river system. The water flow is regulated by environmental permits, which are in place to protect fish and fish habitats.

According to Nova Scotia Power, the river needs to run at full force in the spring to aid fish migration. It also needs to maintain high enough water levels in the summer for cottages along the lake, as well as for the end of the bass nesting season.

The river water levels fluctuate depending on these environmental conditions and the weather. Therefore, it’s hard to know when the river will have enough water and flow for tubing. Nova Scotia Power does, however, inform Chris Gertridge, operator of the Gaspereau River Tubing Facebook group.

“It goes on a weekly basis,” says Gertridge. “I usually find out every Monday when the river will be flowing at a level suited for tubing.”

Gertridge says Nova Scotia Power does its best to increase the water levels on the weekends so people can get out for a tube.

Once you’ve checked the Facebook page to make sure the river is up and running, you can get ready to go tubing!

If you are a newbie, it might help to go with a veteran on your first run. You will need two cars. Leave one at the beginning on Black River Road; leave the second at the bridge on Gaspereau River Road.

Most people rent tubes. These are available on the lawns of houses near the tubing entrance for approximately $5 each. Other tubers opt to bring their own.

Sandy McFadden, Kentville, brought inflatable boats from Canadian Tire on his last voyage a few weeks ago.

“We like that you can fit the kids in with you in the boats,” says McFadden, “but it is not the easiest to manoeuvre and the tubes you rent are a lot sturdier and hold up better.”

If you are using tubes for children, young ones can sit on their parents’ laps. Children need to be strong and big enough, usually around age 10, to manoeuvre their own tubes if travelling solo.

All children should wear life jackets. If you don’t have ones for children, you can borrow them from the Red Cross in Kentville, as McFadden did.

“The water isn't super deep,” says McFadden, “but even if children are good swimmers, the current is pretty strong in some places and it makes it hard to even stand up.”

Melanie McCulloch, of Port Williams, also suggests carrying a whistle and a pocketknife in case of emergency. You need to be prepared if a rope needs to be cut free.

Some tubers bring rope to tether tubes together, especially to tie the tubes of youth to those of adults. Just make sure the rope isn’t too long and doesn’t tangle in the rocks and branches, causing an accident.

There are some dangers on the river, and tubers need to go at their own risk. There are many rocks and the current is swift.

As Gertridge says, if you are not 100 per cent comfortable with all the variables on the river, don't go. It's not for everyone. But, if you do go, be prepared for anything!

McFadden can attest to this. On his last tubing trip, one boat had a hole rip in it, causing it to deflate quickly.

According to McFadden’s nine-year-old daughter, Ella, that was the best part of the trip!

“My favourite part was when one of the boats sank and someone else had to come and steer us down the river!”

“It was a mad dash to try and get out of my boat and help them get into other boats to continue on down the river,” says McFadden.

People were falling in, a hat was lost, but it was all part of the adventure.

There is still lots of time to get some tubing in this summer. By mid- to late-August, there should be enough water in Black River Lake that Nova Scotia Power’s permits will allow more water to flow and generate power again. So tubing should resume for what’s usually the hottest part of the summer!

Have fun, but be safe!

Laura Churchill Duke (www.valleyfamilyfun.ca) took her sons tubing when they were two years old. They were thrilled to see a cow standing in the river as they went by! They hope to go again this summer, now that they are old enough to have their own tube!

 

Weblink https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaspereau-River-Tubing/118901013897?fref=ts

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