Of Guide Books & Other “Ings”

Upper Ottawa Valley Guide Book

Upper Ottawa Valley Guide Book

Hap has always applied himself to his environmentalism as an art; creating change and awareness in people’s minds by use of his stories, his honest attitude to his writings, his ability tocapture the spirit of the land – in both words and in illustrations – mapping the routes to make it easier for our needful souls to connect with the earth, to live more simply, and to celebrate Nature (and our place in it) by remembering our more ancient selves like Hap has…. Always his motivation being to protect Her.

Through his guide books, his stories and art, Hap has helped to paint the very canvas of what our waterways and lands have become today… where rivers and trails are still being utilized by people and their canoes – yet to be completely handed over to industry. By just getting out in a canoe and using these ancient and modern-day routes with respect, you are doing (a little bit of) your part. Because Hap knows, and so do you, that if we don’t use it, we are subject to losing it.


“The Rivers book came about as a response to the heavy traffic on the Dumoine after my first river guidebook came out in the late 1980’s (dedicated just to the Dumoine). To relieve the pressure off the Dumoine I mapped out the “sister” rivers (primarily the Black and the Coulonge), equally exciting rivers, in order to displace more user-traffic…and it worked nicely. It also offered the paddler more choice, and it was easier on the environment; as well, it generated an awareness for river protection in a province bent on damming all rivers for hydro-power. All my books had and still have a huge environmental “push” in a political climate where it has become a User-based system of management…and I use the word management very loosely. Basically…it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, hopefully where adventure tourism edges out industrial motives. Path of the Paddle is straddled in complex bureaucratic red tape that I’m wading through, hopefully making some gains in changing an outdated government system that has always bolstered a consumptive use of the wilderness.” ~ Hap Wilson (2013)

If you have yet to pick up a guide book by Hap, you will not quite understand the depth he takes to connect the reader to the land and the trail. An honest review, blogged at A Whole Bunch Of Ings, captures just how advantageous having a guide book by Hap can be (in this case, The Rivers Of The Upper Ottawa Valley).

“I picked up a book today which was unreal. I have rediscovered our local library over the past couple weeks, and stumbled on Rivers of the upper Ottawa valley (myths,magic and adventure.) … The title says it all basically. This is a comprehensive,detailed,cornucopia of awesomeness. Everything from maps of what Algonquin tribe lived where (and a bit about each) to legends,to safety, oh and it’s a guide book as well! … It’s the kind of book which get’s you excited about a area, and honestly has given me so much information about things I never knew existed in my own backyard.” ~ A Whole Bunch Of Ings

Read the full review here: Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley or contact Hap Wilson – EcoTrailbuilders. See you on the water!

Indian Pipe Hunters – Shortlisted at RPFF

Indian Pipe Hunters Film :: RPFF Shortlist 2013

Indian Pipe Hunters

The best way to launch a new blog is with good news.

This past season, Hap and his “lovely Canadian Sherpa wife” Andrea guided three photographers into the wilds of Temagami in search of the rare and beautiful Indian Pipe (a delicate flowering plant). A film of their adventure was made and titled as Indian Pipe Hunters.

Hap and film producer/photographer Graham Uden, have just now received word that their film has made the Reel Paddling Film Festival (RPFF) shortlist and is now being screened with the Reel Paddling Film Festival 2013 Tour at locations across the country and around the world!

Congratulations to all involved in making this important environmental awareness film in protection of Temagami and our wild world.

The film dedication reads as follows:

“In this day of 4WDs with canoe racks and snowmobiles with foot warmers and GPS, the wildnerness has little affinity to most. Those who are still comfortable in it are a dying breed. Those who are willing to defend and protect it are few and irreplaceable….. This video is dedicated to those few…”

Watch the video below or visit the Reel Paddling Film Festival website for a screening location near you :: www.reelpaddlingfilmfestival.com.

Video description: Three city based photographers, Graham Uden, Keith Nash and Aani Andriani enlist the help of Canada’s legendary wilderness guide and canoeist, Hap Wilson, and follow in the footsteps of “Grey Owl” to locate and photograph the rare and esoteric “Indian Pipe”