GASPEREAU – The river is up until next June.
Those familiar with tubing on the Gaspereau River jump for joy – or leap for their tubes – whenever the words ‘the river is up’ are overhead or read from online forums like Chris Gertridge’s Gaspereau River Tubing Facebook page, which has been liked more than 20,000 times since its start nine years ago.
What some may not realize is that this news is, in fact, normal – the river remains indefinitely up each year until June or July, when river fishing is over and tubing season begins, according to Gertridge.
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“This happens every year, but it is significantly earlier than normal this year,” he says, noting while most stick to tubing in the summer months, he and others have endured colder temperatures and withstood frigid waters.
“There’s no end to the season! I’ve seen people tube on Christmas, New Years Day – people ask me when the season ends, and it’s like, ‘when it’s too cold for you.’”
News has traveled fast that the river will be up for the rest of the tubing season, which Gertridge says is until September for most tubers.
He says it’s left many wondering whether meant the river was up for good, and not realizing this is a regular event that happens each year and is dependent on water levels in the river’s feeder lakes.
“Nova Scotia Power decides when to let the river run based on how much water there is, and other factors,” he said, describing the complex water system used as one big hydro-electric power source by Nova Scotia Power.
The system is made up of several lakes that feed each other, and in turn the river. Aylesford Lake runs into Gaspereau Lake, which then feeds the Gaspereau River.
According to the power company’s website, flow reduction is triggered by environmental permit requirements that take factors like its fish populations of smelt, gaspereau, salmon, and bass into consideration.
“By late August, we often have enough water in Black River Lake that our permits will allow us to start flowing more water and generating power again. So tubing is usually able to resume for what’s often the hottest part of the summer,” says the power company on its website.
Gertridge says he expects to continue seeing tubers over the next few weeks, especially with the influx of students starting a new year at Acadia University. Having grown up along the banks of the river, he’s enjoyed seeing the beloved pastime grow in popularity, and says it’s something that harkens back to a simpler time.
“I like to promote tubing for what it was created for – good, wholesome fun that doesn’t involve a cellphone or something digital,” he said.
And to those who are thinking of braving a little cold water, Gertridge says to hop right in.
“There’s nothing stopping you from grabbing your tube and jumping in and going down,” he says.