Launching from the north end of Indian House Lake on Friday, September 1, 2006, the 12-member international crew includes world-renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman; Smithsonian Institution anthropologist Dr. Stephen Loring; expedition paddlers, conservationists and photojournalists Gary and Joanie McGuffin; and internationally respected wildlife painters from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

The crew will paddle the river at the height of the migration of the George River caribou herd – the largest woodland caribou herd in the world, completing the trip on or about September 15, 2006 at the top of Helen’s Falls.

The journey will be the basis for the Visions of the Boreal Forest Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History scheduled for 2008. A preview of the exhibit will open at the Wilding Art Museum in Los Olivos in California in 2007 and plans are underway for a tour that would include Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco and New York.

The 2006 George River journey is supported by the Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation, Mad River Canoe Company, Confluence Watersports, the Canadian Boreal Initiative, the Boreal Songbird Initiative and the Smithsonian Institution.

To protect their gear and negotiate the river the team is relying on Mad River Canoe Horizon 17s built specifically for the journey. “Knowing the kind of waters they are going to encounter and the gear they need to bring with them, we worked with the team to select the best boat and outfitting for the trip,” said Buff Grubb, brand manager of Mad River Canoe. “Things can change quickly on the river and so we have outfitted each of the canoes with our IQ Modular Gunwale system that provides great outfitting flexibility.”

The patented IQ Modular Gunwale system features channels on the inwale and outwale to attach accessories and seating systems. The system allows paddlers to outfit and trim their canoe in multiple configurations.

“The IQ system is a great outfitting platform – it allows us to quickly respond to changes in weather and river characteristics for optimal protection and paddling performance,” said Rob Mullen, project leader and trip artist. “Though Mad River has many great accessories for the IQ system, we felt we needed an accessory that essentially encloses the whole canoe, like a kayak spray skirt. We worked closely with the designers at Mad River and developed such an accessory specifically for our trip.”

For more information on the Great Boreal River Adventure visit /

Read more about the crew for this adventure below the jump.