About Us

The Great Outdoors is Full of Magic. Our Mission is to Help You Feel It.

Dear friends,

Your overwhelming response to our programs has moved WT from a regional summer seasonal adventure resort to a four-season adventure vacation destination. We have come a long way from our early beginnings in Algonquin Park. A walk through our parking lot last summer revealed license plates from all over Canada and the US. Continuing the walk along the deck, one would hear accents from Britain, Europe, US eastern seaboard and the mid-west. While the majority of our guests are still from the “Golden Horseshoe” of Lake Ontario and Ottawa, it is nice to know WT has arrived on the world’’s adventure destination stage. Our mission since 1975 has been to provide you the finest rafting experiences east of the Rocky Mountains. You have been telling us we have succeeded and more. After operating for over 40 years, we must recommit ourselves to providing you the finest  adventure experience anywhere. Daunting, but we are up to the task. Now as in 1975, we look forward to sharing the magic found in whitewater on Canada’s Ottawa River.

See you on the river.

Joe Kowalski
Wilderness Tours

Wilderness Tours Guide Staff 1976
Wilderness Tours Guide Staff 1976
Pierre Elliot Trudeau Rafting With Owner of Wilderness Tours Joe Kowalski

Land Trust


The second I pushed off shore, I knew the Ottawa River was special. In 1975, with hundreds of islands, secluded beaches and coves to explore, I pioneered this river-riddled with thundering waterfalls, untouched shoreline, and of course, classic whitewater. From the top of McCoy Chute to the bottom of Rocher-Fendu Lake, the Ottawa was still pristine-still the way French geographer Samuel de Champlain viewed it over three centuries before. I knew, instantly, it should be kept this way. Being first on the river enabled Wilderness Tours to establish a resort in the most ecologically appropriate location. True to my belief of no development in the river corridor.


When it came time to put down personal roots, it was-once again-away from the river’s edge. And since that morning in 1975, every spare dollar has been placed into the WT Land Trust-protecting shoreline and habitat from development. In short, WT pioneered the environmental movement on the Ottawa River decades ago.


Although we’ve been largely successful, our mandate to protect the entire river is ongoing. We need help to protect the remaining river. To contribute, please give me a call at 613-703-6110 x230

To date, Wilderness Tours has saved over 5,000 acres of waterfront, ensuring our children’s children will experience Champlain’s river the way he did-in awe of nature’s artistry. Your support of Wilderness Tours helps protect this unique and fabulous waterway. If it’s your first time down the mighty Ottawa, enjoy. If you’re coming back for more, you’ll be happy to know things haven’t changed a bit.

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