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11/23/2017 06:46AM  
Last year when I was base camping on Clearwater I noticed something on my topo map that doesn't seem to show up on the Fisher map I had, and it also doesn't seem to appear on the map section here either. It looks like there's supposed to be a building or structure of some sort on the south side of clearwater near what appears to be a trail or portage going from Clearwater to Caribou:







Anyone have any idea what this is supposed to be? I scoured that area pretty well all the way up to the little lake but couldn't find any sign of a structure or any trails (other than bear trails). It's a beautiful little spot with a stream running down through some mature cedar into Clearwater.

If there was a portage there (as there is marked on the map) it would be a long, hellish one nowadays (if it can even be found).
 
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Savage Voyageur
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11/23/2017 07:09AM  
Your USGS Topo map was 1) probably an older map before the BWCA was designated when the building was there. 2) your map is newer and they forgot to remove the tiny square. They probably burned the cabin removed the foundation and fireplace and let the portage trail go back to nature. All of the other maps like fisher or voyageur, were drawn off of a USGS maps. These areas don’t change much up there, any updates are in purple color. I have also seen old trails on some of my maps I have that are no longer there. Side note I bought dozens of the Topo maps way back in 1980s. I still love those maps.
 
11/23/2017 07:48AM  
quote Savage Voyageur: "Your USGS Topo map was 1) probably an older map before the BWCA was designated when the building was there. 2) your map is newer and they forgot to remove the tiny square. They probably burned the cabin removed the foundation and fireplace and let the portage trail go back to nature. All of the other maps like fisher or voyageur, were drawn off of a USGS maps. These areas don’t change much up there, any updates are in purple color. I have also seen old trails on some of my maps I have that are no longer there. Side note I bought dozens of the Topo maps way back in 1980s. I still love those maps. "

This is pretty much what I assumed. Perhaps someone might have an idea of what used to be there? I'm quite curious now having been there. I had thought that I would at least find a foundation or remnants of a foundation (a pile of rocks or something) or even some old junk, but I couldn't really find anything. Thought about going back out there with a metal detector someday since I get up there somewhat often.
 
Savage Voyageur
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11/23/2017 08:55AM  
quote keth0601: "quote Savage Voyageur: Thought about going back out there with a metal detector someday since I get up there somewhat often. "

Metal detectors are not allowed in the BWCA area.
 
11/23/2017 09:04AM  
quote Savage Voyageur: "quote keth0601: " Thought about going back out there with a metal detector someday since I get up there somewhat often. "

Metal detectors are not allowed in the BWCA area. "


Bummer. :(
 
11/23/2017 12:25PM  
quote keth0601: "quote Savage Voyageur: "quote keth0601: " Thought about going back out there with a metal detector someday since I get up there somewhat often. "


Metal detectors are not allowed in the BWCA area. "



Bummer. :("





Wonder why, what if your looking for metal fish? Haha. Must be trying to keep all the trash dumped when making this a prestine wilderness from being found. Haha.
 
dew042
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11/23/2017 05:04PM  
I see signs of the trail from 1934. the leg by the swamp lake and the south section. Logging road I'd wager, the area is filled with them.

http://maps.dnr.state.mn.us/landview/historical_airphotos/usda/cit/y1934/cit02100.jpg
 
11/23/2017 07:13PM  
quote dew042: "I see signs of the trail from 1934. the leg by the swamp lake and the south section. Logging road I'd wager, the area is filled with them.


http://maps.dnr.state.mn.us/landview/historical_airphotos/usda/cit/y1934/cit02100.jpg "


That's really awesome. Thanks for sharing. I want to go back and look over the west end of that swamp lake again now seeing so obviously where the trail/road was... Seems like a good place to start...
 
pswith5
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11/23/2017 08:28PM  
I think I remember seeing some old iron artifacts on the eastern portage out of Clearwater into caribou. Things I couldn't identify but I assume had some connection to mining.
 
neko870
 
01/05/2021 03:41PM  
An old neighbor of mine had a log cabin there from about 1943 to 1964. He would access it by boat from the west end of the lake. He got the land in 1942 when the Alger Smith Logging Company abandoned operations in the area. You can see the Company's railhead and camp near the west end of Caribou Lake in the 1934 satellite photo. They left everything from old saws to half-full Prince Albert tobacco tins when they abandoned the place. The Clearwater-Deer portage follows the old rail right-of-way for a while. My neighbor was bought out by the federal government and moved his cabin to a new site about a mile from the western end of Clearwater in winter 1964, piece by piece on sleds over the ice. He passed away in the 1970s. He had maintained that old logging trail, and it fell out of use after he died. The trail was hard to follow by the 80s, and the 1999 storm hit the area pretty hard, probably erasing the trail entirely. He did build a nice retaining wall behind his place down there on the narrows; a good job--it's still standing.
 
Minnesotian
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01/05/2021 10:20PM  

Neko,
Thanks much for that lore. My buddy and I winter camped at the Caribou spot of the old Alger Smith logging camp one February. There was a lot of snow on the ground and the trees were real thick, so not much of anything of a camp could be seen.
 
schweady
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01/06/2021 10:01AM  
""
Interesting find. Will be a spot to stop on a future visit.

 
schweady
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01/06/2021 10:05AM  




Some persistent unclosed quotes here...
 
Abbey
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01/07/2021 10:31PM  
I don’t have info on that structure, but I found some foundations near the Caribou side of the eastern Clearwater-Caribou portage in 2020. About 20 to 30 yards up the portage and in the west side of the trail. Looked like a bit of a clearing, but as I looked longer, the outline of the foundation emerged. Wasn’t looking for anything, but it was a hot day, so I laid up short of the lake in the shade to wait for the rest of our group.

I searched the BWCA message boards to find out about the foundations since most easy-to-find remnants are identified somewhere on this website. Didn’t find any info though. Probably a similar situation of an old cabin.
 
01/08/2021 09:41AM  

 
01/08/2021 09:42AM  
Savage Voyageur: "quote keth0601: "quote Savage Voyageur: Thought about going back out there with a metal detector someday since I get up there somewhat often. "


Metal detectors are not allowed in the BWCA area. "


Trying to close these quotes out but it doesn't seem to be working...
 
deepdave
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01/17/2021 11:04PM  
They probably don't allow metal detectors for a couple reasons. The first would be that they don't want people to do any actual prospecting and digging up the land. On one trip we actually saw some old mine entrances on the shore that were almost completely submerged due to higher water. So there must have been something worth mining in the area. I actually picked up a couple likely looking rocks at our campsite 20 years ago. Don't know what I ever did with them. The second reason would be metal detecting on old portage routes, especially around and in waterfalls or rapids where coins and guns might be likely to be found. They don't want people digging that up either.
 
schweady
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01/18/2021 12:04PM  
""
Stubborn quote bugger...
 
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