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      RIP Quetico Ranger Janice Matichuk     
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08/06/2020 07:43AM
Janice Matichuk passed away Tuesday night at age 66 after her battle with brain cancer. She will certainly be missed at the Cache Bay Ranger Station by paddlers. Thoughts and prayers to her family.

She was the longest serving Quetico Ranger in its history, 35 years.
 
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08/06/2020 08:24AM
RIP Janice!

Sometime around 2009 my group and I were coming out at the end of our trip. We hit Big Sag on a day that was stormy in a way I have never seen in the BW; 4-foot waves coming out of Cache Bay and on the large part of Sag, 5-footers around the Rocky Point area.

We were coming from Swamp lake and we were headed for one of the sites on American Point, paddling about 5-feet from shore to get a bit of cover from the wind as it rises to go over the trees. In hindsight we should not have been on the lake. We really really really should not have been on the lake.

About half way from the narrows to the point a canoe in front of us dumped. We paddled hard to get to them to help. But the waves were so large that it took about an hour to go from the small island on the MN side just out of Cache Bay to the small beach area on American Point where they dumped. By the time we got there all of their party had made it to shore. We paddled in and cooked up coffee for them and helped them gather their gear.

It was at that point that Janice rocked out in her motor boat. Able seaman is not a just phrase for how well she navigated in those waves. Janice rocked that boat as if she was trolling along on a summer day. And boy howdy did she rip into all of us. She was mad so many people were being so stupid. And she was right to be angry.

Janice made sure that everyone was safe then kicked all of us off the water. Calling tow boats at various outfitters to come and pick us all up; after forcing us to paddle around to the tow boat point so no motorboats would be in the canoe only areas. She motored along side to make sure no one dumped again.

I hope the Cache Bay station has someone as dedicated, as loyal, and as damn skilled at boating as Janice. As a Coast Guard vet I can give no higher praise than my astonishment at her boating skills. She will be missed.
 
missmolly
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08/06/2020 10:27AM
What a wonderful eulogy. I tip my hat to her and to your graciousness, for you're praising the person who chewed you.
 
CityFisher74
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08/06/2020 03:52PM
RIP
 
mooseplums
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08/06/2020 04:31PM
So sad.
She certainly will be missed.
 
Savage Voyageur
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08/06/2020 04:36PM
Wow that was quick. She was a remarkable lady. Over the years I’ve heard many stories about her. She will be missed by all. Condolences to her family and friends.
 
jillpine
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08/06/2020 10:52PM
Add another reason 2020 can just go away now.
What a leader, way too young.
 
Pinetree
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08/06/2020 11:09PM
Another Wilderness lover who gave all for the wilderness and the people she assisted over the years. She was a legend many will not forget.

I hope her family knows how many people in the canoe world appreciated her and all she did. Thank you Janice.
 
Pinetree
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08/06/2020 11:11PM
 
Mocha
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08/07/2020 06:31AM
Thank you for that article. I was looking for page two! So much more about Janicethat can be written. I sure hope the park officials give her a grand send off. Her contributions are immeasurable. I’m sure ranger at other entry points are good at their jobs. I’ve been thru all but lac le croix and nym. The ranger at French lake/ Dawson trail had so many great things to say about Janice and her knowledge.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Janice since hearing of her illness. So many memories of her “days off” which happened once or twice a month. She would come down sag and want to head to town. As much as she embraced the isolation of the island she relished her time in town. She loved talking to all people, music and dancing, oh she loved to dance. She was also quite the artist, too, creating paintings she then made into greeting cards, and jewelry.

Sometimes I think people should have come a day early when checking in for their permit thru cache bay. She gave all the info, and more, that could be absorbed. Some thought her overly cautious about wind and storms, but she risked her life more than once to save the hides of the invincible Americans who thought they knew better than Mother Nature.

Such a force of nature she was. I will miss you my good friend, Janice.
 
08/07/2020 07:39AM
In her closing words from the WTIP Boundary Waters podcast in July, "Be good people, wherever you are."

WTIP BW Podcast July Episode
 
08/07/2020 07:59AM
I wish I had the stats to say for sure...but Janice saved many lives over her career. Before she took over at Cache Bay, the “Falls area” was claiming 1-2 lives per year. She made sure the park created a detailed map of the area and personally talked you through each portage, how to approach each rapids/falls safely. During her time as a ranger only a few died, maybe 1 every 10 years if even that...Like I said I don’t have the exact stats but it was a significant contribution.

You could tell that her job was a labor of love and she genuinely cared about Quetico. She gave me advice on bringing my kids...I wish they could of met her and I could tell her she helped us have the strength and desire to introduce them at a young age.

T
 
bwcadan
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08/07/2020 09:26AM

Always ready to learn as well. As a mostly unskilled/unlucky fisherman, one year we stumbled onto a really good fishing hole and was telling/bragging about our success. Janice was pleased we would tell her the location and indicated she would tell some others about the location on Sag....... Lake. I hope she did and that many a good fishing moment has been made there. Some things in life are never fully known, but the chance this did assist in other's memories has been a pleasant thought for me over the several years since.
 
Pinetree
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08/07/2020 10:33AM
Mocha: "Thank you for that article. I was looking for page two! So much more about Janicethat can be written. I sure hope the park officials give her a grand send off. Her contributions are immeasurable. I’m sure ranger at other entry points are good at their jobs. I’ve been thru all but lac le croix and nym. The ranger at French lake/ Dawson trail had so many great things to say about Janice and her knowledge.


I’ve been thinking a lot about Janice since hearing of her illness. So many memories of her “days off” which happened once or twice a month. She would come down sag and want to head to town. As much as she embraced the isolation of the island she relished her time in town. She loved talking to all people, music and dancing, oh she loved to dance. She was also quite the artist, too, creating paintings she then made into greeting cards, and jewelry.


Sometimes I think people should have come a day early when checking in for their permit thru cache bay. She gave all the info, and more, that could be absorbed. Some thought her overly cautious about wind and storms, but she risked her life more than once to save the hides of the invincible Americans who thought they knew better than Mother Nature.


Such a force of nature she was. I will miss you my good friend, Janice."




Full article-Janice 2013

Page down a little for Janice's article
 
MichiganMan
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08/07/2020 11:01AM
 
missmolly
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08/07/2020 11:25AM
MichiganMan: " "

Man, that woman sure looks like the salt of the Earth in the photo. I wish I'd known her. I woulda been a fan.
 
hexnymph
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08/07/2020 03:04PM
aruthenb: "In her closing words from the WTIP Boundary Waters podcast in July, "Be good people, wherever you are."


WTIP BW Podcast July Episode "


That was nice to hear her speak again. Thanks for sharing this.

Hex
 
MichiganMan
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08/08/2020 11:14AM
missmolly: "MichiganMan: " "


Man, that woman sure looks like the salt of the Earth in the photo. I wish I'd known her. I woulda been a fan. "


She liked us because we always had kids with us. She loved seeing the kids. Cache Bay ranger station will never be the same again.
 
scat
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08/08/2020 11:22AM
Wow - that’s heartbreaking. I’m sure she will be missed.
 
straighthairedcurly
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08/09/2020 11:56AM
I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but my teenage son remembers her from his camp trip into Quetico last year. All the campers thought she was great. Such a loss.
 
bobbernumber3
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08/10/2020 03:46PM
Here is Janice with bobber#2 in 2006.

Thank you Janice!
 
bellolake
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08/10/2020 06:41PM
She was an amazing lady to talk to. At times you had to wait quite a while to check in with her because she took the time with each group to talk about fishing, re-mark portages that were incorrect on the maps, and just generally share her knowledge and passion for the wilderness. She will be missed.
 
Mocha
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08/10/2020 10:19PM
bobbernumber3: "Here is Janice with bobber#2 in 2006.


Thank you Janice! "


Awesome photo. Janice did not really like the upgrade in technology but was forced to have a computer and all that went along with it. Once that was installed you couldn’t even see the desk.
 
08/10/2020 11:02PM
I just finished reading the story about her in the Spring 2020 BWJ. I'm sure it was all too common for her to perform these heroic rescues with nerves of steel. She will be missed for sure. RIP Janice.
 
08/11/2020 10:34AM
missmolly: "MichiganMan: " "


Man, that woman sure looks like the salt of the Earth in the photo. I wish I'd known her. I woulda been a fan. "


She was plain-spoken and kind, miss molly. Qualities that we probably all under-appreciate. You would have loved talking to her especially her one time going over a falls along the Falls Chain. Truly harrowing (and heroic) stuff.
 
dkraker
 
08/11/2020 11:47AM
RT,
I'm a reporter with Minnesota Public Radio News, based in Duluth.
I'm trying to put together a story honoring and celebrating the life of Janice Matichuk, and the impact she had on so many paddlers traveling through Cache Bay for more than 3 decades.
This is an amazing story you detail here...would you be willing to do an interview with me for the story I'm putting together, to share the details of this rescue, plus other memories of Janice?
Let me know as soon as you can. You can reach me at dkraker@mpr.org, or my cell is 218-343-3178.
And if others see this who also have stories to share of Janice, please reach out to me!
Thanks,
Dan
 
dkraker
 
08/11/2020 11:50AM
Hi "Mocha,"
My name is Dan Kraker, I'm a reporter with Minnesota Public Radio News, based in Duluth.
I'm putting together a story celebrating the incredible life of Janice Matichuk.
I'm reaching out to see if you'd be willing to do an interview with me for the story, to share memories of your friend? Or, if you have suggestions for other friends and family who may be willing to speak to me, that would be incredibly helpful.
You can reach me at dkraker@mpr.org, or my cell is 218-343-3178. And if others see this who have stories to share of Janice, I'd love to hear them!
thanks,
Dan
 
missmolly
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08/11/2020 11:51AM
HighnDry: "missmolly: "MichiganMan: " "



Man, that woman sure looks like the salt of the Earth in the photo. I wish I'd known her. I woulda been a fan. "



She was plain-spoken and kind, miss molly. Qualities that we probably all under-appreciate. You would have loved talking to her especially her one time going over a falls along the Falls Chain. Truly harrowing (and heroic) stuff."


Plain spoken and kind are two of the best qualities. I should have interviewed her!
 
missmolly
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08/11/2020 12:13PM
I encourage all with Janice stories to contact Dan. What a great way to honor her Quetico life!
 
Pinetree
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08/11/2020 01:55PM
Wouldn't it be nice if they renamed the island in her name that the ranger station she was on in Cache Bay.
 
Jackfish
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08/11/2020 02:05PM
Pinetree: "Wouldn't it be nice I they renamed the island in her name that the ranger station she was on in Cache Bay."
Nice idea worthy of discussion within the Ontario & Quetico meeting room.
 
08/11/2020 02:15PM
We've only entered Quetico through Cache Bay once; in 1998 my wife, daughter, and I went through there with a Falls Chain permit. It was one of my wife's early trips, and our daughter's (then 10 years old) first BWCA/Q trip. My wife expressed some concerns to Janice about traveling the Falls Chain, and Janice asked us to let her check something. Minutes later she said there was a Mack Lake permit opening, and she showed us a change we could make in our proposed trip. We hit Mack Lake, Mack Creek, Wawiag River, and rejoined our original trip plan in Kawnipi via Kawa Bay. It was a wonderful trip in a section of the Park that I need to visit again, and all because Janice went out of her way to make a nervous visitor comfortable.

TZ
 
Pinetree
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08/14/2020 09:38AM
MPR
 
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