BWCA Quetico never the same Boundary Waters Group Forum: Quetico Afficionados
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09/01/2021 11:17AM  
With 2021 fires in the middle and southern section the park won’t be as I knew it. The message jars on several lakes are likely gone. The big island 5 star on McIntyre likely burned away. I’ve stayed there 3 times in different decades. Burt Lake - was the island spared?? Delehey and Veron burnt to a crisp. Ted Lake? Crap, I doubt there’s a tree standing on any shore of that beautiful lake. Sorry to be a downer, it’s just tough.
 
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Eyedocron
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09/03/2021 09:27AM  
Things will recover, just time.
About 25 years ago, my son and I went up the Falls Chain. Canyon Falls portage was a layer of soot that raised with each footstep. Next year, like black mud with grass. Next year, small bushes. Next year, short trees.
Last went through there about 4 years ago and all that was lacking were big mature trees.
Yes, sad to hear about so many nice areas burned, but this is part of the natural cycle of the forest.
 
09/03/2021 01:37PM  
Went down the falls chain a few years ago and didn’t even realize that there had been a fire.
 
09/03/2021 04:19PM  
Bird Lake Fire.....1995
 
09/04/2021 12:52PM  
"
 
09/05/2021 09:39AM  
It will be interesting to get back into some of those lakes you mentioned, TomT, just to see how much of the forest and shoreline burned. Some unexpected areas might be spared. One never knows. It'll be a new adventure. The portages will be easier to spot!
 
joewildlife
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09/05/2021 08:30PM  
I did a couple trips to Woodland Caribou, and that park has an extensive fire history. I'm hearing that the fires this summer basically mean the entire park has burned at least once since 2016.

The biggest problem is that many campsites become unusable because of dead trees/widowmakers. Maybe in Quetico, the park crews will take care of that. Using hammocks becomes near impossible. Hanging packs is not an option.

Portages can become erased as all the dead trees fall over them. Maintaining portages after a fire is difficult because they brush in quickly with all the sunlight on them. Finding and following portages in WCPP is an adventure.

There is a rugged beauty to burned areas and the regeneration is awesome, and awesome wildlife habitat as well.

Those who go in the summer months will hate the lack of shade at the burned off campsites.

I noticed in burned areas of BWCA that the firefighting aircraft must have waterbombed many of the campsites and they survived. I'm thinking the Alpine/Seagull/Ogish area. I doubt they do that in Quetico.

Joe


 
10/26/2021 07:36AM  
There's a pretty good analysis and map posted on the burn areas in another thread under the regular Quetico forum if anyone hasn't seen it just yet. It provides a solid picture of lakes affected by the fires this summer and the degree (more or less) of the level of damage, i.e. which sides of a lake and its relevant campsites were affected by the fires.
 
02/22/2022 09:19PM  
I was going through some old trip files and found these shots from late May, 2004 of the gnarly portage from Hurn to Ted and my friends canoeing in front of the pictograph cliffs on Ted. We stayed on Elk, paddled through Ted and camped one night on Earl, then up to Brent and Suzanette, back down through McIntyre and Sarah to Kett and out. I'm afraid at 73 I will never get back to Ted but I'm looking forward to some photos and reports of the extent of the fire damage on these lakes.



 
02/22/2022 09:40PM  
Oh that brings back memories…Going to Argo to Ted was a rocky strewn mess.

T
 
02/22/2022 10:30PM  
TomT: "With 2021 fires in the middle and southern section the park won’t be as I knew it. The message jars on several lakes are likely gone. The big island 5 star on McIntyre likely burned away. I’ve stayed there 3 times in different decades. Burt Lake - was the island spared?? Delehey and Veron burnt to a crisp. Ted Lake? Crap, I doubt there’s a tree standing on any shore of that beautiful lake. Sorry to be a downer, it’s just tough. "


After looking at the map of the burn areas I was very encouraged. 2 of my favorite island sites seemed to have been spared. I'm talking McIntyre and Burt Lakes. Unfortunately it looks like Veron, Delahey and the Death March portage seem pretty unusable now. I also had Pierna on my bucket list for a bushwhack destination. That looks to be out of the question now. Even the islands there got cooked. Between Burt and Sark must have really been an impressive fire.
 
GraniteCliffs
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03/03/2022 02:09PM  
I have stayed on the McIntyre Island site many times. Love that spot. When the fire overviews were posted that was one of the first sites I checked out. Was glad to see it likely survived.
Hard to know if one will want to paddle through the burn areas since they are so large. I remember thirty years ago or so paddling down Kawnipi on a beastly hot and sunny day. The fire had gone through a few years before. No shade anywhere, no campsites anywhere. One long afternoon until we got to the falls chain. Only to find the Canadian Rangers dive team searching for a body at the foot of the falls. Not a good day in any way, shape or form.
 
cburton103
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04/19/2023 10:29AM  
joewildlife: “
….
I noticed in burned areas of BWCA that the firefighting aircraft must have waterbombed many of the campsites and they survived. I'm thinking the Alpine/Seagull/Ogish area. I doubt they do that in Quetico.
Joe

"


I noticed that last time I was in the number chain in the bwca a couple years ago and noticed that many campsites were spared and still had mature trees. I figured that probably wasn’t the case in Quetico as well. I’m worried that the nice camp on the eastern shore of Ted is toast.

Has anyone seen trip reports through the burned area yet? It would be an interesting read.

I only take one trip up to the Q each year, so it’s hard to want to spend much of that trip paddling and camping in a recently burned area. I’m sure it’s the same for many here, but I planned my trips last year and this year through areas not included in the recent large fire.
 
04/19/2023 10:58AM  
Looking at the post-burn sat images (poor resolution to be sure) Ted looks mostly but not entirely burned.

There's a chance the northern site is still uncrisped, and the second-most southern site could be OK too. Others likely in the burn.

But perhaps the images are deceiving...need boots on the ground to be sure.
 
04/26/2023 03:50PM  
A few areas will be similar to most of WCPP. Not the end of the world, just different. And if we’re left with making lemonade, at least there are smallies in Quetico.
 
04/28/2023 10:57AM  
For reference, there's a longish island on Quetico Lake about halfway up the leg towards Kasakokwog that was burned to a crisp in 2002. It had three sites on it. The canopy is currently about half the height of the neighbouring territory twenty years later.

Here is a pic from 2022:
 
cburton103
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04/28/2023 01:36PM  
Argo: "For reference, there's a longish island on Quetico Lake about halfway up the leg towards Kasakokwog that was burned to a crisp in 2002. It had three sites on it. The canopy is currently about half the height of the neighbouring territory twenty years later.


Here is a pic from 2022:
"


I'm curious - are any of the three campsites usable on it after twenty years of regrowth? No widowmakers, sufficient room to set up a tent and tarp, etc.
 
04/29/2023 08:46AM  
cburton103: "
Argo: "For reference, there's a longish island on Quetico Lake about halfway up the leg towards Kasakokwog that was burned to a crisp in 2002. It had three sites on it. The canopy is currently about half the height of the neighbouring territory twenty years later.



Here is a pic from 2022:
"



I'm curious - are any of the three campsites usable on it after twenty years of regrowth? No widowmakers, sufficient room to set up a tent and tarp, etc."


That's a good question. Unfortunately I didn't check them out as the main site is on the east end and we did a short turn back to our site back west. We were just out fishing. I'm gonna say that I doubt the sites have been reestablished but I may have an opportunity to check it out this summer. Although there are three sites listed on the island, only one was rated above one star
 
cburton103
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04/29/2023 03:11PM  
Gotcha. I never consider 1-2 star sites for more than lunch stops anyways. And with the relative abundance of campsites in Quetico compared to the number of paddlers, there’s probably not much need to re-establish sites in areas where many sites weren’t burned over.
 
04/29/2023 05:48PM  
cburton103: "Gotcha. I never consider 1-2 star sites for more than lunch stops anyways. And with the relative abundance of campsites in Quetico compared to the number of paddlers, there’s probably not much need to re-establish sites in areas where many sites weren’t burned over."


When I'm solo I try to look for 1 and 2 star sites. Usually the rating is for poor tent pads or only one good one. Being in a hammock is more versatile in that area. For me a good landing is most important.

There's some real jewels out there rated 2 stars if you are solo with a hammock. They don't usually have the beaten down look to them either. I really prefer sites with grass still in them.
 
04/29/2023 07:32PM  
TomT: "When I'm solo I try to look for 1 and 2 star sites. Usually the rating is for poor tent pads or only one good one. Being in a hammock is more versatile in that area. "


Same! Though I have also found some exceptions where it's a poor site for any number of paddlers above zero.
 
04/30/2023 09:22AM  
TomT: "
When I'm solo I try to look for 1 and 2 star sites. Usually the rating is for poor tent pads or only one good one. Being in a hammock is more versatile in that area. For me a good landing is most important.


There's some real jewels out there rated 2 stars if you are solo with a hammock. They don't usually have the beaten down look to them either. I really prefer sites with grass still in them."


Ditto. Though I'm not fussy about landings, more concerned about access to deep water for ease of swimming with a dive in entry. Actually prefer sites that grass has not grown on because they have so little use that grass has not yet invaded.
 
04/30/2023 04:34PM  
Banksiana: "
TomT: "
When I'm solo I try to look for 1 and 2 star sites. Usually the rating is for poor tent pads or only one good one. Being in a hammock is more versatile in that area. For me a good landing is most important.



There's some real jewels out there rated 2 stars if you are solo with a hammock. They don't usually have the beaten down look to them either. I really prefer sites with grass still in them."



Ditto. Though I'm not fussy about landings, more concerned about access to deep water for ease of swimming with a dive in entry. Actually prefer sites that grass has not grown on because they have so little use that grass has not yet invaded."


I didn't know grass was invasive. I guess what I don’t enjoy is no duff at the site. I remember one site on I think Bell Lake around the Man Chain, and it was all worn down dirt and gravel. The site seemed beat to death and I didn’t enjoy staying there.

One of the coolest underused sites was that southern site on Ted. The one on the peninsula across from the pictographs near the channel. Banksiana it was you who told me about that. Just a really cool small spot with lots of ground cover and beautiful high overlook of the lake. I have a feeling it got burned over in the recent fires.




 
05/01/2023 09:35AM  
Grass not invasive but a sign of disturbance or disruption. Poor word choice on my part.

I wonder what that site on Ted looks like post fire. One of my favorites.
 
cburton103
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05/10/2023 02:38PM  
Banksiana: "Grass not invasive but a sign of disturbance or disruption. Poor word choice on my part.

I wonder what that site on Ted looks like post fire. One of my favorites."


I've been patiently waiting to read a report of that area from last year, but I haven't come across any. I only take one trip per year up in Quetico from Texas, so I'm hesitant to want to spend more than a few hours paddling through a burn area. But the whole area from Cone, Elk, Hurn, Ted, Earl, etc is definitely one I'd like to return to soon if it wasn't too badly burned.
 
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