I'm wondering if anyone can share their post-fire experiences in the WCCP region?
I live in the Western US and have found great pleasure exploring recently burned landscapes. However, I can't get up to the region all that often, and am planning a trip with two first timers, so I want to do all I can to ensure the best chances at an enjoyable trip.
In any case, I'm considering a Bloodvein or Berrens River trip next year (spring or late summer, likely the latter). I understand there are some significant sections that burned at high intensity. Any thoughts on whether the portages will be passable, if some campsites might be more dangerous, or the scenery and wildlife degraded (or too sensitive) in the short term?
If you've got thoughts or experience, I'd welcome it! Should we hold off a year or two or five? Should we get there at our first chance?
Been to WCPP in 2018 and 2019, and the routes went through areas burned during several different years prior. I think the year directly after a burn is probably better than 3-4 years after. A few years after the fire, all the trees killed by the fire are falling down, making most campsites unsafe. Also, the trees on portages are all falling down all over the portages. Finding and following portages the year after a burn can be tough, several years after the burn even harder, as the blazed trees are all down. I don't know when my next trip will be to WCPP. I went to Wabakimi next month and loved it. Joe
...been to the WCCP since 1989...first trip was actually from Red Lake, paddled to Douglas Lake and followed the chain of lakes to Carroll, then the Gammon River to the Bloodvein/Lake Winniped...we have experienced new burns frequently...and regrowth of the area. At the moment, contact the park office and/or Albert/Goldseekers Canoe Outfitters/knowledgeable about the fires and the route. This September we paddled from Barclay Lake upstream on the Bloodvein to Lund...found areas intensely burnt and others where the fire skipped the forests...the portages were marked and recently cleared by someone...camps are available and some are dubious because of burnt trees...but, before the last fire event, the dead/dying jack pine were also shakey at night...a good saw/maybe two would be addition to clear some windfalls along the trails...and the smaller rivers/creeks that are in the park...I would assume traveling the Bloodvein or the Berens there is more traffic with the people of the communities hunting/etc..so the routes get cleared...the fire landscape is unique/the exposed rock in some areas would remind one of being above the tree line in the mountains...on our recent trip we saw two bears working the shoreline, caribou droppings, moose tracks and droppings...where the soil was not scorched the regrowth of jack pines, alders, grasses will be around by next summer...Our first trip in 1989 saw intensive burns around the Hanson Lake area...regrowth today shows little obvious signs...in 1990, the west half of Aegean Lake was burnt...today, good forest...might be good to contact Canoe Manitoba and Martin Kehoe/who has spent a lot of time paddling in the WCCP and then into Manitoba...note: if water levels are up...the portion of the Gammon River below Atkins Lake(sp) is a good whitewater stream as one paddles towards the Bloodvein from the WCCP...feel free to email for some more information...it is great country!!! photos are typical of burns/fires in recent years/all possibe if you go slow/don't get frustrated,note: the flowers should be really great next year/regrowth is colorful.../
Those photos certainly aren't a deterrent! I'm going with at least two first timers, and want to give them the best experience possible. I look forward to any more perspectives...and I'm in touch with Albert, it'll be interesting to find out just how much of the landscape burned at high intensity. A little variety is just fine!
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