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Argo
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06/24/2022 07:09AM  
Asking the same question that was asked regarding the "crowding" in the BWCAW in the Listening Point forum...

For those who've been to Quetico this year, what have you observed in terms of numbers of groups relative to previous experiences?
 
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06/24/2022 11:43AM  
On a six-day trip in late May, we saw three campsites on Quetico Lake with gear set up on them. We didn’t see the campers on those sites so they must have been on a day trip. The rest of our trip through Jean, down to Bentpine, and out through Kawnipi, we saw no occupied campsites.

We saw only two solo paddlers on our entire trip until we crossed paths with a tandem about 100 yards from the entry/exit point on our way out.

This met my expectations and past experiences of routinely seeing campers/paddlers in the park until getting a few portages in and then rarely seeing anyone.

I’m not sure how representative my experience is because it was early season and the high-water conditions may have scared some paddlers away.

My wife and I will be going on a July trip and I will be interested to see how many people we encounter. I suspect people will be more concentrated by the closed southern entry points and fresh burn in the heart of the park. Having seen the burn damage on Trail, Little Pine, and Snow (none of it on portages), I will be avoiding portaging through burn areas until maintenance crews have a chance to clear them. That means I probably won’t go back to that part of the park until next year.
tumblehome
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06/24/2022 06:05PM  
Argo,

I was in The week of June 4.

while Quetico was quiet and I had absolutely no issues finding a campsite anytime I wanted one, it was pretty busy. There were multiple groups on portages and I saw canoes every day except one. Does seeing a canoe once during the day make the place busy?

The groups I saw on portages was near the entry points.

The main issue with crowding (if you can call it that) is two things:

Southern entries are closed.
Quetico is open for the first time in two years.
Therefore, the northern entries are busier.

With that, there are still open permits for almost every entry for almost the entire summer. I’m going back!!
Tom
jdddl8
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06/24/2022 07:59PM  
I was in from the 25th of May until June 6th. There was hardly anybody in my travels until I got to Dore coming out. From there to Stanton Bay there were at least seven or eight groups heading in. Surprisingly I only saw one group leaving as I was going into Beaverhouse/Quetico (normally I would see three or four). I did see a group on Red Pine which did surprise me as I have never seen anyone there. So overall I would say it was still normal except for the last days.
AdamXChicago
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06/24/2022 08:57PM  
Spent 6/12 - 6/21 doing Nym to Russell loop. Far fewer canoes seen than in any previous trip there (dating back over 40 years). Saw no one else on Russell from the time we entered to the time we left (3.5 days). Aside from a couple of canoes on Batchewaung and Sturgeon on the way in and a youth group of four canoes on the way out, it seemed almost empty. That was a nice surprise. Maybe we just caught the right time to be in.

AdamX
Argo
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06/25/2022 07:22AM  
Sounds like it's just a normal year in Northern Quetico so far. Perhaps when school's out that may change.

But now that there are many more options for vacationing with Covid in the rear view mirror, we'll just see a return to the usual numbers in the northern entry points. I had expected some degree of a surge from some usual southern entry paddlers who'd make an exceptional diversion to a northern entry point this year.

I'm entering on July 21st through Lerome. It's probably the least traveled entry point with road access. Haven't been through there since the turn of the century.
06/25/2022 09:01AM  
In for a week at the end of May, Stanton>Dore>Twin>Sturgeon>Russell & back same way, though we poked into Rawn at the end. Probably saw about 10 groups on Pickerel over several days, two on Twin, two on Sturgeon and three on Russell. One group had three canoes, all others were one or two - saw one solo.
arnesr
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06/25/2022 09:07PM  
My son and I entered at Lerome/Sue Falls on 6/9 and base camped on Cirrus until 6/17. When we picked up our permit I asked the ranger how the visitor numbers had been. He said things were starting to pick up and they filled a couple of the entry points, Beaverhouse being one of them the last few days. Before we left home I checked the reservation website as there was a possibility we may have needed to postpone our trip by a day. The reservation calendar had available permits for almost every entry point for nearly every day....maybe 2 slots were not available for the week following. I know demand for permits has been declining since the 80's, so perhaps this is the new normal. Perhaps they see a lot more spur of the moment trips where people just show up and see what permit is available??
Anyway on our 9 day trip, we saw two groups enter on Saturday, one of those groups headed back out on the following Tuesday(Short trip or issue?), the other moved on and we never saw them again. Also on Saturday we saw one canoe travel presumably from another nearby lake(Soho or Kasak.) to visit the falls and then left they way they came. Other than that it seemed like we had the NE arm of Cirrus to ourselves. I kind of expected the Beaverhouse entry would be busier this year, so I think we made a wise choice with Sue Falls.
mgraber
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06/25/2022 10:43PM  
Did a 12 day Beaverhouse, over to Jean, down to Sturgeon and out at French lake trip a couple of weeks ago and saw 1 or 2 groups a day, except on Sturgeon, where we saw noone. It was only slightly busier than years past.
Argo
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06/26/2022 07:28AM  
Arnsr - That's why I chose Lerome too. I'm going to paddle Cirrus to Quetico then to Kasakakwog then east to Batch. That's how it looks now anyway. I think the busiest area will be the Quetico to Jessie corridor. As much as I love that area, I'll likely avoid it this year. I was there last year anyway.

Do you have comment on the site in the bay Sue Falls empties into? It's immediately SE if the portage - not the two at the pinch. I've heard conflicting reports from mediocre to great. We're aiming for it on day one.

Also did the high water help with the Lerome to Cirrus route that you could tell?
arnesr
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06/26/2022 08:15PM  
Argo, Here are a few pics of that campsite back in the East Bay of the Cove(BS). It is on a rock outcrop that extends out into the lake. It is a bit exposed but workable.




























We stayed at the campsite on the East side of the pinch of the cove(BD). We thought that site was superior in several ways. Better landing, 3 nice tent pads, granite counters, Cedars for shelter/tarp area. We had planned on moving down the lake to another site but we liked the site so much once settled in that we just did day trips from there.







This was our first time using this entry, so I'm not sure how it would be in low water. I would think the high water probably helped somewhat. We took the short portage out of Lark on the way in and we were able to line the rapids to Cirrus Creek. On the way out we took the longer portage to avoid lining upstream.
Argo
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06/27/2022 06:47AM  
arnesr: " Argo, Here are a few pics of that campsite back in the East Bay of the Cove(BS). It is on a rock outcrop that extends out into the lake. It is a bit exposed but workable.

































We stayed at the campsite on the East side of the pinch of the cove(BD). We thought that site was superior in several ways. Better landing, 3 nice tent pads, granite counters, Cedars for shelter/tarp area. We had planned on moving down the lake to another site but we liked the site so much once settled in that we just did day trips from there.









This was our first time using this entry, so I'm not sure how it would be in low water. I would think the high water probably helped somewhat. We took the short portage out of Lark on the way in and we were able to line the rapids to Cirrus Creek. On the way out we took the longer portage to avoid lining upstream. "


Thank you! Interesting. Someone on the campsite page mentioned having eight hammocks plus a tent set up there. It doesn't look like an ideal hammock site. Maybe there's more back in the woods. I guess I'll find out. Or I may head to BD. There's two of us and we'll be using hammocks.
Argo
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06/27/2022 09:56AM  
And rapids on Cirrus Creek. I don't recall that from my travels so long ago. I gather that was at the pinch where you enter the creek from Narrow Lake?

For ease of travel, would you recommend doing the longer portage on the way in as well? I think the water levels should drop somewhat over the next few weeks before we enter.
arnesr
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06/27/2022 09:00PM  
Yes, that is the location of the rapids flowing out of Narrow Lake. I would take the longer portage both ways, it is a fairly easy one anyway if a bit of a deep mud landing on the creek end. We were able to line down the rapids, but I would guess once the water level goes down it will be harder or impossible to do.
OutdoorEnthusiast79
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07/04/2022 09:07PM  
I just got off a trip in the park, and could not believe the amount of people I saw during the trip. Maybe the most ever on any trip I would think. I am sure this is just due to the fact the southern entry points have been closed. Hearing the RABC will be back up and running is great news. It would be nice to see some pressure taken off the northern entry points. I know it's good for tourism but would be nice to see less groups while out in the backcountry. Hope your trip goes well, Argo.
Argo
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07/04/2022 10:30PM  
OutdoorEnthusiast79: "I just got off a trip in the park, and could not believe the amount of people I saw during the trip. Maybe the most ever on any trip I would think. I am sure this is just due to the fact the southern entry points have been closed. Hearing the RABC will be back up and running is great news. It would be nice to see some pressure taken off the northern entry points. I know it's good for tourism but would be nice to see less groups while out in the backcountry. Hope your trip goes well, Argo. "
Thank you. What route did you take?
OutdoorEnthusiast79
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07/05/2022 02:16PM  
We did Nym, Batch, Maria, Hamburg, Oriana, Jesse, and back up to Batch. Initially planned on going from Jesse to Elizabeth, Halliday, Sturgeon, Dore, Pickerel, and then out to Nym via the Racers Portages but I got super sick on trip and had to alter the plan. I was just surprised to see people on Hamburg, and then north end of Oriana.
Argo
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07/05/2022 05:22PM  
OutdoorEnthusiast79: "We did Nym, Batch, Maria, Hamburg, Oriana, Jesse, and back up to Batch. Initially planned on going from Jesse to Elizabeth, Halliday, Sturgeon, Dore, Pickerel, and then out to Nym via the Racers Portages but I got super sick on trip and had to alter the plan. I was just surprised to see people on Hamburg, and then north end of Oriana. "

I think the busiest corridor would be between Beaverhouse and Nym. The route across Quetico Lake to Jesse. I passed through Jesse and Maria the last two years at the end of my trip and there were a few groups there even during Covid when I saw almost no one through Jean, Lonely, Sturgeon etc.
MichiganMan
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07/07/2022 10:47PM  
Came out from a 9 day trip on July 3. Did not think it was busy at all. Our route was French Lake to Dore Lake to Russell Lake to Oliphaunt Lake, back up the B Chain to Pickerel, and out at French. Saw a party or two each day, but not obnoxious numbers by any stretch. Only 4 and 5 star campsites are seeing any use.
Argo
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07/08/2022 06:21AM  
MichiganMan: " Came out from a 9 day trip on July 3. Did not think it was busy at all. Our route was French Lake to Dore Lake to Russell Lake to Oliphaunt Lake, back up the B Chain to Pickerel, and out at French. Saw a party or two each day, but not obnoxious numbers by any stretch. Only 4 and 5 star campsites are seeing any use."

How is the water temperature this year? Last two years in mid/late July it was easily in the high 70s.
wyopaddler
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07/08/2022 08:26AM  
Completed a 14 day trip on July 4th. Saw no parties south of Russell Lake for eleven days (Poet's Chain-Kawnipi-Murdoch-S Chain). Though we didn't check all of them, the camps on Russell, Upper Sturgeon, and Dore appeared to be empty. Most camps on Pickerel near the dam were inhabited. Saw one party on Russell-two in Upper Sturgeon-two in the Deux River- and two on the Portage between Dore and Twin Lakes- Felt pretty normal except for the lack of people camped on Russell which we attributed to the high water (current) in the river approach and we usually see a bunch of people camped in Upper Sturgeon and Dore but maybe our timing was just good there?
MichiganMan
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07/08/2022 10:10PM  
Argo: "MichiganMan: " Came out from a 9 day trip on July 3. Did not think it was busy at all. Our route was French Lake to Dore Lake to Russell Lake to Oliphaunt Lake, back up the B Chain to Pickerel, and out at French. Saw a party or two each day, but not obnoxious numbers by any stretch. Only 4 and 5 star campsites are seeing any use."


How is the water temperature this year? Last two years in mid/late July it was easily in the high 70s. "


The water temps were crazy. When we went in on June 24, water temps on Pickerel and Dore were 70-71 degrees. By the 30th, we were seeing temps of 58 degrees! A couple of cold rainy days coupled with cold nights really brought them down. It was a wonder the fish bit at all! As we came out on July 3rd, Pickerel Lake temps were getting back up there, to 66-67 degrees.
Argo
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08/04/2022 10:24AM  
Just wanted to resurrect this as I had started it to determine what to expect on my trip in late July and now want to report my experience.

My expectation was that the northern entry points would be busier than normal at that time as it was still too early for the RABC applicants to get organized and likely many of the folks who would otherwise paddle into the park from the south already made commitments to a northern journey and it was too late to change.

Having said that, I would classify this year as a less populated year than what I remember in more normal times. We entered Lerome and saw no-one for three days on Cirrus until we were camped opposite the portage to Quetico Lake. When we made it to Quetico, only two sites were occupied in the large neighbourhood adjacent to Beaverhouse. We eventually camped on a site in the high-traffic corridor through Quetico Lake. But we saw only a few groups pass by and none appeared to camp in the area.

We camped on one of the two big beach sites on Beaverhouse last Friday. The first site was taken with four canoes. As it was a long weekend, I fully expected to see canoes entering all day on Friday but we saw none. However, on Saturday the parking lot was fairly busy. Two groups were leaving - the group on the other Beaverhouse site and us, and about three cars were arriving during the time we waited for our pickup. The parking area was already pretty much full but I think the group of four canoes adjacent to us came in four cars as they were a family spread out across the US.

All in all it was quiet and we could camp wherever we wanted.

Water levels had clearly receded from earlier heights. Clearly higher than the last two years although those years were unusually low.
Luckee
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08/06/2022 05:42PM  
Coming in very late on this interesting thread, but my impressions after kayaking Beaverhouse > Quetico > Jean and then back the same way June 11-20 was: more people than I'd like, but hardly overwhelming.

I camped everywhere I wanted except one night on the way out, when I wanted to camp on Quetico close to the portage and that nice camp was taken by two tents. A big pike hit my trolled lure while I passed and they got to watch a fishing show :). Camps on the Beaverhouse side of the portage were taken and the place felt kind of busy, so I ended up paddling over to a really nice island camp for the last night.

I'm thinking that if I got myself a nice solo canoe instead of my Feathercraft kayak and therefore were more open to numerous portages, I'd be able to find more solitude in smaller lakes and ponds in other corners of the park -- or is that a mistaken idea?

With the kayak, I like that Quetico lake-based itinerary for the short and seldom portaging. This year I met a guy happily portaging into Jean with a Northstar Magic and one medium-sized backpack, and thought: OK, that looks a whoooole lot easier than what I'm doing with all these drybags and awkward-to-carry kayak (using a special sling, but still).

Next time around I definitely will look at either buying or renting such a rig. I grew up canoeing in Maine and begin to think it's time to go back to that for Quetico (though probably with a kayak paddle for solo trips).
Banksiana
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08/08/2022 11:17AM  
Took a two night trek (stayed on Emerald) via Prairie Portage last week. Jason said I was the only permit through PP that day. Did not see anyone once I left the border.
AdamXChicago
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08/08/2022 12:36PM  
Spent five nights (7/29 - 8/02) in western Quetico (Beaverhouse to Jean RT). Nabbed first-choice campsites along our entire route. Saw very few canoes on water, but parking lot was packed when we came out. Did not see anyone else on Jean. Pleasant surprise.

AdamX
08/09/2022 01:14PM  
Spent 6 nights on Cirrus and Quetico, entered 8/2. This time of year is much busier than ice-out and late fall, of course, but it seemed busier than my August trips in the past. Observations:

I checked the permit situation a couple days before entry and noticed that all permits were taken for Quetico Lake 8/1 & 8/2, and Cirrus 3 days leading up to 8/2 (one of the permits on 8/2 was ours).

Arrived at Beaverhouse ~11am on 8/2 and the parking area was more than packed. Not completely unusual for this time of year but a little surprising for a Tuesday. Met a vehicle headed out pulling a canoe trailer with 3 canoes as I approached the parking area, 1/2 dozen vehicles or more parked on the sides of the access road in the brush, and one vehicle parked in the load/unload area.

Had no problem finding campsites on Cirrus, observed two different parties in 3 days and two sites taken. Quetico was a different story. Saw many canoes and groups over 3 days with the obvious larger and more appealing campsites all taken. On the plus side, I discovered a "new" campsite that was obviously not used very much but nevertheless well appointed, away from other campsites and a joy to stay at for a few nights.

Looking forward to my October trip when there are less numbers present.

Argo
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08/09/2022 04:00PM  
Hoaf: "Spent 6 nights on Cirrus and Quetico, entered 8/2. This time of year is much busier than ice-out and late fall, of course, but it seemed busier than my August trips in the past. Observations:


I checked the permit situation a couple days before entry and noticed that all permits were taken for Quetico Lake 8/1 & 8/2, and Cirrus 3 days leading up to 8/2 (one of the permits on 8/2 was ours).


Arrived at Beaverhouse ~11am on 8/2 and the parking area was more than packed. Not completely unusual for this time of year but a little surprising for a Tuesday. Met a vehicle headed out pulling a canoe trailer with 3 canoes as I approached the parking area, 1/2 dozen vehicles or more parked on the sides of the access road in the brush, and one vehicle parked in the load/unload area.


Had no problem finding campsites on Cirrus, observed two different parties in 3 days and two sites taken. Quetico was a different story. Saw many canoes and groups over 3 days with the obvious larger and more appealing campsites all taken. On the plus side, I discovered a "new" campsite that was obviously not used very much but nevertheless well appointed, away from other campsites and a joy to stay at for a few nights.


Looking forward to my October trip when there are less numbers present.


"


This jives with what I was saying earlier.

That weekend is the August long weekend in Ontario. Always the first Monday in August. A lot more Canadians will be going to Quetico that week. Stanton Bay would likely feel it the most as it's much closer to Thunder Bay - the nearest significantly populated centre to Quetico. There were four incoming vehicles as we drove out of Beaverhouse on the morning of July 30. I didn't check the plates though.
 
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