BWCA Burn Report - Roland, Wicksteed, Ted, etc. Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Quetico Forum
      Burn Report - Roland, Wicksteed, Ted, etc.     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

Pat Reddy
Guest Paddler
  
08/16/2023 10:59AM  
Sorry if I am asking a question that has been posted already, but this great site uses an absolutely abysmal search feature. I tried searching for my answer at it brought up posts from 2012. REALLY need a way to search by more than keyword -dates would be nice. Anyway...

We are headed to Quetico next June from Missouri and don't want to drive to Canada to enter the park. Our outfitter of choice is Andersons at Crane lake. Our desired route:
A loop starting and ending at Bottle.
Bottle up through Roland chain - stay 1 night on upper Roland.
Then...Roland to Brent, then Earl, Ted, Elk, Argo, Iron, & Bottle
Also entertaining:
Brewer to Wicksteed (via the goat)
Basecamp on Wicksteed with day trips to Darky, Little Darky, Argo, & Ballard.

We are a group of 4 hammock campers in pursuit of 1) solitude and 2) Big Bass (Cn'R only).

According to P@ddle Planner's burn map and any others I can find, the entire area is gone. But really...how bad it it? We actually like the idea of paddling the burn area as the fishing pressure and crowds should be minimal, but we don't want to risk hanging from dead trees and getting clubbed to death by the dreaded 'widowmaker' (a.k.a. a Dead tree branch falling on you in your sleep).

Can anyone shed some light on these routes and whether of not the entire area is indeed toast? Any pictures of the burn on these lakes? We love the beauty and serenity of Wicksteed lake - the long paddle across Brent - the cool deep waters of Argo, Cone, and most of all Ted. But, if it really is a barren wasteland we might need to make other arrangements. We saw firsthand in 2022 the carnage in and around Snow and Trail further North. The maps seemed to be pretty accurate with regards to that area.

Any insight or pictures would be greatly appreciated.

~Bassmaster P

 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
goblu79
senior member (62)senior membersenior member
  
08/16/2023 02:14PM  
I cannot comment on the entire area you are going into, only a small piece of it. McIntyre was relatively burn free, only a few areas around the portage from Sarah and midlake where the burn was bad. At the far north end of Mac, just before the portage into the no name lake between Mac and Brent, the burn was bad..The small lake between the two was also very badly burned. We didn't go on into Brent, I assume it didn't burn all of Brent, but the small parts we saw were badly burned, very few trees still alive. Fishing however, was very, very good.
08/16/2023 09:19PM  
The grainy photos from recent satellite imaging (Sentinel Hub) sure make McIntyre look green compared to Ted, Milt, Earl and all but a small bit of the west end of Hurn.

Brent is sprawling, however most of the east looks to have burned hard like Ted, et al, and much more severe than McIntyre. Western side of Brent looks better, but it's still hit-or-miss.

The SE part of McIntyre does look like it got crisped at a similar level to its neighbors.

Roland looks charred though its two islands look pretty green.

I've been in the Q five times since the fires but the closest I've gotten in person to this area is Sarah - all of my comments are based on satellite imagery, so your reality may vary.

I love my hammock but I'd have a tent for camping in that area...........
BassmasterP
distinguished member (109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/17/2023 09:28PM  
Thanks for the info. Would be hard to start tent camping after all these years, but I may have no choice.

PMR
08/18/2023 07:14AM  
BassmasterP: "Thanks for the info. Would be hard to start tent camping after all these years, but I may have no choice.


PMR"


I'm not familiar with the south end of the park but I believe you should be able to achieve your objectives by avoiding the burn areas. I'm not sure fishing pressure is a term I've ever heard applied to Quetico. And I'm with you about reverting to tent camping. For me it's a non-starter.
Have a great trip!
08/18/2023 07:46AM  
Park Rangers are requesting that people not camp in burn areas due to the danger of falling trees.
BassmasterP
distinguished member (109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/20/2023 10:30AM  
Banksiana: "Park Rangers are requesting that people not camp in burn areas due to the danger of falling trees."


I understand. But "burn areas" are not well defined or documented. From what I can tell all we have to go on is a map or two with some shaded red or maybe black areas. I'm just looking for first hand knowledge regarding the status of those shaded areas. If there are 2 green hammock trees on Ted roughly 12 feet apart, I'm headed that way! Thanks for the reply.

P
08/20/2023 11:36AM  
This map may be of use.

goblu79
senior member (62)senior membersenior member
  
08/21/2023 07:27AM  
Regarding information from the Rangers, the ones I encountered at Prairie Portage were pretty tight lipped about the conditions on McIntyre (and I assume everywhere else). They discouraged camping in burned sections, but when asked about the status of particular areas, they deferred to the map and instead asked us to tell them what it was like when we returned.

I found the map to be pretty danged accurate, and if it shows black, I think you will find very few trees made it through the fires. My big questions were the island sights. They outlined the areas in black, and the islands all appear to be burned. However, the McIntyre Island was not burned at all. It showed the area between Mac and Brent as black, and it was burned to the rock with only a scattered tree or two still standing. I'll try to post a picture.
08/21/2023 07:29AM  
BassmasterP: "
Banksiana: "Park Rangers are requesting that people not camp in burn areas due to the danger of falling trees."



I understand. But "burn areas" are not well defined or documented. From what I can tell all we have to go on is a map or two with some shaded red or maybe black areas. I'm just looking for first hand knowledge regarding the status of those shaded areas. If there are 2 green hammock trees on Ted roughly 12 feet apart, I'm headed that way! Thanks for the reply.


P"


I hope to check in on that area this week. The burn map is pretty specific and, having paddled (last season) some of the area last year, I would be leery of camping in any area shaded with significant damage. Red pines in particular lose "structural integrity" when fire burns around the base and can come down with little notice despite the appearance of health. In a couple of the portages I crossed in the burn the soil had been consumed by fire and a formerly easy trail was a crevice laden rock pile.
BassmasterP
distinguished member (109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
08/21/2023 07:48AM  
All great information folks - thanks so much for the replies.

Banksiana, please post your findings should you visit the area this week.

It is an interesting dilemma for our small group of hammock campers. On one hand, burned trees is no bueno - for obvious reasons. On the other hand, our ability to camp in odd places where tents cannot pitch is a benefit to the style. That is to say....we don't need a campsite with trees...we just need trees, and not a lot of them.

P
08/21/2023 08:24AM  
We were fishing in the inlet next to our Ima campsite and we heard what sounded like a huge Birch tree randomly fall pretty close to the campsite. I'm guessing it was a Birch since those were the biggest trees in that area and many didn't look too healthy. We could see some wind hitting the tops of the trees, but it didn't seem too windy. It was pretty scary to think how little it takes to bring down a big tree with little notice. I look at all the trees around the tent now to try to decrease the chance of being under one when it goes.
BassmasterP
distinguished member (109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/23/2024 10:57AM  
Anything to report from your trip in to the "Burn zone" back in late August?

Thanks.

Pat
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next