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paddlefamily
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11/19/2012 08:44AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Curious- I know the portages in Wabakimi are maintenanced by volunteer groups and a few government employees. What about Woodland Caribou? Who cares for those?
 
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yellowcanoe
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11/19/2012 09:07AM  
Wabakimi portage crews are not government employees. The job is sub contracted by the MNR to the Whitesand First Nation.

Woodland Caribou however is more of a paddlers park. Based partially on paddler feedback, the MNR uses its own portage crews.

You can contact Claire at the MNR office in Red Lake.

The two parks are different.. perhaps because Wabakimi PP's main office is not anywhere near the park and WC's is.

 
paddlefamily
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11/25/2012 12:14PM  
thanks for the clarification. now i recall hearing about the wabakimi portage crews.
 
PortageKeeper
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11/25/2012 07:40PM  
Not familiar with Wabakimi portage maintenance, but I've contacted Claire recently about possibly going up to Woodland Caribou with a small crew to do portage trail maintenance. Even though I've been leading portage crews into the bwca for some ten years, and even though I'm signed off with the USFS to use crosscuts and chainsaws, they would still have to run us through their own program AND we would have to spend time on their crews before being sent in on our own. It was the reply that I'd imagined getting, but I figured that 'there's no harm in asking'.
 
yellowcanoe
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11/25/2012 08:11PM  
Wabakimi is primarily a fisherpersons park. As such some portage maintenance is also done by outfitters in the vicinity of their lease holdings, to allow their guests easier access to neighboring lakes.

On the record, the fisherpeople are referred to as the six week wonders. Here in May and gone by July 1. The few I meet in July 1 and August sometimes bring a bounty...hot dogs and steaks and beer they don't want to fly out. And a good warm fire and company on occasion.
 
dentondoc
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11/25/2012 08:44PM  
quote yellowcanoe: "Woodland Caribou however is more of a paddlers park. Based partially on paddler feedback, the MNR uses its own portage crews.
...
The two parks are different.. perhaps because Wabakimi PP's main office is not anywhere near the park and WC's is."

But unlike Quetico (for example), WCPP's portages don't see a portage crew every season. I entered via Garner Lake (MB) on a trip last year where the portages hadn't seen a portage crew in 6 years. Portages weren't always easy to find, but even with the amount of time between crew visits, the trail was manageable without abundant extra effort. I think it likely that individuals that pass thru make some effort to do at least minimal trail clearing. (BTW: We did run into the a portage crew as we made our exit after a couple of weeks in the bush.) As one would expect, more of their energy gets expended on east-side EP's and routes ... they get way more traffic.

dd
 
12/04/2012 05:52PM  
Yes. Park maintenance is always tricky. The management in both parks have limited resources and they must make decisions about deployment early in the year. My experience in Wabikimi(Caribou/Smoothrock area) in 2011 was very good. The portages were in much better shape than I was led to expect.

I am looking forward to trying something different next summer...
 
yellowcanoe
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12/04/2012 10:32PM  
quote jcavenagh: "Yes. Park maintenance is always tricky. The management in both parks have limited resources and they must make decisions about deployment early in the year. My experience in Wabikimi(Caribou/Smoothrock area) in 2011 was very good. The portages were in much better shape than I was led to expect.


I am looking forward to trying something different next summer..."


Try something in the Rockcliffe/Coles/Webster Lake area. When I was there(with the Wabakimi team) no portage maintenance had been done and we spent time sniffing out ancient blazes. The NW part of the park is so different from the East.Most people use the AllanWater route in the south central part of the park. but if you veer off east and get to Granite Lake, that route is little traveled.

There are fewer fishing lodges. Much less traffic. Hence not much incentive to maintain unless the Wabakimi Project has been back in the last couple of years. The last I heard that area is an upcoming project.
 
12/05/2012 12:30PM  
quote yellowcanoe: "
quote jcavenagh: "Yes. Park maintenance is always tricky. The management in both parks have limited resources and they must make decisions about deployment early in the year. My experience in Wabikimi(Caribou/Smoothrock area) in 2011 was very good. The portages were in much better shape than I was led to expect.



I am looking forward to trying something different next summer..."



Try something in the Rockcliffe/Coles/Webster Lake area. When I was there(with the Wabakimi team) no portage maintenance had been done and we spent time sniffing out ancient blazes. The NW part of the park is so different from the East.Most people use the AllanWater route in the south central part of the park. but if you veer off east and get to Granite Lake, that route is little traveled.


There are fewer fishing lodges. Much less traffic. Hence not much incentive to maintain unless the Wabakimi Project has been back in the last couple of years. The last I heard that area is an upcoming project."


Hmmmm....As a US citizen I must be careful about camping on Crown Lands. I know it is unlikely I would get caught, but I am a guest after all. But that area and the northeast area of the park has intrigued me for a couple years. One other thing, I have had so much difficulty getting groups together over the past few years that I am contemplating a solo. My first solo....
I know there was a big fire up around Whitewater Lake in 2011, but is there a route from Kilbarry to Hood then to Grayson?? or something like that??? Did that area burn over recently? I gotta do some research...
 
wabakimimaps
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12/05/2012 08:52PM  
quote jcavenagh: " I have had so much difficulty getting groups together over the past few years. . . but is there a route from Kilbarry to Hood then to Grayson?? or something like that??? Did that area burn over recently? I gotta do some research..."

To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct route from Kilbarry Lake to Grayson Lake via Hood Lake. The traditional historic route from Patte Lake on the Albany River goes up Shabuskwia River to Shabuskwia Lake and then into Musgrave Lake. From there, the route follows the Attwood River through Killbary Lake, Luella Lake and Attwood Lake to Hurst Lake where one can turn south up the Witchwood River to Whiteclay Lake or continue down the Attwood River through Austen, Guerin and Peninsular Lakes to Gowie Bay on the Albany River.

The Wabakimi Project will explore and document this route next summer. We're looking for able-bodied paddlers to help us with this ambitious effort. Check out the recent post in this Forum--"Wabakimi 2013 - An Invitation to Participate". Here's a chance to let others worry about trip organization and doing all the requisite pre-trip planning and research.

The Wabakimi Project
 
12/05/2012 09:52PM  
quote wabakimimaps: ... goes up Shabuskwia River to Shabuskwia Lake and then into Musgrave Lake. From there, the route follows the Attwood River through Killbary Lake, Luella Lake and Attwood Lake to Hurst Lake where one can turn south up the Witchwood River to Whiteclay Lake or continue down the Attwood River through Austen, Guerin and Peninsular Lakes to Gowie Bay on the Albany River.

The Wabakimi Project "


I've been through all of these on a couple of long trips in years past. Excellent waterways with some TOUGH portages and bushwhacks. The Attwood and Witchwood Rivers should be added to the park, as they are important, traditional connecting waterways leading to the Albany River. Lots of fun to travel.
 
ZaraSp00k
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12/06/2012 08:20AM  
Is it illegal or considered bad practice to use a chain saw on Crown land portages? The reason I ask is I always carry a bow saw out of habit despite that I rarely use it, but I have a small chain saw that would make quick work of "inconvenient" deadfall. No, I am not talking about cutting a new portage, just the trees blocking an existing portage.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/06/2012 10:25AM  
quote ZaraSp00k: "Is it illegal or considered bad practice to use a chain saw on Crown land portages? "

As far as I know, there are no laws against having a chain saw in possession nor is clearing deadfall across an existing Crown land portage considered a no-no. The touchy issue is the cutting of 'live' trees.

In the boreal forest, many of the trees one encounters laying across a portage trail are the result of windfall or blowdown. The problem is that they may still be 'live' and might exist in that state for a number of years until the exposed rootball dries out.

What to do? It's a tough call! All I can tell you is that I've accompanied provincial park portage crews in the course of their duties and witnessed their unhesitating removal of 'live' trees that lay across a trail and impeded trail use. The final argument is not convenience but public safety.

As long as the clearing of the trail is simply to remove "trees blocking an existing portage" and not to "improve" (i.e., widen) the trail, you should be good to go.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/20/2012 09:51AM  
quote arctic: "The Attwood and Witchwood Rivers should be added to the park, as they are important, traditional connecting waterways leading to the Albany River. Lots of fun to travel."

Both these waterways are protected as the Attwood Conservation Reserve with a 200m no-cut shoreline reserve. Unfortunately, CRs do not enjoy the same degree of protection provided for provincial parks. For example, roads are permitted to cross a CR as is the case on the Witchwood River just north (downstream) from Witchwood River.

The Witchwood and Attwood Rivers form a strategic link between Whiteclay Lake on the Ogoki River and Gowie Bay on the Albany River. This canoe route is one of two traditional and historically-significant north-south travel corridors that The Wabakimi Project is working to rehabilitate and document. The other route is from Abizotikichuan Lake on the Albany River up the Opichuan River through Kagianagami Lake to the Ogoki River. These routes will hopefully be completed in 2013 and will be included in Volume Four of our Wabakimi Canoe Routes booklets to be released next Fall.
 
12/20/2012 11:41AM  
It's too bad that the Witchwood and Attwood Rivers weren't added to Wabikimi when the park was expanded. They should also have added the Cliff lake area where numerous outsanding pictographs exist. I first paddled through both those areas in May 1986 while on the way to James Bay, and it was a wonderful, rugged area with very little use by paddlers. The Attwood was used much more, and the portages were in good shape all the way to the Albany River.

When I went back a decade later the Witchwood had a winter road crossing it and logging roads and clearcuts occured within a few km of Cliff Lake.
 
yellowcanoe
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12/20/2012 12:51PM  
quote arctic: "It's too bad that the Witchwood and Attwood Rivers weren't added to Wabikimi when the park was expanded. They should also have added the Cliff lake area where numerous outsanding pictographs exist. I first paddled through both those areas in May 1986 while on the way to James Bay, and it was a wonderful, rugged area with very little use by paddlers. The Attwood was used much more, and the portages were in good shape all the way to the Albany River.


When I went back a decade later the Witchwood had a winter road crossing it and logging roads and clearcuts occured within a few km of Cliff Lake."


Thats a hot button..adding Cliff Lake. I think it may never happen. The lake is heavily used for local FN meetings. A couple of years ago maybe three..the Attwood portages were a mess. Lots can change in a year or three decades.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/20/2012 01:27PM  
quote yellowcanoe: "A couple of years ago maybe three..the Attwood portages were a mess. Lots can change in a year or three decades."

In 2009, one of our contributors did a trail-clearing trip down the Witchwood River. He managed to get as far as Guerin Lake on the Attwood River system. In 2011, he returned for another 35-day trip to pick up where he left off and complete his planned circuit down the remainder of the Attwood River, down the Albany River as far as Abizotikichuan Lake and back to the Ogoki River via the Opichuan River. Last summer, he started from Peninsular Lake, worked his way upstream on the Attwood River and the Witchwood River. In total, he dedicated over 100 days in this volunteer effort at his own expense.

The Wabakimi Project reconnaissance expeditions followed these same routes last summer clearing portages and cleaning campsites. We me our contributor on Guerin Lake and spent a day working together on a portage out of Austen Lake.

Over the past four years, +170 days has been dedicated to the maintenance and mapping of these routes. Now, all we need are paddlers to use them. Come on up! The area is remote and uncrowded and the fishing is to die for.
 
12/20/2012 01:33PM  
quote arctic: "It's too bad that the Witchwood and Attwood Rivers weren't added to Wabikimi when the park was expanded. They should also have added the Cliff lake area where numerous outsanding pictographs exist. I first paddled through both those areas in May 1986 while on the way to James Bay, and it was a wonderful, rugged area with very little use by paddlers. The Attwood was used much more, and the portages were in good shape all the way to the Albany River.


When I went back a decade later the Witchwood had a winter road crossing it and logging roads and clearcuts occured within a few km of Cliff Lake."


we went up? down the atwood from lake petawanga on the albany river to whiteclay lake, from there we cut south on picket and cliff lakes where we then took the pikitigushi river down to lake nipigon. this was a trip in 1976. really, really tough going. some of these "rivers' were choked in log jams that required real tough bushwack portaging. i remember cliff lake, it was a beauty, we were not aware that the lake had pictographs. we really had very little information about this route. cliff lake had a trapper cabin on the south end. one of those cabins that were about four feet high, all around this spot someone had carved wood into really strange art objects. it was a creepy spot, we did not hang around.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/20/2012 01:58PM  
quote jwartman59: "this was a trip in 1976. really, really tough going. some of these "rivers' were choked in log jams that required real tough bushwack portaging."

I have to agree with this assessment. Last summer, volunteers of The Wabakimi Project were defeated in their attempt to descend Petawa Creek from Auger Lake to Petawanga Lake on the Albany River. They managed to clear the first portage from the beaver dam that controls the level of Auger Lake but could not locate the next portage about 2km downstream. Water levels were at an all-time low and there was only a trickle of water in the creek. There's a wealth of historic evidence that, in the past, this route was a popular short-cut between the Albany River and the Attwood River. Someday soon, we plan to re-open it, hopefully when water levels are higher. Any information readers can provide about this route--no matter how dated--would be appreciated.
 
12/20/2012 02:35PM  
1976, we were camped on petawanga lake, we arrived here via savant lake north to the albany river. out plan was to cut south, no one in the minnesota canoeing community had any information about this route. during this 22 day trip we saw only two other groups, one was a group from california, they were paddling to the bay via the albany river. they were really out of their comfort zone. the other group was a native family, they pulled into out campsite on petawanga lake in a wood / canvas freighter canoe. i think they were out of fort hope. if they spoke english it was not obvious. it was rather tense actually, they clearly were surprised to find us camping on what was probably their site. we got the maps out, one of the younger natives did speak english, very hesitantly. we showed him what we planned to do. he grinned wildly and mentioned that they used this route often. i think he was grinning because the route was awful, but doable. i can't find my notes from this trip but this stretch was easily the worse canoeing we have ever done. there were portages however, and most in good condition (considering), the bushwacks were either do to us missing the portage, or due to new obstructions. the river current had caused many sweepers. i'm glad i saw this when i did. amazing country. i'll see if i can find my notes, i'm getting together with a friend who did this trip with me. his memories may be different than mine.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/20/2012 08:23PM  
quote jwartman59: "i'll see if i can find my notes, i'm getting together with a friend who did this trip with me. his memories may be different than mine."

I failed to mention that, in 2010, we completed our reconnaissance of the Albany River from Osnaburgh Lake (just of Highway 599) to Triangular Lake (near Fort Hope). While we were camped on Petawanga Lake, we cleared the 394m portage around the rapids at the foot of Petawa Creek. I'm pleased to learn that there were portages, even as far back as 1976. If they're there, we'll find 'em! Any further information you and/or your friend can provide would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance for your generous offer on our behalf.
 
12/20/2012 08:39PM  
jw59 has recounted this story somehwere on the web previuosly. I remember reading it in some trip report. Not sure what site, CCR, BWCA, Quiet J?? There is more info in his notes because there was more info in that trip report...
I am a mere beginner in a canoe compared to these guys...
 
12/20/2012 10:12PM  
my memory is getting crappy, i dug up some maps, one of them is awol. we definitely did petawa creek. my notes, such as they were, just mentioned that this was a horrible day. that was it, one sentence.

i scanned 1:250000 quads. zoom in and you can see where this section of the trip was. the red question marks are where i was unsure of the exact route, i am not sure how we got from petawa creek to atwood lake. i got lazy following the witchwood river. these are the maps we used for canadian trips, i can't even read them now.

the ymca camps widjiwagan and menogyn, in ely and grand marias, have used this area for years. i am sure they have good records of the trips that went through that area, i am certain that they would be happy to help.

also i think that the cabin was on witchwood lake. it was starting to deteriorate in 1976, i'll bet there is no trace of it today.

blow up to see map
 
12/21/2012 07:10PM  
The last time I was in Wabikimi we intended to ascend Petawa Creek from the Albany if our planned route into the Greenmantle River from the Misehkow was not doable. Fortunately, we were able to portage into the Greenmantle, but the amount of log jams and gnarly portages would probably discourage the vast majority of paddlers.
 
12/21/2012 07:13PM  
quote yellowcanoe:

Thats a hot button..adding Cliff Lake. I think it may never happen. The lake is heavily used for local FN meetings. A couple of years ago maybe three..the Attwood portages were a mess. Lots can change in a year or three decades."


I'm glad I saw that country when I did. It was rugged. There was almost NO sign of modern recreational use. We stayed on Cliff Lake for two days, documenting the pictographs there, and my friend later wrote an article in Kanawa Magazine about them. Apart from insects, we saw and heard almost no bird or other animal life when we were there.

I would bet money that if locals are using the area today (I don't care what ethnic group they belong to) there is garbage and other impacts being left behind.

By the way, the Bad Medicine Portage just downstream from Cliff Lake is one helluva tough portage for its short (400m) length.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/22/2012 10:47AM  
quote yellowcanoe: "
quote arctic: "It's too bad that the Witchwood and Attwood Rivers weren't added to Wabikimi when the park was expanded. They should also have added the Cliff lake area where numerous outsanding pictographs exist.."


Thats a hot button..adding Cliff Lake. I think it may never happen."

The current boundary of Wabakimi Provincial Park crosses the Pikitigushi River just south of Cliff Lake which means this cultural heritage value was indeed included in the 1997 expansion of the park. Unfortunately, the remainder of this traditional and historically-significant canoe route to Lake Nipigon was not included.

The Whitesand First Nation community in Armstrong has expressed concern for the long-term welfare of the pictographs on Cliff Lake due to increased visitation by paddlers. Over the past few years, Ontario Parks has hosted pow-wow's there to seek an acceptable solution. At government expense, they've flown in boats, motors and band elders, many of whom had never previously visited the area. One of the outcomes of these meetings was the suggestion that visitors would have to be 'escorted' through Cliff Lake by a FN guide/interpreter.

Edit: I should have mentioned that the creation of Whitesand Provincial Park in 1999 did, in fact, add protection to more of the Pikitigushi River route south of Cliff Lake as far as, but not including Pikitigushi Lake itself.

Whitesand PP Fact Sheet & Map
 
mrcanoe
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12/22/2012 11:03AM  
For an excellent example of what The Wabakimi Project is accomplishing in the Wabakimi Park area, see HOOP's report on MYCCR.

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=151&t=40786

Thanks HOOP.
 
12/22/2012 07:56PM  
quote wabakimimaps: "
quote yellowcanoe: "
quote arctic: "It's too bad that the Witchwood and Attwood Rivers weren't added to Wabikimi when the park was expanded. They should also have added the Cliff lake area where numerous outsanding pictographs exist.."


Thats a hot button..adding Cliff Lake. I think it may never happen."

The current boundary of Wabakimi Provincial Park crosses the Pikitigushi River just south of Cliff Lake which means this cultural heritage value was indeed included in the 1997 expansion of the park. Unfortunately, the remainder of this traditional and historically-significant canoe route to Lake Nipigon was not included.

The Whitesand First Nation community in Armstrong has expressed concern for the long-term welfare of the pictographs on Cliff Lake due to increased visitation by paddlers. Over the past few years, Ontario Parks has hosted pow-wow's there to seek an acceptable solution. At government expense, they've flown in boats, motors and band elders, many of whom had never previously visited the area. One of the outcomes of these meetings was the suggestion that visitors would have to be 'escorted' through Cliff Lake by a FN guide/interpreter.

Edit: I should have mentioned that the creation of Whitesand Provincial Park in 1999 did, in fact, add protection to more of the Pikitigushi River route south of Cliff Lake as far as, but not including Pikitigushi Lake itself.

Whitesand PP Fact Sheet & Map "


Thanks for the info. I'm glad Cliff Lake is included within the park boundaries. Not sure whether I should laugh or comment about the idea that FN "guides" should escort paddlers through Cliff Lake. From what I've seen in my 33 years of paddling in the Near and Far North, canoe travel/tripping is no longer a part of the culture that invented it. Too bad.
 
wabakimimaps
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12/23/2012 04:29PM  
quote arctic: "I would bet money that if locals are using the area today (I don't care what ethnic group they belong to) there is garbage and other impacts being left behind."

It’s true that canoe travel has become a lost art amongst residents of the Near and Far North. Sadly, their adoption of modern mechanized modes of travel hasn’t kept pace with today’s environmental sensitivities. The most telling indicator is the presence of non-perishable trash at traditional campsites within the range of motorized travel from roads and remote communities. Many area residents (and some visitors too!) have yet to appreciate the long-term impacts of such practices on the landscape.

Volunteers of The Wabakimi Project continue to clean these sites and collect trash for removal on their extraction flights in the hope that their example will eventually convince others to adopt leave-no-trace habits. It’s kinda like the philosophy regarding graffiti in public places. If it’s removed as soon as it appears, conscientious users will come to appreciate the resulting cleanliness and help protect against further violations.
 
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