Explore Dashwa Narrows, Volcano Bay and Camp Mine Narrow while paddling the remote White Otter Wilderness Area. You will view Native American pictographs and towering rock cliffs while you navigate WOW’s intricate web of lakes, rivers, streams and bogs. Beaver, moose, wolves, black bear, lynx, and even woodland caribou abound in this area northwest of Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Don’t forget your fishing rod and make sure to ask your trip leader to share the legend of Jimmy McQuat’s log castle and his mail-order bride. If you have enjoyed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, maybe it’s time to head further up the trail to the White Otter Wilderness with Wilderness Inquiry.
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About the AreaThe White Otter Wilderness (WOW) is an immense wilderness area in Ontario just north of Quetico Provincial Park. It features the same wilderness and ecosystem qualities as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. It is noted for its beautiful sand beaches and the historical White Otter Castle (a 3 story Scottish style log castle built by hand by one man – Jimmy McQuat – at the turn of the century).
The WOW is covered with lakes formed by glaciation. This country is part of the Canadian Shield, a geological formation that comprises portions of the earth’s most ancient exposed rock, some of which is 3 billion years old!
Two forests, the Boreal and Laurentian forests, converge to create a unique and diversified plant and animal life. Animals that would not normally be seen together, such as the white-tailed deer and the moose, have made the WOW their homes. Many birds, such as the bald eagle, loons and over 20 species of wood warblers, use the WOW as their nesting grounds.
Humans have left their mark on the area as well. Natives have inhabited the area for thousands of years, with some human relics dating back to 10,000 B.C. The Ojibwe and Dakotas have used the intricate waterways for hundreds of years. Many of the portages (paths between lakes) were first used by native peoples. Artifacts from that period still turn up on the portages. European fur traders and missionaries first came into the area in the early 1700s. A merger of sorts developed between the European Voyageurs and the Ojibwe based on trade of European goods for native knowledge and furs. This partnership ended in the mid 19th century due to the near total extinction of the beaver population and declining interest in furs as fashion.Read more »