If you are looking for the very best in wilderness canoeing, Wabakimi Provincial Park is hard to beat. Paddle and portage through the stark beauty of the Wabakimi wilderness area, halfway between Thunder Bay, Ontario and and Hudson Bay. The five million acre Wabakimi wilderness area includes over 1800 miles of lakes and rivers. You will marvel at the notion that a wilderness this vast still exists in North America. Choose from dozens of canoe routes that offer spectacular views, exciting fishing, and thundering water falls. Dine on your fishing and berry picking haul, as well as the abundance of good food that we bring. Wabakimi is a true wilderness area, remote, pristine and as wild as any place on earth.
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About the AreaWabakimi Provincial Park is a world-class canoeing and recreational area in the heart of Northwestern Ontario. Home of the elusive woodland caribou, and renowned for its high quality fly-in fishing and hunting, it is one of the world’s largest Boreal Forest reserves and wilderness canoeing areas.
The Canadian Shield
The park lies within the Superior Structural Province of the Precambrian Shield, an extensive rock type that underlies half of Canada and is comprised of some of the oldest rocks on earth. A wide range of intrusive and metamorphic rocks form a gently rolling terrain of rock ridges and shallow lake basins.
The Boreal Forest
Wabakimi Provincial Park is situated entirely within the Boreal Forest, a broad belt of coniferous forest that stretches between the mostly treeless arctic/subarctic region to the north, and the mixed hardwood-coniferous transition forest of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region to the south. The waters of glacial Lake Agassiz have denuded many upland areas, producing expanses of dry lichen rockscapes which support valuable caribou habitat. Typical boreal tree species such as black spruce and jackpine, with occasional trembling aspen and white birch, dominate upland areas, while black spruce and larch vegetate the wet, organic deposits commonly found in bedrock depressions.
Wildlife of Wabakimi
The wildlife species of the park are typical of the Boreal Forest region. These species include large game animals such as moose, woodland caribou, and bear; as well as smaller mammals such as snowshoe hare, least chipmunk, red squirrel, lynx, fox, marten, weasel, timber wolf, beaver, muskrat, otter and mink. Typical bird species include raven, grey jay, osprey, bald eagle, boreal owl, spruce grouse, common loon, black duck, common goldeneye, hooded merganser, herring gull, ovenbird and thrushes.
The Woodland Caribou of Wabakimi Provincial Park
At one time, woodland caribou enjoyed a broad geographic distribution throughout Northwestern Ontario and the northern United States. Throughout most of the 20th century, caribou populations declined or were eliminated in the southern portions of their historic range in Ontario. Today they are found only in scattered herds throughout the Boreal forest and are considered a vulnerable species.
An estimated 300 woodland caribou trek the lichen-rich, granite hills of Wabakimi Provincial Park. Unlike their social, northern cousins, the barren ground caribou, these elusive woodland species seldom form large groups or herds. Their survival strategy seems to be based on a pattern of dispersion, with individuals living and travelling alone or in small groups. Scattered about the hinterlands in such few numbers, may give each individual caribou a better chance of eluding predators, especially timber wolves, or possibly lynx and black bear.
The park waterways have been travelled for centuries by the Ojibway and most portages in the region have evolved from this historic use. Ancient campsites, artifacts and pictograph (rock painting) sites found throughout the park tell some of the Wabakimi story.
Evidence suggests that people have called Wabakimi ‘home’ for about 7000 years, ranging throughout the area in small family groups, stopping where fish and game were plentiful, or the berries ripe. To survive, these people needed an in-depth understanding and appreciation for their environment.
Wabakimi is a Wilderness park with a capital “W.” It is vast. Trails and campsites are not maintained. As a result, portages may have many blowdowns, and your favorite tent site may have a tree lying across it. So few people travel here that portage trails typically are not well worn paths, except in the most used areas around the perimeter of the Park. One man, Phil Cotton, is described as Wabakimi’s “renegade caretaker” because he cruises the back country and clears portage trails and campsites–against Park wishes. We’ve seen Cotton paddle by and we agree with writer Conner Mihell’s description of him as a cross “between the Marlboro Man and a backwoods Santa Claus.” Who knows, we may see Phil Cotton again on your trip!
Source: www.wabakimi.on.ca/wabakimiRead more »