Quetico Provincial Park – Wilderness
Quetico Provincial Park features extensive network of lakes and rivers that provide a variety of canoe and kayak wilderness travel experiences. Over 2,200 interior sites throughout the park allow fora mix of short, easy trips or extended routes that require skillful paddling, navigation, outdoor living techniques and rigorous portaging. Quetico Provincial Park is a large Wilderness park in Northwestern Ontario Canada renowned for its excellent Canoe camping and fishing. This 4,760 km park shares its southern border with the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which is part of the larger Superior National Forest. These large wilderness parks are often collectively referred to as the Quetico-Superior Country
Quetico Provincial Park – History
The park includes over 2000 unofficial, unimproved wilderness campsites spread throughout more than 600 lakes. Canoeists require permit reservations and in-season may only enter the Quetico via six Ranger Stations which serve 21 specific entry points. It is possible to drive to three of these Ranger Stations: Dawson Trail, Lac La Croix and Atikokan. One must portage and paddle to Beaverhouse, and paddle or take a tow from an outfitter to Cache Bay or Prairie Portage. Drive-in camping is available only at the Dawson Trail campground; log cabins are also available to rent.
In 1909, an “Order in Council” by the Government of Ontario established the Quetico Forest Reserve. Early the same year, the federal government established the adjacent Superior National Forest and the Superior Game Refuge, which eventually would become the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Quetico Provincial Park was only created in 1913 through passage of the Provincial Parks Act although road access wasn’t built until 1954. The creation of the park initiated a conflict with the Lac La Croix First Nation. Lac La Croix First Nation who had a reserve located within the park. In 1915, the province cancelled the band’s right to the reserve and relocated the people on the reserve. The grievances of the band were not addressed until 1991 when the Minister of Natural Resources, Bud Wildman made an apology in the legislature for the move. Wildman also addressed one of the band’s request to allow mechanized boats in the park for the purposes of guiding.
The origin of the park’s name is a mystery. Locals say the park is named after the “Quebec Timber Company” however, no such company ever existed. The name may also be a version of the French words “quête de la côte”, which means “search for the coast”. It may also be from an “Ojibwe” name for a benevolent spirit who resides in places of great beauty.
The park has been completely protected from logging since 1971. Motor vehicles, including boats, were banned in the Quetico in 1979, with the exception of the Lac La Croix Guides Association, part of the Lac La Croix First Nation which is allowed to operate power boats with engines no more than 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) on Quetico, Beaverhouse, Wolseley, Tanner, Minn, and McAree Lakes.
Quetico Provincial Park – Gelogical Uniqueness
Quetico Provincial Park is near the southern edge of the an exposed 1000-mile expanse of ancient Precambrian rock, some of which is among the oldest exposed rock in the world. The park consists of a large number of “young” lakes (only tens of thousands of years old) contained by this ancient bedrock. Due to its proximity to the “Laurentian Divide” , the park can be considered to be in the Hudson Bay watershed. The southern part of the park is drained by the Basswood River the central and eastern parts of the park by the Maligne River (Ontario), and the northern part of the park by the Quetico River west of the park, which then flows into the Rainy River (Minnesota–Ontario) and on to the Winnipeg River, Nelson River and finally into Hudson’s Bay. This helps to make it, along with the adjacent Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness the most popular canoe area in the world.