Canadian Canoe Routes

McLennan Lake - Bear's Camp
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Author:  guyfawkes041 [ December 12th, 2022, 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  McLennan Lake - Bear's Camp

Bear’s Camp – McLennan Lake

Hi folks, like several other CCR members, I was paddling in the McLennan Lake area of Saskatchewan in mid-Sept 2022 and on this trip up to that area I saw two heavily vandalised vehicles at different remote points on the gravel highway that leads north through that region, Saskatchewan Highway 102, which has prompted me to write this post.

That sort of vandalism in that area is not uncommon, and I would like to make folks aware that there is a safe place to leave vehicles while paddling in that part of the Churchill River watershed. It’s called Bears Camp, and it’s located at km 131 on the highway (as measured from LaRonge). A few people know that it’s there, but I sense that more don’t, and that most don’t know what is actually available for paddlers there.

I hope this doesn’t come across as a plug for Bear’s Camp; I have no financial connection to is at all, but I see it as a resource for paddlers in that area of the country, and I just want to perhaps foster awareness of it.

Bears Camp was built by a family who still have descendants in the area, and at one point it was owned by a native fellow named Bear. For the past 16 years, it has been co-owned and managed by Mr. Vince Patchin, who is a bit of a local legend in those parts, he being the only person to run a motorized boogey-board over McLennan Lake a while back. I’ve been paddling up there for some years now, generally launching from Bears Camp, and I think of Vince as a friend, and I expect he feels the same.

Bear’s Camp is a fenced, lockable compound of a few acres in size, on the shore of McLennan Lake. In addition to Vince’s home, it contains a well developed workshop for repairs to almost anything, a convenience store, gas and diesel pumps, a restaurant, small, austere cabins to rent, usually an assortment of used and refurbished snowmobiles, quads, side by sides, boats, and outboard motors for sale, and plenty of porcelain toilets and showers with unlimited hot water. As well, there is a dock, and a designated provincial emergency helicopter landing pad. A recent addition to the place is Internet and now the site is Wi-Fi’d.

Vince has a base station and monitors the Citizen’s Band radio traffic along the highway, as trucks are obliged to report their positions and directions of travel over the air at each ten km distance marker, and many local people use the CB system in their personal vehicles as well. Also, Vince monitors the Marine Band radio, which all the local people who live in cabins on the many islands in the many lakes up there use. And, he functions as a check-in/check-out “pilot note” service for local pilots of float planes in the area. A busy lad is Vince. He can provide advice on areas in that part of the Churchill System which have burned recently.

Bear’s Camp is a wonderful place to start and end a canoe trip. Located at a perfect entry point into the vast Churchill River system and more, it offers the peace of mind that your vehicle will be safe (Vince says he has not had a single incident of vandalism or theft within his compound in 16 years), you can paddle right up to a dock and carry your kit into a nearby cabin for the night, grab a meal, have a shower, have brekkie the next day, wash and clean your canoe, especially if Provincial watercraft inspection stations lie ahead on your way home, fuel up, and head off.

Vince Patchin at Bears Camp: 403-420-8199

Cheers folks.

Author:  Ralph [ December 12th, 2022, 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: McLennan Lake - Bear's Camp

We've parked with Vince at Bear's Camp for years and have not had any issues. Really a valuable service for paddlers.

Author:  guyfawkes041 [ December 25th, 2022, 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: McLennan Lake - Bear's Camp

Apologies folks, in my OP above, I provided an incorrect telephone number for Vince Patchin at Bear's Camp.

The correct number is; 1-403-668-8624

Merry Christmas everyone!

Author:  GRS Riverrider [ January 19th, 2023, 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: McLennan Lake - Bear's Camp

I was there last summer and parking there gave me peace of mind. He has dogs there, and the impression I got was that any vehicle that slows down next to the compound starts them barking. His restaurant wasn't open though. He told me that business has been slow, if due to current world events, time of year or wildfires etc. he didn't say, and that it didn't warrant stocking the kitchen. I was there in the last week of August. If you don't know, that camp is right on McLennan lake which is home to the start of several looping canoe routes, day long to week long, as well as long routes that take you out of the area. If you've never been there it's 50km past Missinipe, which would be about 130km past LaRonge.

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