View topic - Woodland Caribou PP Volunteer Trip

It is currently December 5th, 2021, 3:48 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2011, 6:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 11th, 2007, 4:39 pm
Posts: 677
Location: Red Lake
Early in the season, I had put my name in with the WCPP office, and asked if there was any opportunity to do some volunteer work in the park. Recently, an opportunity came up and I was fortunate to join a crew to do some work on a route in the north end of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. This part of the park is not well used at the moment, but as the park focus' on the area over the next few years, there will be some excellent routes on some amazing lakes!

Leading the trip was Claire Q., WCPP's Assistant Superintendent. Our destination was Bigshell lake and our job was to open up the 1600 Metre portage heading northwest out of the lake, as well as the 600 Metre portage beyond that links Bigshell to Burtnwood. Once completed, this route would provide access to the Dutch River where paddlers could then work their way into Thicketwood Lake and eventually Sabourin Lake (a connection to the Bloodvein River).

An early afternoon flight time on a picture perfect day was in order and soon we were taking off from Howey Bay, Red Lake.



Image

Flying over the park

Image

Imagaine being caught in this blowdwn event......I am amazed at the power of these microbursts.

Image

Landing on Bigshell Lake...our home for the next 3 nights.



Paddling away from the Cessna as we head for the trailhead.

Image

Our pilot wasted no time heading back to town

Image

Looking out over Bigshell Lake

Image

We spent the afternoon walking the length of the 1600 metre trail, flagging where neccessary and gearing up for the next day. There were spots of heavy blowdown along the trail, some wet sections and many areas where the trail had simply grown in. Once it was all laid out we made camp and called it a night.

Up early, we paddled over to the trail, and proceeded to walk the 1600 metres to the small pond. The plan was to walk around the pond (that was an adventure), and begin cutting the 600 metre trail first, eventually working our way back to the 1600 metre.

At the beginning of the 600 metre

Image

Looking out over the pond

Image

Left by a trapper perhaps?

Image

Claire, taking her time sharpening her chainsaw

Image

The 600 was cleared with relative ease. Here is what it now looks like as you leave Thicketwood heading back towards Bigshell

Image

Gotta love traveling through Spruce forests

Image

Back around the pond and time to hit the 1600 metre trail. we managed 200 metres of cutting before the day came to a close....a good day's work!

Back on Bigshell the wind pounded us all night. Dinner in the dark with a little rain thrown in for good measure. The wind continued hard all night....not a good sleep at all!

Up early the next morning, a quick breakfast and then back to the trailhead. On the way to "work", we came across this Moose shed. We had walked by it 4 times previously.

Image

Rodents are hard at work

Image

A typical day of clearing trail. Gotta love large Jackpines stacked 3 high across the trail!

Image

Image

Image

....and you gotta love it when trees get hung up!

Image

A quick video of Claire in action.....this is what work on a crew is like.



An old blaze. This trail is actually an old trappers trail that has been used by First Nations for centuries. I can only imagine what these trees have seen?

Image

It took us all day, but we managed to finish the trail. The 1600 metre is now clear for paddlers to use! Here is what trail look like as you approach from Bigshell

Image

The weather had finally broke, the wind had died down and clouds parted....here's the view from the portage looking over Bigshell

Image

Another Moose shed found along the beach adjacent to the portage

Image

Back at camp we enjoyed a perfect evening. Nothing like a nice fire on a cool fall night! Here's Claire finishing up here notes for the day

Image

Awake bright and early, we were witness to an amazing sunrise and mist off the water

Image

Going through the checklist before beginning the day.

Image

Looking out over Bigshell from the campsite

Image

..and what I was looking at

Image

Our job for the day was to paddle down the lake and locate and old trail into a lake the sits perched over Bigshell...word had it the water was the clearest in the park and trophy pike and lake trout inhabited it....time to find out!

Safety first!

Image

On the way to the lake i was able to hook into a decent pike. Not the laker I was hoping for but I'll take it.

Image

After an hour of paddling and some scouting on the shore, we located what we believed to be the trail....time to bushwhack!

Sure enough, after working through some thick bush I came upon this old campsite. I was the first to visit this spot in a long time! Note the Spruce coming up through the fire area. I will be back here soon....one of the nicest spots i've seen in the park with the campsite perched high above this little gem of a lake.

Image

On the way back we realized we may have been watched by this Bruin??

Image

After a quick lunch, it was time to head for our pickup spot. Another gorgeous spot.

Image

Soon enough, the Cessna came in for a landing

Image

Once in the air, Red Lake 124 (the big fire up here this year), could still be seen smoldering in the distance....still many hot spots remain even though the weather has been cooler with lots of rain.

Image

In the end we managed to accomplish what we set out to do. The park office deserves a lot of credit for tackling such large cutting projects with so few resources. These trails take time and a lot of effort to keep clear for paddlers and I'm proud to do my part so that others may enjoy all this park has to offer!

Hmmm, I wonder what trail is next?

_________________
http://www.redlakeoutfitters.com - WCPP's Premier Outfitter
http://www.wintertrekking.com - The Winter Trekker's Online Community
Check out my YouTube Channel - Search for username "Red Lake Outfitters"


Last edited by Harlan on October 11th, 2011, 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2011, 7:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: November 7th, 2003, 5:57 pm
Posts: 930
Location: Cambridge Ontario
Nice work! I really like the photo of the moose shed in the sand on the lake edge and the spooky looking bones hanging on the tree.

I came across this video and seeing you mentioned the Red Lake 124 fire I thought it may be a good place to post also. I remember a lodge owner near Pickle Lake telling me how his operation was protected from a nearby fire by the MNR and a sprinkler system.


_________________
"Nature used to surround us, now we surround nature and the change hasn't necessarily been for the better."
Margaret Atwood


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2011, 8:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am
Posts: 320
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Nice report and pictures! It must have been really neat experience to help maintain the trails.

Take care,
Cousin Pete

_________________

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908



Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2011, 9:39 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 11th, 2007, 4:39 pm
Posts: 677
Location: Red Lake
Splashdancer, thanks for the video. Fire 124 played havoc on my season but was a great learning experience. That video shows just how dangerous those fires can be.

As it so happens, i'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for another volunteer trip in the park, this time to Larus! I'll be able to see first hand the aftermath of that fire. I'll be sure to get some video and lots of photo's.

Pete, thanks for the comments.

_________________
http://www.redlakeoutfitters.com - WCPP's Premier Outfitter
http://www.wintertrekking.com - The Winter Trekker's Online Community
Check out my YouTube Channel - Search for username "Red Lake Outfitters"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2011, 10:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1879
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Thanks Harlan! Nice to see the "behind-the-scenes" work that goes into maintaining canoe routes. We in northwestern Ontario are THE blowdown capital of the planet! "Have chainsaw...will travel!" (you can use that for T-shirts and bumper/canoe stickers; I won't claim a patent on that slogan! ....although RHaslam probably already owns the rights to that! :D ).

That fire video footage is killer! :thumbup:

_________________
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group