I’ve been planning a canoe trip into Quetico for about a year with my buddy East Texas Red. We planned to leave Toronto this coming Saturday morning. This afternoon, he got a call from the park office. The whole of the Quetico backcountry is closed to travel and camping due to increased fire risk, effective today. I’m sure there are some people in there now who will have to make their way out right away.
We’re looking at an alternative in the same area that seems to be free of fires, and that’s the Turtle River/White Otter Lake area. This is located north of Quetico, on the other side of the highway. It’s a non-operating park, which means there are no camping fees. A trip into this area will mean a trip with fewer portages. We’re looking into routes now. East Texas Red is getting some maps and we’re checking with the outfitter (who is renting us a canoe) for recommendations. As well, with a new route we may need to organize a shuttle, and since our plan was to be on the water by Monday, we’re going to have to scramble a little to get organized.
I’m disappointed we can’t get into Quetico at this time, but I’m confident we’ll find an equally interesting route in the area, maybe even a better one. The last thing I expected was a full park closure, but we’re looking forward to getting away so we’re prepared to be flexible. Fortunately we have lots of north country. Our biggest obstacle right now is time.