Welcome To The Woodland Caribou Park Wilderness
The Woodland Caribou Park is filled with wilderness. For many, the thought of wilderness relates to what we’ve seen in movies or on the television. A procession of endless sparkling lakes, rich, vibrant forests, and wildlife seemingly everywhere. It’s those few moments while watching that give us pause and for many, we wish would be transplanted into those scenes, if only briefly. Well, places like that actually do exist and are actually easier to access than many of us realize. I found just such a place located in the heart of Northwest Ontario’s Boreal Forest. Welcome to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.
At a whopping 1.2 million acres in size, Woodland Caribou is the 4th largest protected area within the Ontario Parks system. Comprised of endless stands of Jack Pine and Black Spruce and a myriad of lakes, the park is home to two major watersheds; the Bloodvein and Gammon River systems. The land is also steeped in First Nations history, being home to the Ojibway people for centuries. Glimpses into their past can be seen at over 19 Pictograph locations throughout the park.
It’s the raw power of this land though, and how unspoiled it is that makes this park stand out from all the others. Currently, an average of 500 paddlers annually access the park to paddle it’s pristine waters, view it’s Caribou and sleep under the stars at one of over 2000 campsites.
In this era of ever-increasing technology and connectedness, Woodland Caribou offers a retreat from the everyday life. A rare opportunity to travel as our ancestors and the voyageurs did only a few centuries ago. Once in the park, the hustle and bustle of modern life give way to a slower, more connected experience. With so few visitors, it’s truly a case of “your trip, your way”. Don’t feel like getting up at the crack of dawn? No problem. Don’t feel like moving off your campsite? No problem. With no designated itineraries or campsites, you’re free to travel as much or as little as you’d like.
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While the solitude is the main reason paddlers hold Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in such high regard, the world-class fishing opportunities would run a close second. Walleye, Northern Pike, and Lake Trout are found in abundance in these cold, glacial waters. With so little fishing pressure, “100 fish a day” becomes a reality for those anglers putting the time in.
When it comes to wildlife viewing, there are many great destinations throughout Canada. Few though can compare to the variety of species available within Woodland Caribou. Not only will you witness Moose, Black Bears, Wolves, Beavers and Bald Eagles, you’ll also have a great opportunity to see Woodland Caribou in their natural habitat. Although officially listed on the Threatened Species list, the largest remaining population of these animals in the Province can be found within the parks borders….a true testament to the wild landscape you’re traveling in.
Add to all these average portage lengths of just 100 meters and this park is a slam dunk for your bucket list of wilderness destinations. An exclusive opportunity to travel as you’d like, view wildlife, catch and eat the freshest of fish and immerse yourself in one of the last remaining wild forests in Canada.
Planning your trip:
As the park is so vast, it’s recommended that you work with an outfitter to begin your dream trip to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Red Lake Outfitters Inc. (www.redlakeoutfitters.com), is the regions most experienced and only full-time operator. A quick call or email will get the process rolling. They offer both fly in (floatplane), and ground shuttle approaches to the parks 5 access points as well as a host of outfitting services, equipment rental, routing, maps, and guides.
All trips to the park began in the northern town of Red Lake, Ontario. The town can be accessed by driving 176 KM north of the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 17) or by flying into Red Lake from either Thunder Bay, Ontario or Winnipeg Manitoba. Bearskin Airlines (wwww.bearskinairlines.com), offers several flights daily from both locations.